Of what happened to our knight when he left the inn
Day was dawning when Don Quixote quitted the inn, so happy, so gay, so
exhilarated at finding himself now dubbed a knight, that his joy was like
to burst his horse-girths. However, recalling the advice of his host as
to the requisites he ought to carry with him, especially that referring
to money and shirts, he determined to go home and provide himself with
all, and also with a squire, for he reckoned upon securing a
farm-labourer, a neighbour of his, a poor man with a family, but very
well qualified for the office of squire to a knight. With this object he
turned his horse's head towards his village, and Rocinante, thus reminded
of his old quarters, stepped out so briskly that he hardly seemed to
tread the earth.
He had not gone far, when out of a thicket on his right there seemed to
come feeble cries as of some one in distress, and the instant he heard
them he exclaimed, "Thanks be to heaven for the favour it accords me,
that it so soon offers me an opportunity of fulfilling the obligation I
have undertaken, and gathering the fruit of my ambition. These cries, no
doubt, come from some man or woman in want of help, and needing my aid
and protection;" and wheeling, he turned Rocinante in the direction
whence the cries seemed to proceed. He had gone but a few paces into the
wood, when he saw a mare tied to an oak, and tied to another, and
stripped from the waist upwards, a youth of about fifteen years of age,
from whom the cries came. Nor were they without cause, for a lusty farmer
was flogging him with a belt and following up every blow with scoldings
and commands, repeating, "Your mouth shut and your eyes open!" while the
youth made answer, "I won't do it again, master mine; by God's passion I
won't do it again, and I'll take more care of the flock another time."
Seeing what was going on, Don Quixote said in an angry voice,
"Discourteous knight, it ill becomes you to assail one who cannot defend
himself; mount your steed and take your lance" (for there was a lance
leaning against the oak to which the mare was tied), "and I will make you
know that you are behaving as a coward." The farmer, seeing before him
this figure in full armour brandishing a lance over his head, gave
himself up for dead, and made answer meekly, "Sir Knight, this youth that
I am chastising is my servant, employed by me to watch a flock of sheep
that I have hard by, and he is so careless that I lose one every day, and
when I punish him for his carelessness and knavery he says I do it out of
niggardliness, to escape paying him the wages I owe him, and before God,
and on my soul, he lies."
"Lies before me, base clown!" said Don Quixote. "By the sun that shines
on us I have a mind to run you through with this lance. Pay him at once
without another word; if not, by the God that rules us I will make an end
of you, and annihilate you on the spot; release him instantly."
The farmer hung his head, and without a word untied his servant, of whom
Don Quixote asked how much his master owed him.
He replied, nine months at seven reals a month. Don Quixote added it up,
found that it came to sixty-three reals, and told the farmer to pay it
down immediately, if he did not want to die for it.
The trembling clown replied that as he lived and by the oath he had sworn
(though he had not sworn any) it was not so much; for there were to be
taken into account and deducted three pairs of shoes he had given him,
and a real for two blood-lettings when he was sick.
"All that is very well," said Don Quixote; "but let the shoes and the
blood-lettings stand as a setoff against the blows you have given him
without any cause; for if he spoiled the leather of the shoes you paid
for, you have damaged that of his body, and if the barber took blood from
him when he was sick, you have drawn it when he was sound; so on that
score he owes you nothing."
"The difficulty is, Sir Knight, that I have no money here; let Andrés
come home with me, and I will pay him all, real by real."
"I go with him!" said the youth. "Nay, God forbid! No, señor, not for the
world; for once alone with me, he would ray me like a Saint Bartholomew."
"He will do nothing of the kind," said Don Quixote; "I have only to
command, and he will obey me; and as he has sworn to me by the order of
knighthood which he has received, I leave him free, and I guarantee the
"Consider what you are saying, señor," said the youth; "this master of
mine is not a knight, nor has he received any order of knighthood; for he
is Juan Haldudo the Rich, of Quintanar."
