Wherein is related the droll way in which Don Quixote had himself dubbed a knight

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Harassed by this reflection, he made haste with his scanty pothouse supper, and having finished it called the landlord, and shutting himself into the stable with him, fell on his knees before him, saying, "From this spot I rise not, valiant knight, until your courtesy grants me the boon I seek, one that will redound to your praise and the benefit of the human race." The landlord, seeing his guest at his feet and hearing a speech of this kind, stood staring at him in bewilderment, not knowing what to do or say, and entreating him to rise, but all to no purpose until he had agreed to grant the boon demanded of him. "I looked for no less, my lord, from your High Magnificence," replied Don Quixote, "and I have to tell you that the boon I have asked and your liberality has granted is that you shall dub me knight to-morrow morning, and that to-night I shall watch my arms in the chapel of this your castle; thus tomorrow, as I have said, will be accomplished what I so much desire, enabling me lawfully to roam through all the four quarters of the world seeking adventures on behalf of those in distress, as is the duty of chivalry and of knights-errant like myself, whose ambition is directed to such deeds."

The landlord, who, as has been mentioned, was something of a wag, and had already some suspicion of his guest's want of wits, was quite convinced of it on hearing talk of this kind from him, and to make sport for the night he determined to fall in with his humour. So he told him he was quite right in pursuing the object he had in view, and that such a motive was natural and becoming in cavaliers as distinguished as he seemed and his gallant bearing showed him to be; and that he himself in his younger days had followed the same honourable calling, roaming in quest of adventures in various parts of the world, among others the Curing-grounds of Malaga, the Isles of Riaran, the Precinct of Seville, the Little Market of Segovia, the Olivera of Valencia, the Rondilla of Granada, the Strand of San Lucar, the Colt of Cordova, the Taverns of Toledo, and divers other quarters, where he had proved the nimbleness of his feet and the lightness of his fingers, doing many wrongs, cheating many widows, ruining maids and swindling minors, and, in short, bringing himself under the notice of almost every tribunal and court of justice in Spain; until at last he had retired to this castle of his, where he was living upon his property and upon that of others; and where he received all knights-errant of whatever rank or condition they might be, all for the great love he bore them and that they might share their substance with him in return for his benevolence. He told him, moreover, that in this castle of his there was no chapel in which he could watch his armour, as it had been pulled down in order to be rebuilt, but that in a case of necessity it might, he knew, be watched anywhere, and he might watch it that night in a courtyard of the castle, and in the morning, God willing, the requisite ceremonies might be performed so as to have him dubbed a knight, and so thoroughly dubbed that nobody could be more so. He asked if he had any money with him, to which Don Quixote replied that he had not a farthing, as in the histories of knights-errant he had never read of any of them carrying any. On this point the landlord told him he was mistaken; for, though not recorded in the histories, because in the author's opinion there was no need to mention anything so obvious and necessary as money and clean shirts, it was not to be supposed therefore that they did not carry them, and he might regard it as certain and established that all knights-errant (about whom there were so many full and unimpeachable books) carried well-furnished purses in case of emergency, and likewise carried shirts and a little box of ointment to cure the wounds they received. For in those plains and deserts where they engaged in combat and came out wounded, it was not always that there was some one to cure them, unless indeed they had for a friend some sage magician to succour them at once by fetching through the air upon a cloud some damsel or dwarf with a vial of water of such virtue that by tasting one drop of it they were cured of their hurts and wounds in an instant and left as sound as if they had not received any damage whatever. But in case this should not occur, the knights of old took care to see that their squires were provided with money and other requisites, such as lint and ointments for healing purposes; and when it happened that knights had no squires (which was rarely and seldom the case) they themselves carried everything in cunning saddle-bags that were hardly seen on the horse's croup, as if it were something else of more importance, because, unless for some such reason, carrying saddle-bags was not very favourably regarded among knights-errant. He therefore advised him (and, as his godson so soon to be, he might even command him) never from that time forth to travel without money and the usual requirements, and he would find the advantage of them when he least expected it.

