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

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

more accurately, my shepherdess happens to be named Anna, I can celebrate her as 'Anarda', and if she's Francisca, as 'Francenia', and if she's Lucía, as 'Luscinda', because everything works wonderfully that way, and Sancho Panza, if he's going to join our little club, can celebrate his wife as 'Teresaina'."

Don Quijote laughed at this fooling about with names, and the priest praised to the skies his just and honorable decision, promising once again to keep our knight company, for whatever time a busy cleric could spare from his own rigorous obligations. At which point they said their goodbyes, advising him not to neglect his health and to take good care of himself.

Now Fate had arranged it so that Don Quijote's niece and his housekeeper heard every word the three of them had said, so as soon as the visitors were gone they both went into our knight's room, and his niece said to him:

"What's going on, uncle? Just when we think your grace means to stay in your own home, and lead a quiet, honorable life, are you planning to get yourself into more trouble, playing at:

Little shepherd, little shepherd, are you coming?
Little shepherd, little shepherd, have you gone? *

But, Lord! Those reeds are too old to make into shepherds' pipes!"

And the housekeeper added:

"And do you think your grace could stand the hottest parts of summer, or the cold winter nights, out in the open fields, with all the wolves howling? Not a bit of it, because this is work for strong men, tough and raised for the job almost since they were in swaddling clothes. My God, when you weigh one evil against the other, you'd be better off as a knight errant than a shepherd! So look, my lord: take my advice, because I'm not giving it to you after a lifetime of stuffing myself on bread and wine, but after lots of fasting, and with a full fifty years behind me: stay home, take care of your property, keep going to confession, be kind to the poor, and let it be on my soul if anything bad comes of it."

"Be still, my daughters," Don Quijote answered them, "I know perfectly well what I'm supposed to do. Take me to my bed, because I don't feel at all well, and just remember: whether I'm a knight errant, as now, or a shepherd, later on, I'll never stop doing for you whatever needs to be done, as you will see in the event."

And his good daughters as they most assuredly were, his housekeeper and his niece took him off to bed, where they gave him something to eat and made him as comfortable as they could.


Chapter Seventy-Four

how Don Quijote fell sick, and the will he made, and his death

Since human things and most especially human lives are never eternal, falling forever away from their starting points, down to their final end, and since Don Quijote did not have Heaven's permission to hold back

____________________
*
Verses from a Chistmas carol.

-728-

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