THE KNIGHTING OF DON QUIXOTE
Retold by Judge Parry
When he had finished his sorry supper, he took his host with him to
the stable, and shutting the door threw himself down upon his knees
before him, saying: "I will never rise from this place where I am. sir
constable, until your courtesy shall grant unto me a boon that I mean
to demand of you, something which will add to your renown and to the
profit of all the human race."
The innkeeper, seeing his guest at his feet, and hearing him speak
these words, stood confounded at the sight, not knowing what he would
say or do next, and tried to make him arise. But all was in vain until
he had promised him that he would grant him any gift that he sought at
"Signor," said Don Quixote, rising from his knees, "I did never expect
less from your great magnificence, and now I will tell you that the
boon which I demanded of you, and which you have so generously
granted, is that to-morrow in the morning you will dub me knight. This
night I will watch mine armour in the chapel of your castle, and in
the morning, as I have said, the rest of my desires shall be
fulfilled, that I may set out in a proper manner throughout the four
parts of the world to seek adventures to the benefit of the poor and:
needy, as is the duty of knighthood and of knights-errant."
The innkeeper, who was a bit of a jester, and had before thought that
the wits of his guest were none of the best, was sure that his
suspicions were true when he heard him speak in this manner. And in
order to enjoy a joke at his expense, he resolved to fall in with his
humour, and told him that there was great reason in what he desired,
which was only natural and proper in a knight of such worth as he
seemed to be. He added further that there was no chapel in his castle
where he might watch his arms, for he had broken it down to build it
up anew. But, nevertheless, he knew well that in a case of necessity
they might be watched in any other place, and therefore he might watch
them that night in the lower court of the castle, where in the morning
he, the innkeeper, would perform all the proper ceremonies, so that he
should be made not only a dubbed knight, but such a one as should not
have an equal in the whole universe.
The innkeeper now gave orders that Don Quixote should watch his armour
in a great yard near one side of the inn, so he gathered together all
his arms, laid them on a cistern near a well, and buckling on his
target he laid hold of his lance and walked up and down before the
cistern very demurely, until night came down upon the scene.
In the meantime the roguish innkeeper told all the rest that lodged in
the inn of the folly of his guest, the watching of his arms, and the
knighthood which he expected to receive. They all wondered very much
at so strange a kind of folly, and going out to behold him from a
distance, they saw that sometimes he marched to and fro with a quiet
gesture, other times leaning upon his lance he looked upon his armour
for a good space of time without beholding any other thing save his
Although it was now night, yet was the moon so clear that everything
which the knight did was easily seen by all beholders. And now one of
the carriers that lodged in the inn resolved to give his mules some
water, and for that purpose it was necessary to move Don Quixote's
armour that lay on the cistern.
Seeing the carrier approach, Don Quixote called to him in a loud
voice: "O thou, whosoever thou art, bold knight, who dares to touch
the armour of the bravest adventurer that ever girded sword, look well
what thou doest, and touch them not if thou meanest not to leave thy
life in payment for thy meddling!"
The carrier took no notice of these words, though it were better for
him if he had, but laying hold of the armour threw it piece by piece
into the middle of the yard.
When Don Quixote saw this, he lifted up his eyes towards heaven, and
addressing his thoughts, as it seemed, to his Lady Dulcinea, he said:
"Assist me, dear lady, in this insult offered to thy vassal, and let
not thy favour and protection fail me in this my first adventure!"
Uttering these and other such words, he let slip his target or shield,
and lifting up his lance with both hands he gave the carrier so round
a knock on his head that it threw him to the ground, and if he had
caught him a second he would not have needed any surgeon to cure
him. This done, he gathered up his armour again, and laying the pieces
where they had been before, he began walking up and down near them
with as much quietness as he did at first.
Soon afterwards another carrier, without knowing what had happened
(for his companion still lay on the ground), came also to give his
mules water, and started to take away the armour to get at the
cistern, Don Quixote let slip again his target, and lifting his lance
brought it down on the carrier's head, which he broke in several
All the people in the inn, and amongst them the innkeeper, came
running out when they heard the noise, and Don Quixote seeing them
seized his target, and, drawing his sword, cried aloud: "O lady of all
beauty, now, if ever, is the time for thee to turn the eyes of thy
greatness on thy captive knight who is on the eve of so marvellous
great an adventure."