Don Quixote promised to follow his advice scrupulously, and it was arranged forthwith that he should watch his armour in a large yard at one side of the inn; so, collecting it all together, Don Quixote placed it on a trough that stood by the side of a well, and bracing his buckler on his arm he grasped his lance and began with a stately air to march up and down in front of the trough, and as he began his march night began to fall.

The landlord told all the people who were in the inn about the craze of his guest, the watching of the armour, and the dubbing ceremony he contemplated. Full of wonder at so strange a form of madness, they flocked to see it from a distance, and observed with what composure he sometimes paced up and down, or sometimes, leaning on his lance, gazed on his armour without taking his eyes off it for ever so long; and as the night closed in with a light from the moon so brilliant that it might vie with his that lent it, everything the novice knight did was plainly seen by all.

Meanwhile one of the carriers who were in the inn thought fit to water his team, and it was necessary to remove Don Quixote's armour as it lay on the trough; but he seeing the other approach hailed him in a loud voice, "O thou, whoever thou art, rash knight that comest to lay hands on the armour of the most valorous errant that ever girt on sword, have a care what thou dost; touch it not unless thou wouldst lay down thy life as the penalty of thy rashness." The carrier gave no heed to these words (and he would have done better to heed them if he had been heedful of his health), but seizing it by the straps flung the armour some distance from him. Seeing this, Don Quixote raised his eyes to heaven, and fixing his thoughts, apparently, upon his lady Dulcinea, exclaimed, "Aid me, lady mine, in this the first encounter that presents itself to this breast which thou holdest in subjection; let not thy favour and protection fail me in this first jeopardy;" and, with these words and others to the same purpose, dropping his buckler he lifted his lance with both hands and with it smote such a blow on the carrier's head that he stretched him on the ground, so stunned that had he followed it up with a second there would have been no need of a surgeon to cure him. This done, he picked up his armour and returned to his beat with the same serenity as before.

Shortly after this, another, not knowing what had happened (for the carrier still lay senseless), came with the same object of giving water to his mules, and was proceeding to remove the armour in order to clear the trough, when Don Quixote, without uttering a word or imploring aid from anyone, once more dropped his buckler and once more lifted his lance, and without actually breaking the second carrier's head into pieces, made more than three of it, for he laid it open in four. At the noise all the people of the inn ran to the spot, and among them the landlord. Seeing this, Don Quixote braced his buckler on his arm, and with his hand on his sword exclaimed, "O Lady of Beauty, strength and support of my faint heart, it is time for thee to turn the eyes of thy greatness on this thy captive knight on the brink of so mighty an adventure." By this he felt himself so inspired that he would not have flinched if all the carriers in the world had assailed him. The comrades of the wounded perceiving the plight they were in began from a distance to shower stones on Don Quixote, who screened himself as best he could with his buckler, not daring to quit the trough and leave his armour unprotected. The landlord shouted to them to leave him alone, for he had already told them that he was mad, and as a madman he would not be accountable even if he killed them all. Still louder shouted Don Quixote, calling them knaves and traitors, and the lord of the castle, who allowed knights-errant to be treated in this fashion, a villain and a low-born knight whom, had he received the order of knighthood, he would call to account for his treachery. "But of you," he cried, "base and vile rabble, I make no account; fling, strike, come on, do all ye can against me, ye shall see what the reward of your folly and insolence will be." This he uttered with so much spirit and boldness that he filled his assailants with a terrible fear, and as much for this reason as at the persuasion of the landlord they left off stoning him, and he allowed them to carry off the wounded, and with the same calmness and composure as before resumed the watch over his armour.

