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

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

Chapter Fifteen

wherein is narrated the unfortunate adventure Don Quijote ran into
when he fell in with some heartless Yangüeses

The wise Sidi Hamid Benengeli tells us that, as soon as Don Quijote took leave of his hosts, and of all those he'd encountered at the shepherd Grisóstomo's funeral, he and his squire went into the same wood where, as they'd seen, the shepherdess Marcela had gone. After proceeding for more than two hours, searching everywhere but unable to find her, they stopped at a meadow full of fresh grass, through which ran a gentle, fresh stream, so very pleasant that it quickly convinced them to stay in that place all through the afternoon siesta, for the day was growing exceedingly hot.

Don Quijote and Sancho dismounted and left the donkey and Rocinante free to graze on the thick green grass. They turned the saddlebags inside out and, without any sort of ceremony, sat down together, master and servant, peaceful and companionable, to eat whatever they'd been able to find.

Sancho hadn't bothered to hobble Rocinante, confident that the horse was so tame, and so little inclined to prancing about, that all the mares in all the pastures of Córdoba couldn't make him do anything troublesome. But it was their luck, and the devil's doing for Satan isn't always asleep that a herd of Galician ponies, who belonged to some muledrivers from Yanguas, came grazing along that valley. It was the muledrivers' custom to take their siesta, along with their animals, in places where there was good grass and plenty of water, and the spot Don Quijote had found was exactly suited to their purpose.

So then it happened that Rocinante decided to have some fun with the lady ponies. As soon as he sniffed them, he abandoned his usual staid ways and, never asking his master for permission, broke into a frisky little trot and began to let them know what he wanted. But since they were more interested in eating than in other matters, or so it seemed, they gave him such a welcome with their hooves and their teeth that, pretty soon, his saddle girths were broken and he was left wearing neither a saddle nor anything else. But what he felt even worse about was that the muledrivers, seeing him trying to rape their mares, came running over with cudgels, and beat him so badly that they stretched him out, bleeding, on the ground.

By now Don Quijote and Sancho, who'd seen Rocinante being thrashed, came running up, panting, and Don Quijote said to his squire:

"As far as I can see, Sancho, these aren't knights but vulgar people of a

-74-

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