Don Quixote de la Mancha

By Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra; E. C. Riley et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 11
Of what befell Don Quixote with certain goatherds.

HE was kindly received by the goatherds; and Sancho, having accommodated Rosinante and his ass the best he could, followed the scent of certain pieces of goat's flesh, that were boiling in a kettle on the fire; and though he would willingly, at that instant, have tried whether they were fit to be translated from the kettle to the stomach, he forbore doing it; for the goatherds themselves took them off the fire, and, spreading some sheep-skins on the ground, very speedily served up their rural mess, and invited them both, with show of much goodwill, to take share of what they had. Six of them, that belonged to the fold, sat down round about the skins, having first with rustic compliments, desired Don Quixote that he would seat himself upon a trough, with the bottom upwards, placed on purpose for him. Don Quixote sat down, and Sancho remained standing to serve the cup, which was made of horn. His master, seeing him standing, said to him:

'That you may see, Sancho, the intrinsic worth of knight-errantry, and how fair a prospect its meanest retainers have of speedily gaining the respect and esteem of the world, I will, that you sit here by my side, and in company with these good folks, and that you be one and the same thing with me, who am your master and natural lord; that you eat from off my plate, and drink of the same cup in which I drink: for the same may be said of knight-errantry which is said of love, that it makes all things equal.'

'I give you a great many thanks, Sir,' said Sancho; 'but let me tell your worship, that, provided I have victuals enough, I can eat as well, or better standing, and alone by myself, than if I were seated close by an emperor. And further, to tell you the truth, what I eat in my corner, without compliments or ceremonies, though it were nothing but bread and an onion, relishes better than turkeys at other folks' tables, where I am forced to chew leisurely, drink little, wipe my mouth often, neither sneeze nor cough when I have a mind, nor do other things, which follow the being alone and at liberty. So that, good Sir, as to these honours your worship is pleased to confer upon me, as a menial servant, and hanger-on of knight-errantry (being squire to your worship) be pleased to convert them into something of

-76-

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