But these freaks of his guest were not much to the liking of the landlord, so he determined to cut matters short and confer upon him at once the unlucky order of knighthood before any further misadventure could occur; so, going up to him, he apologised for the rudeness which, without his knowledge, had been offered to him by these low people, who, however, had been well punished for their audacity. As he had already told him, he said, there was no chapel in the castle, nor was it needed for what remained to be done, for, as he understood the ceremonial of the order, the whole point of being dubbed a knight lay in the accolade and in the slap on the shoulder, and that could be administered in the middle of a field; and that he had now done all that was needful as to watching the armour, for all requirements were satisfied by a watch of two hours only, while he had been more than four about it. Don Quixote believed it all, and told him he stood there ready to obey him, and to make an end of it with as much despatch as possible; for, if he were again attacked, and felt himself to be dubbed knight, he would not, he thought, leave a soul alive in the castle, except such as out of respect he might spare at his bidding.

Thus warned and menaced, the castellan forthwith brought out a book in which he used to enter the straw and barley he served out to the carriers, and, with a lad carrying a candle-end, and the two damsels already mentioned, he returned to where Don Quixote stood, and bade him kneel down. Then, reading from his account-book as if he were repeating some devout prayer, in the middle of his delivery he raised his hand and gave him a sturdy blow on the neck, and then, with his own sword, a smart slap on the shoulder, all the while muttering between his teeth as if he was saying his prayers. Having done this, he directed one of the ladies to gird on his sword, which she did with great self-possession and gravity, and not a little was required to prevent a burst of laughter at each stage of the ceremony; but what they had already seen of the novice knight's prowess kept their laughter within bounds. On girding him with the sword the worthy lady said to him, "May God make your worship a very fortunate knight, and grant you success in battle." Don Quixote asked her name in order that he might from that time forward know to whom he was beholden for the favour he had received, as he meant to confer upon her some portion of the honour he acquired by the might of his arm. She answered with great humility that she was called La Tolosa, and that she was the daughter of a cobbler of Toledo who lived in the stalls of Sancho Bienaya, and that wherever she might be she would serve and esteem him as her lord. Don Quixote said in reply that she would do him a favour if thenceforward she assumed the "Don" and called herself Doña Tolosa. She promised she would, and then the other buckled on his spur, and with her followed almost the same conversation as with the lady of the sword. He asked her name, and she said it was La Molinera, and that she was the daughter of a respectable miller of Antequera; and of her likewise Don Quixote requested that she would adopt the "Don" and call herself Doña Molinera, making offers to her further services and favours.

Having thus, with hot haste and speed, brought to a conclusion these never-till-now-seen ceremonies, Don Quixote was on thorns until he saw himself on horseback sallying forth in quest of adventures; and saddling Rocinante at once he mounted, and embracing his host, as he returned thanks for his kindness in knighting him, he addressed him in language so extraordinary that it is impossible to convey an idea of it or report it. The landlord, to get him out of the inn, replied with no less rhetoric though with shorter words, and without calling upon him to pay the reckoning let him go with a Godspeed.

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Capítulo III.

Donde se cuenta la graciosa manera que tuvo don Quijote en armarse caballero

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Y así, fatigado de este pensamiento, abrevió su venteril y limitada cena; la cual acabada, llamó al ventero, y, encerrándose con él en la caballeriza, se hincó de rodillas ante él, diciéndole:

—No me levantaré jamás de donde estoy, valeroso caballero, fasta que la vuestra cortesía me otorgue un don que pedirle quiero, el cual redundará en alabanza vuestra y en pro del género humano.

El ventero, que vio a su huésped a sus pies y oyó semejantes razones, estaba confuso mirándole, sin saber qué hacerse ni decirle, y porfiaba con él que se levantase, y jamás quiso, hasta que le hubo de decir que él le otorgaba el don que le pedía.

—No esperaba yo menos de la gran magnificencia vuestra, señor mío —respondió don Quijote—; y así, os digo que el don que os he pedido, y de vuestra liberalidad me ha sido otorgado, es que mañana en aquel día me habéis de armar caballero, y esta noche en la capilla deste vuestro castillo velaré las armas; y mañana, como tengo dicho, se cumplirá lo que tanto deseo, para poder, como se debe, ir por todas las cuatro partes del mundo buscando las aventuras, en pro de los menesterosos, como está a cargo de la caballería y de los caballeros andantes, como yo soy, cuyo deseo a semejantes fazañas es inclinado.

