Don Quixote de la Mancha

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

CHAPTER 59
Wherein is related an extraordinary accident, which befell Don Quixote, and which may pass for an adventure.

THE dust and weariness Don Quixote and Sancho underwent through the rude encounter of the bulls, were relieved by a clear and limpid fountain they met with in a cool grove; on the brink whereof, leaving Dapple and Rosinante free, without halter or bridle, the waybeaten couple, master and man, sat them down. Sancho had recourse to the cupboard of his wallet, and drew out what he was wont to call his grub.* He rinsed his mouth, and Don Quixote washed his face; with which refreshment they recovered their fainting spirits. Don Quixote would eat nothing, out of pure chagrin, nor durst Sancho touch the victuals, out of pure good manners, expecting his master should first be his taster. But seeing him so carried away by his imaginations, as to forget to put a bit in his mouth, he said nothing, but breaking through all kind of ceremony, began to stuff his hungry maw with the bread and cheese before him.

'Eat, friend Sancho,' said Don Quixote, 'and support life, which is of more importance to you than to me, and leave me to die by the hands of my reflections, and by the force of my misfortunes. I, Sancho, was born to live dying, and you to die eating; and, to show you that I speak the truth, consider me printed in histories, renowned in arms, courteous in my actions, respected by princes, courted by damsels; and, after all, when I expected palms, triumphs, and crowns, earned and merited by my valorous exploits, this morning have I seen myself trod upon, kicked, and bruised under the feet of filthy and impure beasts. This reflection sets my teeth on edge, stupefies my grinders, benumbs my hands, and quite takes away my appetite; so that I intend to suffer myself to die with hunger, the cruellest of all deaths.'

'At this rate,' quoth Sancho (chewing all the while apace), 'your worship will not approve of the proverb, which says: "Let Martha die, but die with her belly full." At least, I do not intend to kill myself, but rather to imitate the shoemaker, who pulls the leather with his teeth, till he stretches it to what he would have it. I will stretch my life by eating, till it reaches the end heaven has allotted it; and let me tell you, sir, there is no greater madness, than to despair as

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