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

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

known friend. And the madman, who might be called The Knight of the Ragged Scarecrow — as Don Quijote was The Knight of the Sad Face — first allowed himself to be embraced, then drew back a little and, putting his hands on Don Quijote's shoulders, stood staring at him, as if trying to see if he knew who he was, perhaps just as startled to see someone who looked and was dressed like Don Quijote as Don Quijote had been to see him. And, at last, the first to break the silence, after their long embrace, was The Ragged Scarecrow, and you will see in a moment what he said.


Chapter Twenty-Four

— continuation of the adventure in the Sierra Morena mountains

Our historian tells us that Don Quijote listened to the ragged knight of the mountains with the closest attention, and what the madman said was:

"Certainly, my good sir, whoever you may be, though I do not know you, you have amply demonstrated your courtesy and I am deeply grateful for your having extended it to me. I could only wish I found myself better situated to return your compliments with something more than mere good‐ will, but Fate allows me no other way to repay such kindnesses, except the warm desire to do so."

"What I wish," replied Don Quijote, "is to serve you — so much so that I made up my mind not to leave these mountains until I found you and learned from your own lips if there might be some cure for the sadness and pain that your strange life here seems to demonstrate, and had it been necessary to hunt for you, I would have hunted with infinite care. And if your affliction should be one of those impossible to remedy, it would be my concern to comfort you, as best I could, while you wept and lamented over it, for grief is easier to endure when it is shared. Now if in fact these good intentions deserve any kind of courteous acknowledgment, let me beg you, my good sir, in the name of all the noble feelings of which I plainly see you are capable, as I also implore you, in the name of whatever it may be that you most love, or have loved, in your life, that you tell me who or what it may be that has caused you to live and perhaps to die like a mere animal, here in this wilderness, for both your attire and you yourself show you to be foreign to such a setting.

"And I swear, señor," added Don Quijote, "by the order of knighthood to which I hold fealty, sinner and unworthy as I am, and also by my adherence to the profession of knight errantry, that if you grant me this request I will serve you as faithfully as these oaths bind me to do, either in remedying your misfortune, if remedy there be, or in helping you to lament over it, as I have already promised."

The Knight of the Woods and Forests, having heard these words from the Knight of the Sad Face, simply stared at him, and stood staring, as if measuring him from head to foot, and when at last he was done, he said:

"If you've got any food to give me, for the love of God give it to me, and then, after I've eaten, I'll do exactly as you ask, in gratitude for the warm good will you have shown me."

-135-

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