Of the good fortune which the valiant Don Quixote had in the terrible and undreamt-of adventure of the windmills, with other occurrences to be fitly recorded
At this point they came in sight of thirty or forty windmills that there are
on plain, and as soon as Don Quixote saw them he said to his squire,
"Fortune is arranging matters for us better than we could have shaped our
desires ourselves, for look there, friend Sancho Panza, where thirty or
more monstrous giants present themselves, all of whom I mean to engage in
battle and slay, and with whose spoils we shall begin to make our
fortunes; for this is righteous warfare, and it is God's good service to
sweep so evil a breed from off the face of the earth."
"What giants?" said Sancho Panza.
"Those thou seest there," answered his master, "with the long arms, and
some have them nearly two leagues long."
"Look, your worship," said Sancho; "what we see there are not giants but
windmills, and what seem to be their arms are the sails that turned by
the wind make the millstone go."
"It is easy to see," replied Don Quixote, "that thou art not used to this
business of adventures; those are giants; and if thou art afraid, away
with thee out of this and betake thyself to prayer while I engage them in
fierce and unequal combat."
So saying, he gave the spur to his steed Rocinante, heedless of the cries
his squire Sancho sent after him, warning him that most certainly they
were windmills and not giants he was going to attack. He, however, was so
positive they were giants that he neither heard the cries of Sancho, nor
perceived, near as he was, what they were, but made at them shouting,
"Fly not, cowards and vile beings, for a single knight attacks you."
A slight breeze at this moment sprang up, and the great sails began to
move, seeing which Don Quixote exclaimed, "Though ye flourish more arms
than the giant Briareus, ye have to reckon with me."
So saying, and commending himself with all his heart to his lady
Dulcinea, imploring her to support him in such a peril, with lance in
rest and covered by his buckler, he charged at Rocinante's fullest gallop
and fell upon the first mill that stood in front of him; but as he drove
his lance-point into the sail the wind whirled it round with such force
that it shivered the lance to pieces, sweeping with it horse and rider,
who went rolling over on the plain, in a sorry condition. Sancho hastened
to his assistance as fast as his ass could go, and when he came up found
him unable to move, with such a shock had Rocinante fallen with him.
"God bless me!" said Sancho, "did I not tell your worship to mind what
you were about, for they were only windmills? and no one could have made
any mistake about it but one who had something of the same kind in his
"Hush, friend Sancho," replied Don Quixote, "the fortunes of war more
than any other are liable to frequent fluctuations; and moreover I think,
and it is the truth, that that same sage Friston who carried off my study
and books, has turned these giants into mills in order to rob me of the
glory of vanquishing them, such is the enmity he bears me; but in the end
his wicked arts will avail but little against my good sword."
"God order it as he may," said Sancho Panza, and helping him to rise got
him up again on Rocinante, whose shoulder was half out; and then,
discussing the late adventure, they followed the road to Puerto Lapice,
for there, said Don Quixote, they could not fail to find adventures in
abundance and variety, as it was a great thoroughfare. For all that, he
was much grieved at the loss of his lance, and saying so to his squire,
he added, "I remember having read how a Spanish knight, Diego Perez de
Vargas by name, having broken his sword in battle, tore from an oak a
ponderous bough or branch, and with it did such things that day, and
pounded so many Moors, that he got the surname of Machuca, and he and his
descendants from that day forth were called Vargas y Machuca. I mention
this because from the first oak I see I mean to rend such another branch,
large and stout like that, with which I am determined and resolved to do
such deeds that thou mayest deem thyself very fortunate in being found
worthy to come and see them, and be an eyewitness of things that will
with difficulty be believed."
"Be that as God will," said Sancho, "I believe it all as your worship
says it; but straighten yourself a little, for you seem all on one side,
may be from the shaking of the fall."
"That is the truth," said Don Quixote, "and if I make no complaint of the
pain it is because knights-errant are not permitted to complain of any
wound, even though their bowels be coming out through it."
"If so," said Sancho, "I have nothing to say; but God knows I would
rather your worship complained when anything ailed you. For my part, I
confess I must complain however small the ache may be; unless this rule
about not complaining extends to the squires of knights-errant also."
Don Quixote could not help laughing at his squire's simplicity, and he
assured him he might complain whenever and however he chose, just as he
liked, for, so far, he had never read of anything to the contrary in the
order of knighthood.
