Don Quixote de la Mancha

By Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra; Charles Jarvis et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 31
Of the relishing conversation which passed between Don Quixote and his squire Sancho Panza, with other incidents.

'ALL this does not displease me; go on,' said Don Quixote. 'You arrived; and what was that queen of beauty doing? Without doubt, you found her stringing pearls, or embroidering some device with threads of gold for this her captive knight.'

'No, I did not,' answered Sancho; 'but I found her winnowing two bushels of wheat in a backyard of her house.'

'Then make account,' said Don Quixote, 'that the grains of that wheat were so many grains of pearl, when touched by her hands. And did you take notice, friend, whether the wheat was fine, or the ordinary sort?'

'It was neither,' answered Sancho, 'but of the reddish kind.'

'Be assured, however,' quoth Don Quixote, 'that, when winnowed by her hands, it certainly made the finest manchet bread -- but go on. When you gave her my letter, did she kiss it? Did she put it upon her head? Did she use any ceremony worthy of such a letter? or what did she do?'

'When I was going to give it her,' answered Sancho, 'she was very busy in winnowing a good sieve full of the wheat; and she said to me: "Lay the letter, friend, upon the sack, for I cannot read it until I have done winnowing all that is here."'

'Discreet lady!' said Don Quixote; 'this was, to be sure, that she might read it, and entertain herself with it, at leisure. Proceed, Sancho: while she was thus employed, what discourse had she with you? what did she inquire of you concerning me? and what did you answer? Make an end, tell it me all; leave nothing at the bottom of the inkhorn.'

'She asked me nothing,' said Sancho; 'but I told her how your worship was doing penance, for her service, among these rocks, naked from the waist upwards, as if you were a savage, sleeping on the ground, not eating bread on a napkin, nor combing your beard, weeping and cursing your fortune.'

'In saying that I cursed my fortune, you said amiss,' quoth Don Quixote: 'I rather bless it, and shall bless it all the days of my life, for having made me worthy to love so high a lady as Dulcinea del Toboso.'

-264-

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