El ventero, que, como está dicho, era un poco socarrón y ya tenía algunos barruntos de la falta de juicio de su huésped, acabó de creerlo cuando acabó de oírle semejantes razones, y, por tener qué reír aquella noche, determinó de seguirle el humor; y así, le dijo que andaba muy acertado en lo que deseaba y pedía, y que tal prosupuesto era propio y natural de los caballeros tan principales como él parecía y como su gallarda presencia mostraba; y que él, ansimesmo, en los años de su mocedad, se había dado a aquel honroso ejercicio, andando por diversas partes del mundo buscando sus aventuras, sin que hubiese dejado los Percheles de Málaga, Islas de Riarán, Compás de Sevilla, Azoguejo de Segovia, la Olivera de Valencia, Rondilla de Granada, Playa de Sanlúcar, Potro de Córdoba y las Ventillas de Toledo y otras diversas partes, donde había ejercitado la ligereza de sus pies, sutileza de sus manos, haciendo muchos tuertos, recuestando muchas viudas, deshaciendo algunas doncellas y engañando a algunos pupilos, y, finalmente, dándose a conocer por cuantas audiencias y tribunales hay casi en toda España; y que, a lo último, se había venido a recoger a aquel su castillo, donde vivía con su hacienda y con las ajenas, recogiendo en él a todos los caballeros andantes, de cualquiera calidad y condición que fuesen, sólo por la mucha afición que les tenía y porque partiesen con él de sus haberes, en pago de su buen deseo.

Díjole también que en aquel su castillo no había capilla alguna donde poder velar las armas, porque estaba derribada para hacerla de nuevo; pero que, en caso de necesidad, él sabía que se podían velar dondequiera, y que aquella noche las podría velar en un patio del castillo; que a la mañana, siendo Dios servido, se harían las debidas ceremonias, de manera que él quedase armado caballero, y tan caballero que no pudiese ser más en el mundo.

Preguntóle si traía dineros; respondió don Quijote que no traía blanca, porque él nunca había leído en las historias de los caballeros andantes que ninguno los hubiese traído. A esto dijo el ventero que se engañaba; que, puesto caso que en las historias no se escribía, por haberles parecido a los autores de ellas que no era menester escribir una cosa tan clara y tan necesaria de traerse como eran dineros y camisas limpias, no por eso se había de creer que no los trujeron; y así, tuviese por cierto y averiguado que todos los caballeros andantes, de que tantos libros están llenos y atestados, llevaban bien herradas las bolsas, por lo que pudiese sucederles; y que asimismo llevaban camisas y una arqueta pequeña llena de ungüentos para curar las heridas que recibían, porque no todas veces en los campos y desiertos donde se combatían y salían heridos había quien los curase, si ya no era que tenían algún sabio encantador por amigo, que luego los socorría, trayendo por el aire, en alguna nube, alguna doncella o enano con alguna redoma de agua de tal virtud que, en gustando alguna gota della, luego al punto quedaban sanos de sus llagas y heridas, como si mal alguno hubiesen tenido. Mas que, en tanto que esto no hubiese, tuvieron los pasados caballeros por cosa acertada que sus escuderos fuesen proveídos de dineros y de otras cosas necesarias, como eran hilas y ungüentos para curarse; y, cuando sucedía que los tales caballeros no tenían escuderos, que eran pocas y raras veces, ellos mesmos lo llevaban todo en unas alforjas muy sutiles, que casi no se parecían, a las ancas del caballo, como que era otra cosa de más importancia; porque, no siendo por ocasión semejante, esto de llevar alforjas no fue muy admitido entre los caballeros andantes; y por esto le daba por consejo, pues aún se lo podía mandar como a su ahijado, que tan presto lo había de ser, que no caminase de allí adelante sin dineros y sin las prevenciones referidas, y que vería cuán bien se hallaba con ellas cuando menos se pensase.