"That matters little," replied Don Quixote; "there may be Haldudos
knights; moreover, everyone is the son of his works."
"That is true," said Andrés; "but this master of mine--of what works is
he the son, when he refuses me the wages of my sweat and labour?"
"I do not refuse, brother Andrés," said the farmer, "be good enough to
come along with me, and I swear by all the orders of knighthood there are
in the world to pay you as I have agreed, real by real, and perfumed."
"For the perfumery I excuse you," said Don Quixote; "give it to him in
reals, and I shall be satisfied; and see that you do as you have sworn;
if not, by the same oath I swear to come back and hunt you out and punish
you; and I shall find you though you should lie closer than a lizard. And
if you desire to know who it is lays this command upon you, that you be
more firmly bound to obey it, know that I am the valorous Don Quixote of
La Mancha, the undoer of wrongs and injustices; and so, God be with you,
and keep in mind what you have promised and sworn under those penalties
that have been already declared to you."
So saying, he gave Rocinante the spur and was soon out of reach. The
farmer followed him with his eyes, and when he saw that he had cleared
the wood and was no longer in sight, he turned to his boy Andrés, and
said, "Come here, my son, I want to pay you what I owe you, as that
undoer of wrongs has commanded me."
"My oath on it," said Andres, "your worship will be well advised to obey
the command of that good knight--may he live a thousand years--for, as he
is a valiant and just judge, by Roque, if you do not pay me, he will come
back and do as he said."
"My oath on it, too," said the farmer; "but as I have a strong affection
for you, I want to add to the debt in order to add to the payment;" and
seizing him by the arm, he tied him up again, and gave him such a
flogging that he left him for dead.
"Now, Master Andrés," said the farmer, "call on the undoer of wrongs; you
will find he won't undo that, though I am not sure that I have quite done
with you, for I have a good mind to flay you alive." But at last he
untied him, and gave him leave to go look for his judge in order to put
the sentence pronounced into execution.
Andres went off rather down in the mouth, swearing he would go to look
for the valiant Don Quixote of La Mancha and tell him exactly what had
happened, and that all would have to be repaid him sevenfold; but for all
that, he went off weeping, while his master stood laughing.
Thus did the valiant Don Quixote right that wrong, and, thoroughly
satisfied with what had taken place, as he considered he had made a very
happy and noble beginning with his knighthood, he took the road towards
his village in perfect self-content, saying in a low voice, "Well mayest
thou this day call thyself fortunate above all on earth, O Dulcinea del
Toboso, fairest of the fair! since it has fallen to thy lot to hold
subject and submissive to thy full will and pleasure a knight so renowned
as is and will be Don Quixote of La Mancha, who, as all the world knows,
yesterday received the order of knighthood, and hath to-day righted the
greatest wrong and grievance that ever injustice conceived and cruelty
perpetrated: who hath to-day plucked the rod from the hand of yonder
ruthless oppressor so wantonly lashing that tender child."
He now came to a road branching in four directions, and immediately he
was reminded of those cross-roads where knights-errant used to stop to
consider which road they should take. In imitation of them he halted for
a while, and after having deeply considered it, he gave Rocinante his
head, submitting his own will to that of his hack, who followed out his
first intention, which was to make straight for his own stable. After he
had gone about two miles Don Quixote perceived a large party of people,
who, as afterwards appeared, were some Toledo traders, on their way to
buy silk at Murcia. There were six of them coming along under their
sunshades, with four servants mounted, and three muleteers on foot.
