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

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

village, they saw a canopy of millions of gleaming stars. They also heard a jumble of sweet-toned sounds coming from all sorts of different instruments — flutes, drums, hand-held harps, shepherds' pipes, great tambourines, and timbrels — and as they arrived they saw that the pillars of an arbor, constructed at the entrance to the village, were full of steady‐ burning lights, untroubled by the wind, which just then was blowing so gently that it could not so much as stir the leaves in the trees. What they had heard were the wedding celebrants, divided into bands that wandered up and down that pleasant spot, some dancing, some singing, and others playing all the different instruments just mentioned. Indeed, peace and happiness seemed to be leaping and frolicking all over the meadow.

There were a good many people putting up scaffolding, from which, the next day, they would be better able to watch all the dancing and the performances scheduled to take place, in honor of the rich Camacho's wedding and poor Basilio's funeral. Don Quijote would not enter the village, though both the peasants and the university students begged him to, but excused himself (more than sufficiently, to his way of thinking) by explaining that knights errant customarily slept in the fields and forests, rather than in populated places and under gilded roofs. So he rode a little way off the road (much against Sancho's better judgment, who could not help remembering how well he'd been accommodated in Don Diego's luxurious house, which might well be called a castle).


Chapter Twenty

— the story of Camacho the Rich's wedding, and what
happened to poor Basilio

The fair white Dawn had barely given gleaming Phoebus the time, with his burning rays, to dry away the liquid pearls in her golden hair, when Don Quijote, shaking the sleepiness out of his limbs, jumped up and called to his squire Sancho, who still lay there, snoring; seeing which, our knight declared, before waking him:

"Oh you, blessed above all those living on the face of the earth, for you live both unenvied and without envy, and you sleep with your spirit at ease, with no sorcerers chasing after you, and no enchantments to leap up at your face! Sleep on, I say, and I will say a hundred times more, with no unceasing, devoted vigils over your lady, your rest undisturbed by thoughts of how you will ever pay the debts you owe, not wondering how, tomorrow, you'll be able to feed yourself and your tiny, anxious family. No ambitions trouble you, nor are you wearied by the world's vain shows, for your worries run no farther afield than caring for your donkey: you have laid your burdens on my shoulders, where such responsibilities are naturally and customarily placed. The servant sleeps, and the master lies awake, thinking how to carry the loads he has assumed, and even improve his servant's life, and find the means to reward him. The servant feels no anxiety when the sky turns to bronze and the earth receives none of the

-451-

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