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

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

some wine from a barrel, once, and asked them what condition they thought it was in, whether it was any good, or whether it had gone bad. One of them just touched it with the tip of his tongue; the other only waved it under his nostrils. The first one said there was an iron flavor; the second said he thought it was more like leather. The owner said it was an absolutely clean barrel, and nothing had been put in the wine that could make it taste either like iron or like leather. In spite of which, the two famous winetasters insisted they were right. So after a while the wine was sold, and when they cleaned out the barrel they found a little key, hanging by a little leather strap. You can pretty well see, sir, whether someone who comes from people like that is entitled to say what he thinks about wines."

"Which is why I say," said the Knight of the Wood's squire, "we should stop hunting for adventures: when we've got good country loaves, why go looking for cake? Just go home to our huts: God will find us there, if He wants us."

"I'm going to stay with my master until he gets to Zaragosa, and after that — we'll see what we'll see."

In the end, after a good deal of talking and a good deal of drinking, the two good squires found it necessary to tie up their tongues and put a hold on their thirst, because there was no way they could satisfy it, so they both fell asleep, each of them clutching the almost empty wineskin, and we will now leave them there, and tell what happened between the Knight of the Wood and the Knight of the Sad Face.


Chapter Fourteen

— continuing the adventure of the Knight of the Wood

Among the many things discussed by Don Quijote and the Knight of the Wood, our history records that the Knight of the Wood said:

"In short, sir knight, please understand that it was my destiny — or, to put it more precisely, it was my own choice — to fall in love with my matchless Casildea of Vandalia. I call her matchless because in fact there is none to match her, there being no lady as big as she is, nor any of such exalted standing or such beauty. Now in return for all my yearning, and my gallant thoughts, this Casildea of whom I speak made me take on all sorts of dangerous tasks, just the way his stepmother * did with Hercules, always promising me that, when I'd completed each one, I only had to finish one more to achieve that end toward which all my hopes have been directed, but the chain of my labors has gone on growing, link after link, until by now my tasks have mounted up past all counting and I have no way of knowing which will be the last, which will bring me to the beginning of desire's fulfillment. Once she ordered me to challenge that famous female giant, Giralda of Seville, who is as fierce and strong as if she'd been made of bronze and who, without ever moving from the spot, manages to be the most changeable, fickle woman in the world. I came, I saw, and I con

____________________
*
Juno.
A huge brass statue mounted on a globe and serving as weathercock for the Cathedral of Seville.

-415-

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