In the previous episode, Don Antonio discovered the identity of the Knight of the White Moon, who had defeated Don Quixote on Barcelona beach and forced him to return to his village to remain at peace for a year. That turned out to be Sansón Carrasco, the young graduate from the same village. Don Quixote stayed in bed for six days, while Don Antonio went to Madrid to seek a solution for the rescued Moriscans who were staying with him. Two days later, Don Quixote and Sancho Panza left Barcelona, still lamenting their past losses. Five days later Sancho successfully adjudicated an argument between two locals in a village. The next day they met a foot messenger from the Duke and Duchess, who turned out to be the proxy who had cried off fighting Don Quixote. After Sancho Panza shared the messenger’s wine and cheese, he caught up with Don Quixote and they travelled homeward bound once more.
Don Quixote seemed sure the messenger had also been enchanted, and then spoke about Altisidora’s love for him, before returning to the subject of Sancho’s penance and how his squire needed to lash himself to disenchant the lady Dulcinea. They next came across the place where they had earlier been trampled by bulls, where they came to talk about Sansón Carrasco, unaware that it was he who had defeated the knight in his duel.
Don Quixote indulged in a fantasy about them both living an Arcadian life as shepherds, which led to a speech about country musical instruments and their names. Once again he criticised Sancho for mixing proverbs, then did it himself, as Sancho was quick to point out. They eventually turned off the road to rest for the night.
Although Sancho fell asleep quickly, Don Quixote woke up after an early doze and remained awake, troubled by his cares. Later, the knight woke Sancho up to complain that his squire wasn’t sharing his worries, and told him to give himself three or four hundred lashes to help disenchant the lady Dulcinea. Sancho was unimpressed by his suggestion, and as they were talking they heard a distant rumble which soon grew into a thundering din. Don Quixote grasped his sword and prepared to fight whatever was heading their way, while his squire hid between the armour and pack-saddle under his donkey.
The noise grew ever louder, as more than six hundred pigs were being driven towards them, on their way to market. When the animals reached the pair they, Rocinante and Sancho’s donkey were all knocked over and trampled by the huge herd. Once the pigs had gone, Don Quixote and Sancho Panza picked themselves and their mounts up again, and the knight assured his squire that the trampling had been his punishment for being vanquished in combat. Sancho Panza soon got back to sleep, while his master softly sang himself a lament as he stood against a tree, sighing and crying with every line.
In the morning they resumed their journey. Just before sunset they saw ten men with shields and lances, who rode towards them and surrounded the pair, thrusting their lances at them, and threatening their lives in absolute silence. One of the men led Rocinante off the road, others drove Sancho and his donkey behind. Every time that either of them went to speak they were forced to remain silent.
As it grew dark, the men drove Don Quixote and Sancho Panza more briskly. The pair could hear them being urged on in insulting terms, as barbarians and cannibals. After an hour or so moving briskly in the dark they reached a castle. Don Quixote quickly recognised this to be the residence of the Duke and Duchess, as he and Sancho Panza were taken into its courtyard.
That completes the sixty-eighth chapter of the second book of Don Quixote.
List of characters
English translation by John Ormsby (1885)
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, trans John Rutherford (1604, 2000) Don Quixote, Penguin, ISBN 978 0 140 44909 9.
Roberto González Echevarría (2015) Cervantes’ Don Quixote, Yale UP, ISBN 978 0 300 19864 5.
Roberto González Echevarría (ed) (2005) Cervantes’ Don Quixote, A Casebook, Oxford UP, ISBN 978 0 19 516938 6.