Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

The History of Don Quixote - The Second Part

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The History of the
Valorous & Witty Knight-Errant Don Quixote of the Mancha

By Miguel de Cervantes, Translated by Thomas Shelton

The Second Part

CHAPTER XXIX: Of the Famous Adventure of the Enchanted Bark


DON QUIXOTE and Sancho, by their computation, two days after they were out of the elm-grove, came to the river Heber, whose sight was very delightsome to Don Quixote; for first he contemplated on the amenity of those banks, the clearness of the water, the gentle current and the abundancy of the liquid crystal, whose pleasing sight brought a thousand amorous thoughts into his head: especially he fell to think what he had seen in Montesinos’ Cave; for, though Master Peter’s ape had told him that part of it was true and part false, he leaned more to the truth than to the other, contrary to Sancho, who held all as false as falsehood itself.

As they were thus going on, Don Quixote might see a little boat without oars or any other kind of tackling, which was tied by the brink of the river to a tree’s stump on the bank. Don Quixote looked round about him, but could see nobody; so, without more ado, he alighted from Rozinante, and commanded Sancho to do the like from Dapple, and that he should tie both the beasts very well to the’ root of an elm or willow there. Sancho demanded of him the cause of that sudden lighting and of that tying. Don Quixote made answer, ‘Know, Sancho, that this boat thou seest directly, for it can be nothing else, calls and invites me to go and enter into it, to give aid to some knight, or other personage of rank and note, that is in distress; for this is the style of books of knighthood and of enchanters that are there intermingled, that when any knight is in some danger that he cannot be freed from it but by the hand of some other knight, although the one be distant from the other two or three thousand leagues or more, they either snatch him into a cloud, or provide him a boat to enter in, and, in the twinkling of an eye, either carry him through the air, or through the sea, as they list, and where his assistance is needful. So that, Sancho, this boat is put here to the same effect; and this is as clear as day. And, before we go, tie Dapple and Rozinante together, and let’s on in God’s name, for I will not fail to embark myself, though barefoot friars should entreat me.’ ‘Well, seeing ‘tis so,’ said Sancho, ‘and that you will every foot run into these — I know not what I shall call them —  fopperies, there’s no way but to obey and lay down the neck; according to the proverb, “Do as thy master commands thee, and sit down at table with him.” But, for all that, for discharge of my conscience, let me tell you that methinks that is no enchanted boat, but one that belongs to some fishermen of the river, for here the best sabogas in the world are taken.’

This he spoke whilst he was tying his beasts, leaving them to the protection and defence of enchanters, which grieved him to the soul. Don Quixote bade him he should not be troubled for the leaving those beasts; for he that should carry them through such longinque ways and regions would also look to the other. ‘I understand not your lognick,’ quoth Sancho, ‘neither have I heard such a word in all the days of my life.’ ‘Longinque,’ said Don Quixote, ‘that is, far, remote. And no marvel thou understandest not that word, for thou art not bound to the understanding of Latin, though ye have some that presume to know when they are ignorant.’ ‘Now they are bound,’ said Sancho, ‘what shall we do next?’ ‘What?’ said Don Quixote; ‘bless ourselves and weigh anchor; I mean let us embark ourselves, and cut the rope by which this boat is tied.’

So leaping into it, and Sancho following him, he cut the cord, and the boat fair and softly fell off from the bank; and when Sancho saw himself about a two rods’ length within the river he began to tremble, fearing his perdition; but nothing so much troubled him as to hear Dapple bray, and to see that Rozinante struggled to unloose himself; and he told his master, ‘Dapple brays and condoles for our absence, Rozinante strives to be at liberty to throw himself after us. O most dear friends, remain you there in safety, and may the madness that severs us from you, converted into repentance, bring us back to your presence.

And with that he began to weep so bitterly that Don Quixote, all moody and choleric, began to cry out, ‘What makes thee fear, thou cowardly imp? What criest thou for, thou heart of curds? Who persecutes thee? Who baits thee, thou soul of a milksop? Or what wantest thou in the midst of all abundance? Art thou happily to go barefoot over the Riphaean Mountains? Rather upon a seat like an archduke, through the calm current of this delightful river, from whence we shall very quickly pass into the main sea; but hitherto we have gone and sailed some seven or eight hundred leagues, and if I had an astrolabe here, to take the height of the pole, I could tell thee how far we have gone, though either my knowledge is small, or we have now, or shall quickly pass the equinoctial line, which divides and cuts the two contraposed poles in equal distance.’ ‘And when you come to this line you speak of, how far shall we have gone?’ ‘A great way,’ answered Don Quixote; ‘for of three hundred and sixty degrees, which the whole globe containeth of land and water, according to Ptolemy’s computation, who was the greatest cosmographer known, we shall have gone the half, when we come to the line I have told you of.’ ‘Verily,’ quoth Sancho, ‘you have brought me a pretty witness to confirm your saying, To-ly-my and Comtation,1 and I know not what.’

