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

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

realize it was all your idea, this business of my being governor of an island, because I know as much about being a governor as a hawk does, and if there's any chance that being a governor will help the Devil get hold of me, I'd rather go to Heaven, being just plain Sancho, * than go to Hell as a governor."

"By all that's holy, Sancho," said Don Quijote, "with just these last words you've shown yourself worthy to be governor of a thousand islands: you're a naturally good man, and without that there isn't any knowledge worth a cent — so commend yourself to God, and try not to stray from your original plan: I mean, in whatever you do, always try as hard as you can to do right, because a good heart always has Heaven's help.

"And now let's go have our dinner, because I suspect the duke and duchess are waiting for us."


Chapter Forty-Four

— how Sancho Panza was taken to his governorship, and the strange
adventure experienced by Don Quijote in the duke and duchess' castle

It is said that, in the true original of this chapter, one can read how, when Sidi Hamid came to write this chapter (which his translator only partially rendered into Spanish), the Moor penned a kind of complaint against himself, for having undertaken such a dry and narrow history as Don Quijote's, because it seemed to Sidi Hamid that he was always having to write either about Don Quijote or about Sancho, without ever being able to spread himself more broadly, with other and more serious, not to say entertaining, diversions and incidents, and he recorded that, being obliged to constantly bend his mind, his hand, and his pen to writing on just this one subject, and to expressing himself through the mouths of so few characters, was an intolerable struggle of no great benefit to himself as an author, which was why, to extricate himself from such a difficult situation, he had in the first volume of this history used the device of quite separate and distinct stories, like The Man Who Couldn't Keep from Prying and The Moors' Prisoner, in addition to narrating those events which had happened to Don Quijote himself and so could not be omitted. It also seemed to him, he said, that there would be a lot of people so totally absorbed in Don Quijote's doings that, finding these other stories of little interest, they would simply skip over or just skim rapidly through them or, if they did read them, would do so only grudgingly, paying no attention to their considerable elegance and artistry, qualities which would be very well exhibited had they been published by themselves, rather than set next to Don Quijote's madness and Sancho's foolishness. And this, in turn, was why, in this second volume, he had decided not to introduce any separate, artful tales, but only such narratives as, to his mind, emerged out of the strictly historical facts, and to tell even these in narrow compass and at just enough length to make them clear; and thus, confining himself as he does to the narrow bounds of history, while having the talents, capabilities, and

____________________
*
The pun on Sancho and santo, "blessed, holy," underlies much of this dialogue.

-574-

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