Prometióle don Quijote de hacer lo que se le aconsejaba con toda puntualidad; y así, se dio luego orden como velase las armas en un corral grande que a un lado de la venta estaba; y, recogiéndolas don Quijote todas, las puso sobre una pila que junto a un pozo estaba, y, embrazando su adarga, asió de su lanza y con gentil continente se comenzó a pasear delante de la pila; y cuando comenzó el paseo comenzaba a cerrar la noche.

Contó el ventero a todos cuantos estaban en la venta la locura de su huésped, la vela de las armas y la armazón de caballería que esperaba. Admiráronse de tan extraño género de locura y fuéronselo a mirar desde lejos, y vieron que, con sosegado ademán, unas veces se paseaba; otras, arrimado a su lanza, ponía los ojos en las armas, sin quitarlos por un buen espacio dellas. Acabó de cerrar la noche, pero con tanta claridad de la luna, que podía competir con el que se la prestaba, de manera que cuanto el novel caballero hacía era bien visto de todos. Antojósele en esto a uno de los arrieros que estaban en la venta ir a dar agua a su recua, y fue menester quitar las armas de don Quijote, que estaban sobre la pila; el cual, viéndole llegar, en voz alta le dijo:

—¡Oh tú, quienquiera que seas, atrevido caballero, que llegas a tocar las armas del más valeroso andante que jamás se ciñó espada!, mira lo que haces y no las toques, si no quieres dejar la vida en pago de tu atrevimiento.

No se curó el arriero destas razones (y fuera mejor que se curara, porque fuera curarse en salud); antes, trabando de las correas, las arrojó gran trecho de sí. Lo cual visto por don Quijote, alzó los ojos al cielo, y, puesto el pensamiento -a lo que pareció- en su señora Dulcinea, dijo:

—Acorredme, señora mía, en esta primera afrenta que a este vuestro avasallado pecho se le ofrece; no me desfallezca en este primero trance vuestro favor y amparo.

Y, diciendo estas y otras semejantes razones, soltando la adarga, alzó la lanza a dos manos y dio con ella tan gran golpe al arriero en la cabeza, que le derribó en el suelo, tan maltrecho que, si segundara con otro, no tuviera necesidad de maestro que le curara. Hecho esto, recogió sus armas y tornó a pasearse con el mismo reposo que primero. Desde allí a poco, sin saberse lo que había pasado (porque aún estaba aturdido el arriero), llegó otro con la mesma intención de dar agua a sus mulos; y, llegando a quitar las armas para desembarazar la pila, sin hablar don Quijote palabra y sin pedir favor a nadie, soltó otra vez la adarga y alzó otra vez la lanza, y, sin hacerla pedazos, hizo más de tres la cabeza del segundo arriero, porque se la abrió por cuatro. Al ruido acudió toda la gente de la venta, y entre ellos el ventero. Viendo esto don Quijote, embrazó su adarga, y, puesta mano a su espada, dijo:

—¡Oh señora de la fermosura, esfuerzo y vigor del debilitado corazón mío! Ahora es tiempo que vuelvas los ojos de tu grandeza a este tu cautivo caballero, que tamaña aventura está atendiendo.

Con esto cobró, a su parecer, tanto ánimo, que si le acometieran todos los arrieros del mundo, no volviera el pie atrás. Los compañeros de los heridos, que tales los vieron, comenzaron desde lejos a llover piedras sobre don Quijote, el cual, lo mejor que podía, se reparaba con su adarga, y no se osaba apartar de la pila por no desamparar las armas. El ventero daba voces que le dejasen, porque ya les había dicho como era loco, y que por loco se libraría, aunque los matase a todos. También don Quijote las daba, mayores, llamándolos de alevosos y traidores, y que el señor del castillo era un follón y mal nacido caballero, pues de tal manera consentía que se tratasen los andantes caballeros; y que si él hubiera recibido la orden de caballería, que él le diera a entender su alevosía:

—Pero de vosotros, soez y baja canalla, no hago caso alguno: tirad, llegad, venid y ofendedme en cuanto pudiéredes, que vosotros veréis el pago que lleváis de vuestra sandez y demasía.