Don Quixote laughed at Sancho’s interpretation he had given to the name, and to the computation and account of the cosmographer Ptolemeus, and said to him, ‘You shall understand, Sancho, that when the Spaniards, and those that embark themselves at Cadiz to go to the East Indies, one of the greatest signs they have to know whether they have passed the equinoctial is that all men that are in the ship, their lice die upon them, and not one remains with them nor in the vessel, though they would give their weight in gold for him; so that, Sancho, thou mayst put thy hand to thy thigh, and if thou meet with any live thing we shall be out of doubt; if thou findest nothing, then we have passed the line.’ ‘I cannot believe any of this,’ quoth Sancho, ‘but yet I will do what you will have me, though I know no necessity for these trials, since I see with these eyes that we have not gone five rods’ lengths from the bank; for there Rozinante and Dapple are, in the same places where we left them; and looking well upon the matter, as I now do, I swear by me that we neither move nor go faster than an ant.’ ‘Make the trial that I bade you, and care for no other; for thou knowest not what columns are, what lines, parallels, zodiacs, clip-tics, poles, soltices, equinoctials, planets, signs, points and measures, of which the celestial and terrestrial spheres are composed; for, if thou knewest all these, or any part of them, thou mightest plainly see what parallels we have cut, what signs we have seen, and what images we have left behind and are leaving now. And let me wish thee again that thou search and feel thyself, for I do not think but that thou art as clean as a sheet of white smooth paper.

Sancho began to feel, and, coming softly and warily with his hand to the left side of his neck, he lifted up his head and said to his master, ‘Either your experience is false, or else we are not come near the place you speak of, by many leagues.’ ‘Why,’ quoth Don Quixote, ‘hast thou met with something?’ ‘Ay, with some things,’ said he; and, shaking his fingers, he washed his whole hand in the river, by which, and in the current, the boat softly slid along, without being moved by any secret influence or hidden enchantment, but the very course itself of the water, as yet soft and easy.

By this they discovered two great water-mills in the midst of the river: and Don Quixote, as soon as he saw them, cried aloud to Sancho, ‘Seest thou, friend, that city, castle, or fortress, that shows itself, where some knight is sure oppressed, or some queen or princess in ill plight, for whose succour I am brought hither?’ ‘What the devil of city, castle, or fortress, sir, do you talk of?’ quoth Sancho. ‘Do you not see that those are water-mills in the river to grind corn?’ ‘Peace, Sancho,’ said he; ‘for, though they look like water-mills, yet they are not, and I have told thee already that these enchantments chop and change things out of their natural being. I say not that they change them out of one being into another really, but in appearance, as was seen by experience in the transformation of Dulcinea, the only refuge of my hopes.’

Now the boat, being gotten into the midst of the current, began to move somewhat faster than before. They of the mills, that saw the boat come down the river, and that it was now even gotten into the swift stream of the wheels, many of them came running out with long poles to stay it; and, as their faces and clothes were all covered with meal-dust, they made a strange show, and cried out, saying, ‘Devils of men, whither go you? Are you mad to drown yourselves, or be beaten to pieces against these wheels?‘ ‘Did not I tell thee, Sancho,’ said Don Quixote then, ‘that we should come where I should show the force of mine arm? Look what wicked uncouth fellows come to encounter me; look what a troop of hobgoblins oppose themselves against me; look what ugly visages play the bull-beggars with us. Now you shall see, you rascals.’ And, standing up in the boat, he began aloud to threaten the millers, saying, ‘You base scum and ill-advised, free and deliver that person which is in your fortress or prison oppressed, be he high or low, or of what sort or quality soever; for I am Don Quixote de la Mancha, otherwise called the Knight of the Lions, for whom the happy ending of this adventure is reserved by order of the high heavens.’ And this said, he laid hand to his sword, and began to fence in the air against the millers, who, hearing but not understanding those madnesses, stood with their poles to stay the boat, which was now entering the source and channel of the wheels. Sancho kneeled devoutly upon his knees, praying Heaven to free him from so manifest a danger, which succeeded happily, by the quickness and skill of the millers, who, opposing their staves to the boat, stayed it, but so that they overturned it, and Don Quixote and Sancho toppled into the river; but it was well for Don Quixote, who could swim like a goose, though the weight of his arms carried him twice to the bottom, and, had it not been for the millers, who leaped into the water and pulled them out both, as if they had weighed them up, there they had both perished.

When they were both on land, more wet than thirsty, Sancho, upon his knees, with joined hands and his eyes nailed to heaven, prayed to God, with a large and devout prayer, to free him from thenceforward, from the rash desires and enterprises of his master. And now the fishermen came, the owners of the boat, which was broken to pieces by the wheels, who, seeing it spoiled, began to disrobe Sancho, and to demand payment of Don Quixote, who very patiently, as if he had done nothing, said to the millers and fishermen that he would very willingly pay for the boat, upon condition they should freely deliver him, without fraud or guile, the person or persons that were oppressed in their castle. ‘What person, or what castle, madman?’ said one of the millers. ‘Will you, trow, carry away those that came hither to grind their corn?’ ‘Enough,’ thought Don Quixote to himself; ‘here a man may preach in a wilderness, to reduce a base people to a good work. In this adventure two deep enchanters have met, and the one disturbs the other: the one provided me the bark, and the other overthrew me out of it. God help us, all this world is tricks and devices, one contrary to the other; I can do no more.’ And, raising his voice, he went on, saying, ‘Friends, whosoever you are, locked up in this prison, pardon me; for, by my ill fortune and yours, I cannot deliver you from your pain; this adventure is kept and reserved for some other knight.’ When he had said this, he agreed with the fishers, and paid twenty-five shillings for the boat which Sancho gave with [no] very good will saying, ‘With two of these boat-tricks we shall sink our whole stock.’

The fishermen and the millers were in a great admiration, to see two such strange shapes, quite from the ordinary fashion of other men, and never understood to what purpose Don Quixote used all those discourses to them; so, holding them for madmen, they left them and got to their mills, and the fishers to their quarters. Don Quixote and Sancho, like beasts, turned to their beasts. And this end had the adventure of the enchanted bark.

1 Mistakes of the words, Ptolemeo and Computo, for so it is in the Spanish.

Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

The History of Don Quixote - The Second Part

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