Scarcely had Don Quixote descried them when the fancy possessed him that
this must be some new adventure; and to help him to imitate as far as he
could those passages he had read of in his books, here seemed to come one
made on purpose, which he resolved to attempt. So with a lofty bearing
and determination he fixed himself firmly in his stirrups, got his lance
ready, brought his buckler before his breast, and planting himself in the
middle of the road, stood waiting the approach of these knights-errant,
for such he now considered and held them to be; and when they had come
near enough to see and hear, he exclaimed with a haughty gesture, "All
the world stand, unless all the world confess that in all the world there
is no maiden fairer than the Empress of La Mancha, the peerless Dulcinea
The traders halted at the sound of this language and the sight of the
strange figure that uttered it, and from both figure and language at once
guessed the craze of their owner; they wished, however, to learn quietly
what was the object of this confession that was demanded of them, and one
of them, who was rather fond of a joke and was very sharp-witted, said to
him, "Sir Knight, we do not know who this good lady is that you speak of;
show her to us, for, if she be of such beauty as you suggest, with all
our hearts and without any pressure we will confess the truth that is on
your part required of us."
"If I were to show her to you," replied Don Quixote, "what merit would
you have in confessing a truth so manifest? The essential point is that
without seeing her you must believe, confess, affirm, swear, and defend
it; else ye have to do with me in battle, ill-conditioned, arrogant
rabble that ye are; and come ye on, one by one as the order of knighthood
requires, or all together as is the custom and vile usage of your breed,
here do I bide and await you relying on the justice of the cause I
"Sir Knight," replied the trader, "I entreat your worship in the name of
this present company of princes, that, to save us from charging our
consciences with the confession of a thing we have never seen or heard
of, and one moreover so much to the prejudice of the Empresses and Queens
of the Alcarria and Estremadura, your worship will be pleased to show us
some portrait of this lady, though it be no bigger than a grain of wheat;
for by the thread one gets at the ball, and in this way we shall be
satisfied and easy, and you will be content and pleased; nay, I believe
we are already so far agreed with you that even though her portrait
should show her blind of one eye, and distilling vermilion and sulphur
from the other, we would nevertheless, to gratify your worship, say all
in her favour that you desire."
"She distils nothing of the kind, vile rabble," said Don Quixote, burning
with rage, "nothing of the kind, I say, only ambergris and civet in
cotton; nor is she one-eyed or humpbacked, but straighter than a
Guadarrama spindle: but ye must pay for the blasphemy ye have uttered
against beauty like that of my lady."
And so saying, he charged with levelled lance against the one who had
spoken, with such fury and fierceness that, if luck had not contrived
that Rocinante should stumble midway and come down, it would have gone
hard with the rash trader. Down went Rocinante, and over went his master,
rolling along the ground for some distance; and when he tried to rise he
was unable, so encumbered was he with lance, buckler, spurs, helmet, and
the weight of his old armour; and all the while he was struggling to get
up he kept saying, "Fly not, cowards and caitiffs! stay, for not by my
fault, but my horse's, am I stretched here."
One of the muleteers in attendance, who could not have had much good
nature in him, hearing the poor prostrate man blustering in this style,
was unable to refrain from giving him an answer on his ribs; and coming
up to him he seized his lance, and having broken it in pieces, with one
of them he began so to belabour our Don Quixote that, notwithstanding and
in spite of his armour, he milled him like a measure of wheat. His
masters called out not to lay on so hard and to leave him alone, but the
muleteer's blood was up, and he did not care to drop the game until he had
vented the rest of his wrath, and gathering up the remaining fragments of
the lance he finished with a discharge upon the unhappy victim, who all
through the storm of sticks that rained on him never ceased threatening
heaven, and earth, and the brigands, for such they seemed to him. At last
the muleteer was tired, and the traders continued their journey, taking
with them matter for talk about the poor fellow who had been cudgelled.
He when he found himself alone made another effort to rise; but if he was
unable when whole and sound, how was he to rise after having been
thrashed and well-nigh knocked to pieces? And yet he esteemed himself
fortunate, as it seemed to him that this was a regular knight-errant's
mishap, and entirely, he considered, the fault of his horse. However,
battered in body as he was, to rise was beyond his power.