The History of That Ingenious Gentleman, Don Quijote de la Mancha

By Miguel De Cervantes Saavedra; Burton Raffel | Go to book overview

Chapter Ten

a lively discussion between Don Quijote and Sancho Panza,
his squire

By this time Sancho Panza had gotten to his feet, though somewhat abused by the friars' young muledrivers, and had been watching his master Don Quijote's combat and praying, in his heart, that God would grant him victory and thereby win some island where Sancho could be made governor, as he'd been promised. So when he saw the battle had ended, and his master was about to mount Rocinante, Sancho hurried over to hold the stirrup for him and, before Don Quijote could mount, sank down on his knees, grasped his master's hand and, kissing it, said:

"If your grace, Don Quijote my lord, would please give me the governorship of the island you won in this hard fight. No matter how big it might be, I'm sure I'll know how to govern it as well as anyone who's ever governed islands anywhere in the world."

To which Don Quijote replied:

"Be advised, brother Sancho, that this adventure, and any like it, are not island adventures, but crossroads adventures, in which nothing is won except a cracked head or a missing ear. Be patient: in time there will be adventures after which I will be able to make you not simply a governor, but something even more."

Sancho thanked him profusely and, kissing his hand yet again, as well as the skirt of his armor, helped his master mount Rocinante. Then he climbed up on his donkey and began to follow along behind his lord, who kept up a rapid pace. Without either saying farewell or even speaking to the ladies in the coach, he headed directly into a nearby wood. Sancho followed him as well as his donkey could manage, but Rocinante was going so fast that, finding himself being left behind, he had to call to his master to wait for him. Don Quijote obliged him, pulling in Rocinante until his weary squire could catch up. And when he got there, Sancho said:

"It seems to me, señor, that we ought to take refuge in a church somewhere, because the man you were fighting got left in pretty bad shape and it wouldn't take much for them to notify the police and have us arrested, and by God, if that's what they do, before we get out of jail we'll be sweating up to our ears."

"Silence," said Don Quijote. "Where have you ever seen, or for that matter read of, a knight errant being summoned before a court of justice, no matter how many homicides he may have perpetrated?"

"I don't know anything about hum-asides," answered Sancho. "I've never even heard one. All I know is that the police are in charge of fighting in the fields. I leave all those other things alone."

"Then don't worry, my friend," replied Don Quijote, "for I will deliver you out of the hands of the Chaldeans, not to mention the police. But tell me, by your life: have you ever seen a braver knight, anywhere in the entire known world? Have you ever read, in all the histories, of anyone who can, or ever could, charge into battle with such vigor? such spirit and endurance? such skill as a swordsman? or more dexterity at unhorsing an opponent?"

-48-

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