Saying this seemed to fill him with so great a courage, that if he had
been assaulted by all the carriers in the universe he would not have
retreated one step.
The companions of the wounded men, seeing their fellows in so evil a
plight, began to rain stones on Don Quixote from a distance, who
defended himself as well as he might with his target, and durst not
leave the cistern lest he should appear to abandon his arms.
The innkeeper cried to them to let him alone, for he had already told
them that he was mad. But Don Quixote cried out louder than the
innkeeper, calling them all disloyal men and traitors, and that the
lord of the castle was a treacherous and bad knight to allow them to
use a knight-errant so basely; and if he had only received the order
of knighthood he would have punished him soundly for his treason. Then
calling to the carriers he said: "As for you, base and rascally
ruffians, you are beneath my notice. Throw at me, approach, draw near
and do me all the hurt you may, for you shall ere long receive the
reward of your insolence."
These words, which he spoke with great spirit and boldness, struck a
terrible fear into all those who assaulted him, and, partly moved by
his threats and partly persuaded by the innkeeper, they left off
throwing stones at him, and he allowed them to carry away the wounded
men, while he returned to his watch with great quietness and gravity.
The innkeeper did not very much like Don Quixote's pranks, and
therefore determined to shorten the ceremony and give him the order of
knighthood at once before any one else was injured. Approaching him,
therefore, he made apologies for the insolence of the base fellows who
had thrown stones at him, and explained that it was not with his
consent, and that he thought them well punished for their
impudence. He added that it was not necessary for Don Quixote to watch
his armour any more, because the chief point of being knighted was to
receive the stroke of the sword on the neck and shoulder, and that
ceremony he was ready to perform at once.
All this Don Quixote readily believed, and answered that he was most
eager to obey him, and requested him to finish everything as speedily
as possible. For, he said, as soon as he was knighted, if he was
assaulted again, he intended not to leave one person alive in all the
castle, except those which the constable should command, whom he would
spare for his sake.
The innkeeper, alarmed at what he said, and fearing lest he should
carry out his threat, set about the ceremony without delay. He brought
out his day-book, in which he wrote down the accounts of the hay and
straw which he sold to carriers who came to the inn, and attended by a
small boy holding the end of a candle and walking before him, and
followed by the two women who were staying at the inn, he approached
Don Quixote, He solemnly commanded him to kneel upon his knees, while
he mumbled something which he pretended to read out of the book that
he held in his hand. Then he gave him a good blow on the neck, and
after that another sound thwack over the shoulders with his own sword,
always as he did so continuing to mumble and murmur as though he were
reading something out of his book. This being done, he commanded one
of the damsels to gird on his sword, which she did with much grace and
cleverness. And it was with difficulty that they all kept from
laughing during this absurd ceremony, but what they had already seen
of Don Quixote's fury made them careful not to annoy him even by a
When she had girded on his sword, the damsel said: "May you be a
fortunate knight, and meet with good success in all your adventures."
Don Quixote asked her how she was called, that he might know to whom
he was obliged for the favours he had received. She answered with
great humility that she was named Tolosa, and was a butcher's daughter
of Toledo. Don Quixote replied requesting her to call herself from
henceforth the Lady Tolosa, which she promised to perform. The other
damsel buckled on his spurs, and when Don Quixote asked her name she
told him it was Molinera, and that she was daughter of an honest
miller of Antequera. Don Quixote entreated her also to call herself
Lady Molinera, and offered her new services and favours.
These strange and never-before-seen ceremonies being ended, Don
Quixote could not rest until he was mounted on horseback that he might
go to seek adventures. He therefore caused Rozinante to be instantly
saddled, leaped on his back, and embracing the innkeeper, thanked him
in a thousand wild and ridiculous ways for the great favour he had
done him in dubbing him knight. The innkeeper, who was only eager to
be rid of him without delay, answered him in the same fashion, and let
him march off without demanding from him a single farthing for his
food or lodging.