Decía esto con tanto brío y denuedo, que infundió un terrible temor en los que le acometían; y, así por esto como por las persuasiones del ventero, le dejaron de tirar, y él dejó retirar a los heridos y tornó a la vela de sus armas con la misma quietud y sosiego que primero.

No le parecieron bien al ventero las burlas de su huésped, y determinó abreviar y darle la negra orden de caballería luego, antes que otra desgracia sucediese. Y así, llegándose a él, se desculpó de la insolencia que aquella gente baja con él había usado, sin que él supiese cosa alguna; pero que bien castigados quedaban de su atrevimiento. Díjole como ya le había dicho que en aquel castillo no había capilla, y para lo que restaba de hacer tampoco era necesaria; que todo el toque de quedar armado caballero consistía en la pescozada y en el espaldarazo, según él tenía noticia del ceremonial de la orden, y que aquello en mitad de un campo se podía hacer, y que ya había cumplido con lo que tocaba al velar de las armas, que con solas dos horas de vela se cumplía, cuanto más, que él había estado más de cuatro. Todo se lo creyó don Quijote, y dijo que él estaba allí pronto para obedecerle, y que concluyese con la mayor brevedad que pudiese; porque si fuese otra vez acometido y se viese armado caballero, no pensaba dejar persona viva en el castillo, excepto aquellas que él le mandase, a quien por su respeto dejaría.

Advertido y medroso desto el castellano, trujo luego un libro donde asentaba la paja y cebada que daba a los arrieros, y con un cabo de vela que le traía un muchacho, y con las dos ya dichas doncellas, se vino adonde don Quijote estaba, al cual mandó hincar de rodillas; y, leyendo en su manual, como que decía alguna devota oración, en mitad de la leyenda alzó la mano y diole sobre el cuello un buen golpe, y tras él, con su mesma espada, un gentil espaldazaro, siempre murmurando entre dientes, como que rezaba. Hecho esto, mandó a una de aquellas damas que le ciñese la espada, la cual lo hizo con mucha desenvoltura y discreción, porque no fue menester poca para no reventar de risa a cada punto de las ceremonias; pero las proezas que ya habían visto del novel caballero les tenía la risa a raya. Al ceñirle la espada, dijo la buena señora:

Dios haga a vuestra merced muy venturoso caballero y le dé ventura en lides.

Don Quijote le preguntó cómo se llamaba, porque él supiese de allí adelante a quién quedaba obligado por la merced recebida; porque pensaba darle alguna parte de la honra que alcanzase por el valor de su brazo. Ella respondió con mucha humildad que se llamaba la Tolosa, y que era hija de un remendón natural de Toledo que vivía a las tendillas de Sancho Bienaya, y que dondequiera que ella estuviese le serviría y le tendría por señor. Don Quijote le replicó que, por su amor, le hiciese merced que de allí adelante se pusiese don y se llamase doña Tolosa. Ella se lo prometió, y la otra le calzó la espuela, con la cual le pasó casi el mismo coloquio que con la de la espada: preguntóle su nombre, y dijo que se llamaba la Molinera, y que era hija de un honrado molinero de Antequera; a la cual también rogó don Quijote que se pusiese don y se llamase doña Molinera, ofreciéndole nuevos servicios y mercedes.

Hechas, pues, de galope y aprisa las hasta allí nunca vistas ceremonias, no vio la hora don Quijote de verse a caballo y salir buscando las aventuras; y, ensillando luego a Rocinante, subió en él, y, abrazando a su huésped, le dijo cosas tan estrañas, agradeciéndole la merced de haberle armado caballero, que no es posible acertar a referirlas. El ventero, por verle ya fuera de la venta, con no menos retóricas, aunque con más breves palabras, respondió a las suyas, y, sin pedirle la costa de la posada, le dejó ir a la buen hora.

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