Sancho bade him remember it was dinner-time, to which his master answered
that he wanted nothing himself just then, but that he might eat when he
had a mind. With this permission Sancho settled himself as comfortably as
he could on his beast, and taking out of the alforjas what he had stowed
away in them, he jogged along behind his master munching deliberately,
and from time to time taking a pull at the bota with a relish that the
thirstiest tapster in Malaga might have envied; and while he went on in
this way, gulping down draught after draught, he never gave a thought to
any of the promises his master had made him, nor did he rate it as
hardship but rather as recreation going in quest of adventures, however
dangerous they might be. Finally they passed the night among some trees,
from one of which Don Quixote plucked a dry branch to serve him after a
fashion as a lance, and fixed on it the head he had removed from the
broken one. All that night Don Quixote lay awake thinking of his lady
Dulcinea, in order to conform to what he had read in his books, how many
a night in the forests and deserts knights used to lie sleepless
supported by the memory of their mistresses. Not so did Sancho Panza
spend it, for having his stomach full of something stronger than chicory
water he made but one sleep of it, and, if his master had not called him,
neither the rays of the sun beating on his face nor all the cheery notes
of the birds welcoming the approach of day would have had power to waken
him. On getting up he tried the bota and found it somewhat less full than
the night before, which grieved his heart because they did not seem to be
on the way to remedy the deficiency readily. Don Quixote did not care to
break his fast, for, as has been already said, he confined himself to
savoury recollections for nourishment.
They returned to the road they had set out with, leading to Puerto
Lapice, and at three in the afternoon they came in sight of it. "Here,
brother Sancho Panza," said Don Quixote when he saw it, "we may plunge
our hands up to the elbows in what they call adventures; but observe,
even shouldst thou see me in the greatest danger in the world, thou must
not put a hand to thy sword in my defence, unless indeed thou perceivest
that those who assail me are rabble or base folk; for in that case thou
mayest very properly aid me; but if they be knights it is on no account
permitted or allowed thee by the laws of knighthood to help me until thou
hast been dubbed a knight."
"Most certainly, señor," replied Sancho, "your worship shall be fully
obeyed in this matter; all the more as of myself I am peaceful and no
friend to mixing in strife and quarrels: it is true that as regards the
defence of my own person I shall not give much heed to those laws, for
laws human and divine allow each one to defend himself against any
"That I grant," said Don Quixote, "but in this matter of aiding me
against knights thou must put a restraint upon thy natural impetuosity."
"I will do so, I promise you," answered Sancho, "and will keep this
precept as carefully as Sunday."
While they were thus talking there appeared on the road two friars of the
order of St. Benedict, mounted on two dromedaries, for not less tall were
the two mules they rode on. They wore travelling spectacles and carried
sunshades; and behind them came a coach attended by four or five persons
on horseback and two muleteers on foot. In the coach there was, as
afterwards appeared, a Biscay lady on her way to Seville, where her
husband was about to take passage for the Indies with an appointment of
high honour. The friars, though going the same road, were not in her
company; but the moment Don Quixote perceived them he said to his squire,
"Either I am mistaken, or this is going to be the most famous adventure
that has ever been seen, for those black bodies we see there must be, and
doubtless are, magicians who are carrying off some stolen princess in
that coach, and with all my might I must undo this wrong."
"This will be worse than the windmills," said Sancho. "Look, señor; those
are friars of St. Benedict, and the coach plainly belongs to some
travellers: I tell you to mind well what you are about and don't let the
devil mislead you."
"I have told thee already, Sancho," replied Don Quixote, "that on the
subject of adventures thou knowest little. What I say is the truth, as
thou shalt see presently."
So saying, he advanced and posted himself in the middle of the road along
which the friars were coming, and as soon as he thought they had come
near enough to hear what he said, he cried aloud, "Devilish and unnatural
beings, release instantly the highborn princesses whom you are carrying
off by force in this coach, else prepare to meet a speedy death as the
just punishment of your evil deeds."
The friars drew rein and stood wondering at the appearance of Don Quixote
as well as at his words, to which they replied, "Señor Caballero, we are
not devilish or unnatural, but two brothers of St. Benedict following our
road, nor do we know whether or not there are any captive princesses
coming in this coach."
"No soft words with me, for I know you, lying rabble," said Don Quixote,
and without waiting for a reply he spurred Rocinante and with levelled
lance charged the first friar with such fury and determination, that, if
the friar had not flung himself off the mule, he would have brought him
to the ground against his will, and sore wounded, if not killed outright.
