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

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

the injury done to your donkey, it's entirely up to you, though I can remain here and assist you with cries of encouragement and with advice."

"I don't need to take revenge on anyone, my lord," replied Sancho, "because good Christians don't need vengeance for the wrongs done them, especially since we've agreed, me and my donkey, that any insult done him is for me to decide about, and as far as I'm concerned all that matters is living peacefully for as long as Heaven lets me."

"If that's your decision," answered Don Quijote, "my good Sancho, my wise Sancho, my Christian Sancho, my honest Sancho, let's turn our backs on these actors and go in search of better, more suitable adventures, because from what I've seen around here, there won't be any shortage of them — and marvelous ones, to boot."

He swung his steed around, Sancho went and got his donkey, Death and his whole squadron climbed into their cart and went on their way, and the adventure with Death's cart thus came to a happy ending, thanks to the sensible advice Sancho Panza gave his master — who proceeded, the very next day, to experience yet another adventure, with an impassioned knight errant, which was no less dramatic than the one just completed.


Chapter Twelve

— the strange adventure experienced by our valiant Den Quijote with
the brave Looking Glass Knight

The day after the encounter with Death had turned into night, and Don Quijote and his squire were sitting under a group of tall, dark trees, Sancho having persuaded his master to dine off some of the supplies carried by the donkey, and as they ate Sancho said to his lord:

"Señor, what an idiot I'd have been, to take the spoils of your grace's first adventure as my reward, instead of the three foals! It's true, you know, that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush."

"All the same," replied Don Quijote, "if you'd let me attack them, Sancho, as I wanted to, you'd have had as your spoils, at the very least, the Emperor's gold crown and Cupid's painted wings, because I'd have wrenched them off and placed them in your hands."

"Emperors' crowns and sceptres, when the emperors are actors," replied Sancho Panza, "are never made of real gold, but only tin and tinsel."

"Which is true," responded Don Quijote, "because it would be improper for the stage props to be real, rather than make-believe and mere semblances of reality, as the plays themselves are — and I should like you, Sancho, to feel well disposed to the drama, just as I should like you to be toward those who stage and act in plays, as well as those who write them, because they are all united in contributing highly useful things to our country, constantly holding a mirror in front of us, wherein we may see vivid images of our human existence, for nothing so clearly presents us to ourselves the way we really are as do plays and players. And if you don't agree, then tell me: haven't you seen plays showing us kings, emperors, and popes, knights, ladies, and all sorts of other people? One actor plays the villain, another a

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