Of the famous adventure of the enchanted bark.
IN two days, after leaving the poplar-grove, Don Quixote and Sancho, travelling as softly as foot could fall, came to the river Ebro, the sight of which gave Don Quixote great pleasure, while he saw and contemplated the verdure of its banks, the clearness of its waters, the smoothness of its current, and the abundance of its liquid crystal: which cheerful prospect brought to his remembrance a thousand amorous thoughts; and particularly he mused upon what he had seen in the cave of Montesinos: for though Master Peter's ape had told him, that part of those things was true, and part false, he inclined rather to believe all true than false, quite the reverse of Sancho, who held them all for falsehood itself.
Now, as they sauntered along in this manner, they perceived a small bark, without oars, or any sort of tackle, tied to the trunk of a tree, which grew on the brink of the river. Don Quixote looked round about him everyway, and, seeing nobody at all, without more ado alighted from Rosinante, and ordered Sancho to do the like from Dapple, and to tie both the beasts very fast to the body of a poplar or willow, which grew there. Sancho asked the reason of this hasty alighting and tying. Don Quixote answered:
'You are to know, Sancho, that this vessel lies here for no other reason in the world but to invite me to embark in it, in order to succour some knight, or other person of high degree, who is in extreme distress; for such is the practice of enchanters in the books of chivalry, when some knight happens to be engaged in some difficulty, from which he cannot be delivered, but by the hand of another knight. Then, though they are distant from each other two or three thousand leagues, and even more, they either snatch him up in a cloud, or furnish him with a boat to embark in; and in less than the twinkling of an eye they carry him, through the air, or over the sea, whither they list, and where his assistance is wanted. So that, O Sancho, this bark must be placed here for the selfsame purpose: and this is as true, as that it is now day; and, before it be spent, tie Dapple and Rosinante together, and the hand of God be our guide; for I would not fail to embark, though barefooted friars themselves should entreat me to the contrary.'