The second brother, seeing how his comrade was treated, drove his heels
into his castle of a mule and made off across the country faster than the
Sancho Panza, when he saw the friar on the ground, dismounting briskly
from his ass, rushed towards him and began to strip off his gown. At that
instant the friars muleteers came up and asked what he was stripping him
for. Sancho answered them that this fell to him lawfully as spoil of the
battle which his lord Don Quixote had won. The muleteers, who had no idea
of a joke and did not understand all this about battles and spoils,
seeing that Don Quixote was some distance off talking to the travellers
in the coach, fell upon Sancho, knocked him down, and leaving hardly a
hair in his beard, belaboured him with kicks and left him stretched
breathless and senseless on the ground; and without any more delay helped
the friar to mount, who, trembling, terrified, and pale, as soon as he
found himself in the saddle, spurred after his companion, who was
standing at a distance looking on, watching the result of the onslaught;
then, not caring to wait for the end of the affair just begun, they
pursued their journey making more crosses than if they had the devil
Don Quixote was, as has been said, speaking to the lady in the coach:
"Your beauty, lady mine," said he, "may now dispose of your person as may
be most in accordance with your pleasure, for the pride of your ravishers
lies prostrate on the ground through this strong arm of mine; and lest
you should be pining to know the name of your deliverer, know that I am
called Don Quixote of La Mancha, knight-errant and adventurer, and
captive to the peerless and beautiful lady Dulcinea del Toboso: and in
return for the service you have received of me I ask no more than that
you should return to El Toboso, and on my behalf present yourself before
that lady and tell her what I have done to set you free."
One of the squires in attendance upon the coach, a Biscayan, was
listening to all Don Quixote was saying, and, perceiving that he would
not allow the coach to go on, but was saying it must return at once to El
Toboso, he made at him, and seizing his lance addressed him in bad
Castilian and worse Biscayan after his fashion, "Begone, caballero, and
ill go with thee; by the God that made me, unless thou quittest coach,
slayest thee as art here a Biscayan."
Don Quixote understood him quite well, and answered him very quietly, "If
thou wert a knight, as thou art none, I should have already chastised thy
folly and rashness, miserable creature." To which the Biscayan returned,
"I no gentleman!--I swear to God thou liest as I am Christian: if thou
droppest lance and drawest sword, soon shalt thou see thou art carrying
water to the cat: Biscayan on land, hidalgo at sea, hidalgo at the devil,
and look, if thou sayest otherwise thou liest."
"'You will see presently,' said Agrajes," replied Don Quixote; and
throwing his lance on the ground he drew his sword, braced his buckler on
his arm, and attacked the Biscayan, bent upon taking his life.
The Biscayan, when he saw him coming on, though he wished to dismount
from his mule, in which, being one of those sorry ones let out for hire,
he had no confidence, had no choice but to draw his sword; it was lucky
for him, however, that he was near the coach, from which he was able to
snatch a cushion that served him for a shield; and they went at one
another as if they had been two mortal enemies. The others strove to make
peace between them, but could not, for the Biscayan declared in his
disjointed phrase that if they did not let him finish his battle he would
kill his mistress and everyone that strove to prevent him. The lady in
the coach, amazed and terrified at what she saw, ordered the coachman to
draw aside a little, and set herself to watch this severe struggle, in
the course of which the Biscayan smote Don Quixote a mighty stroke on the
shoulder over the top of his buckler, which, given to one without armour,
would have cleft him to the waist. Don Quixote, feeling the weight of
this prodigious blow, cried aloud, saying, "O lady of my soul, Dulcinea,
flower of beauty, come to the aid of this your knight, who, in fulfilling
his obligations to your beauty, finds himself in this extreme peril." To
say this, to lift his sword, to shelter himself well behind his buckler,
and to assail the Biscayan was the work of an instant, determined as he
was to venture all upon a single blow. The Biscayan, seeing him come on
in this way, was convinced of his courage by his spirited bearing, and
resolved to follow his example, so he waited for him keeping well under
cover of his cushion, being unable to execute any sort of manoeuvre with
his mule, which, dead tired and never meant for this kind of game, could
not stir a step.
On, then, as aforesaid, came Don Quixote against the wary Biscayan, with
uplifted sword and a firm intention of splitting him in half, while on
his side the Biscayan waited for him sword in hand, and under the
protection of his cushion; and all present stood trembling, waiting in
suspense the result of blows such as threatened to fall, and the lady in
the coach and the rest of her following were making a thousand vows and
offerings to all the images and shrines of Spain, that God might deliver
her squire and all of them from this great peril in which they found
themselves. But it spoils all, that at this point and crisis the author
of the history leaves this battle impending, giving as excuse that he
could find nothing more written about these achievements of Don Quixote
than what has been already set forth. It is true the second author of
this work was unwilling to believe that a history so curious could have
been allowed to fall under the sentence of oblivion, or that the wits of
La Mancha could have been so undiscerning as not to preserve in their
archives or registries some documents referring to this famous knight;
and this being his persuasion, he did not despair of finding the
conclusion of this pleasant history, which, heaven favouring him, he did
find in a way that shall be related in the Second Part.