Don Quixote de la Mancha

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

CHAPTER 42
Of the instructions Don Quixote gave Sancho Panza, before he went to govern the island, with other matters well considered.

THE duke and duchess were so satisfied with the happy and glorious success of the adventure of the Afflicted [One], that they resolved to carry the jest still further, seeing how fit a subject they had to pass it on for earnest: and so, having projected the scheme and given the necessary orders to their servants and vassals, how they were to behave to Sancho in his government of the promised island, the day following Clavileño's flight, the duke bade Sancho prepare, and get himself in readiness to go to be a governor; for his islanders already wished for him, as for rain in May. Sancho made his bow, and said:

'Ever since my descent from heaven, and since from its lofty summit I beheld the earth, and observed it to be so small, the great desire I had of being a governor is in part cooled: for what grandeur is it to command on a grain of mustard-seed, or what dignity or dominion is there in governing half a dozen men no bigger than hazel-nuts, for methought the whole earth was nothing more? If your lordship would be pleased to give me some small portion of heaven, though it were no more than half a league, I would accept it with a better will than the biggest island in the world.'

'Look you, friend Sancho,' answered the duke, 'I can give away no part of heaven, though no bigger than one's nail; for God has reserved the disposal of those favours and graces in His power. But what I can give you, I give you; and that is an island ready made, round and sound, and well proportioned, and above measure fruitful and abundant, where, if you manage dexterously, you may, with the riches of the earth, purchase the treasures of heaven.'

'Well then,' answered Sancho, 'let this island come; for it shall go hard but I will be such a governor that, in spite of rogues, I shall go to heaven: and think not it is out of covetousness, that I forsake my humble cottage, and aspire to greater things, but for the desire I have to taste how it relishes to be a governor.'

'If once you taste it, Sancho,' quoth the duke, 'you will eat your fingers after it, so very sweet a thing is it to command, and be obeyed. Sure I am, when your master comes to be an emperor (for doubtless he will be one, in the way his affairs are) no one will be able

-735-

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