THE ADVENTURE OF THE TWO ARMIES
Retold by Judge Parry
Whilst they were riding on their way, Don Quixote saw a large, dense
cloud of dust rolling towards them, and turning to Sancho said: "This
is the day on which shall be shown the might of my arm and on which I
am to do deeds which shall be written in the books of fame. Dost thou
see the dust which arises there? Know then that it is caused by a
mighty army composed of various and numberless nations that are
marching this way." "If that be so," replied Sancho, "then must there
be two armies, for on this other side there is as great a dust."
Don Quixote turned round to behold it, and seeing that it was so, he
was marvellous glad, for he imagined that there were indeed two armies
coming to fight each other in the midst of that spacious plain. For at
every hour and moment his fancy was full of battles, enchantments, and
adventures, such as are related in the books of knighthood, and all
his thoughts and wishes were turned towards such things.
As for the clouds he had seen, they were raised by two large flocks of
sheep which were being driven along the same road from two opposite
sides, and these by reason of the dust could not be seen until they
Don Quixote was so much in earnest when he called them armies that
Sancho at once believed it, asking: "What then shall we do, good
"What!" cried Don Quixote. "Why, favour and help those who are in
distress and need. Thou must know, Sancho, that this which comes on
our front is led by the mighty Emperor Alifamfaron, lord of the great
island of Trapobana. This other which is marching at our back is the
army of his foe, the King of the Garamantes, Pentapolin of the Naked
Arm, for he always goes into battle with his right arm bare."
"But why do these two princes hate each other so much?" asked Sancho.
"They are enemies," replied Don Quixote, "because Alifamfaron is a
furious pagan and is deeply in love with Pentapolin's daughter, who is
a beautiful and gracious princess and a Christian. Her father refuses
to give her to the pagan king until he abandons Mahomet's false
religion and becomes a convert to his own."
"By my beard," said Sancho, "Pentapolin does right well, and I will
help him all I can."
"Then thou wilt but do thy duty," said Don Quixote, "for it is not
necessary to be a dubbed knight to engage in battles such as these."
"Right!" replied Sancho, "but where shall we stow this ass that we may
be sure of finding him after the fight is over, for I think it is not
the custom to enter into battle mounted on such a beast."
"That is true," said Don Quixote; "but thou mayest safely leave it to
chance whether he be lost or found, for after this battle we shall
have so many horses that even Rozinante runs a risk of being changed
for another. And now let us withdraw to that hillock yonder that we
may get a better view of both those great armies."
They did so, and standing on the top of a hill gazed at the two great
clouds of dust which the imagination of Don Quixote had turned into
armies. And then Don Quixote, with all the eloquence he could muster,
described to Sancho the names of the different knights in the two
armies, with their colours and devices and mottoes, and the numbers of
their squadrons, and the countries and provinces from which they came.
But though Sancho stood and listened in wonder he could see nothing as
yet of knights or armies, and at last he cried out: "Where are all
these grand knights, good my master? For myself, I can see none of
them. But perhaps it is all enchantment, as so many things have been."
"How! Sayest them so?" said Don Quixote. "Dost thou not hear the
horses neigh and the trumpets sound and the noise of the drums?"
"I hear nothing else," said Sancho, "but the great bleating of sheep."
And so it was, indeed, for by this time the two flocks were
approaching very near to them.
"The fear thou art in," said Don Quixote, "permits thee neither to see
nor hear aright, for one of the effects of fear is to disturb the
senses and make things seem different from what they are. If thou art
afraid, stand to one side and leave me to myself, for I alone can give
the victory to the side which I assist."
So saying he clapped spurs to Rozinante, and, setting his lance in
rest, rode down the hillside like a thunderbolt.
Sancho shouted after him as loud as he could: "Return, good Sir Don
Quixote! Return! For verily all those you go to charge are but sheep
and muttons. Return, I say! Alas that ever I was born! What madness is
this? Look, there are neither knights, nor arms, nor shields, nor
soldiers, nor emperors, but only sheep. What is it you do, Wretch that
For all this Don Quixote did not turn back, but rode on, shouting in a
loud voice: "So ho! knights! Ye that serve and fight under the banner
of Pentapolin of the Naked Arm, follow me, all of you. Ye shall see
how easily I will revenge him on his enemy Alifamfaron of Trapobana!"
With these words he dashed into the midst of the flock of sheep, and
began to spear them with as much courage and fury as if he were
fighting his mortal enemies.
The shepherds that came with the flock cried to him to leave off, but
seeing their words had no effect, they unloosed their slings and began
to salute his head with stones as big as one's fist.
But Don Quixote made no account of their stones, and galloping to and
fro everywhere cried out: "Where art thou, proud Alifamfaron? Where
art thou? Come to me, for I am but one knight alone, who desires to
prove my strength with thee, man to man, and make thee yield thy life
for the wrong thou hast done to the valorous Pentapolin."
At that instant a stone gave him such a blow that it buried two of his
ribs in his body. Finding himself so ill-treated he thought for
certain that he was killed or sorely wounded, and recollecting his
balsam, he drew out his oil pot and set it to his mouth to drink. But
before he could take as much as he wanted, another stone struck him
full on the hand, broke the oil pot into pieces, and carried away with
it three or four teeth out of his mouth, and sorely crushed two
fingers of his hand. So badly was he wounded by these two blows that
he now fell off his horse on to the ground.
The shepherds ran up, and believing that they had killed him, they
collected their flocks in great haste, and carrying away their dead
muttons, of which there were seven, they went away without caring to
inquire into things any further.
Sancho was all this time standing on the hill looking at the mad
pranks his master was performing, and tearing his beard and cursing
the hour when they had first met. Seeing, however, that he was fallen
on the ground, and the shepherds had gone away, he came down the hill
and went up to his master, and found him in a very bad way, although
not quite insensible.
"Did I not tell you, Sir Don Quixote," said Sancho mournfully, "did I
not tell you to come back, for those you went to attack were not
armies but sheep?"
"That thief of an enchanter, my enemy, can alter things and make men
vanish away as he pleases. Know, Sancho, that it is very easy for
those kind of men to make us seem what they please, and this malicious
being who persecutes me, envious of the glory that I was to reap from
this battle, hath changed the squadrons of the foe into flocks of
sheep. If thou dost not believe me, Sancho, get on thine ass and
follow them fair and softly, and thou shalt see that when they have
gone a little way off they will return to their original shapes, and,
ceasing to be sheep, become men as right and straight as I painted
them to you at first."
At this moment the balsam that Don Quixote had swallowed began to make
him very sick, and Sancho Panza ran off to search in his wallet for
something that might cure him. But when he found that his wallet was
not upon his ass, and remembered for the first time that it was left
at the inn, he was on the point of losing his wits. He cursed himself
anew, and resolved in his heart to leave his master and return to his
house, even though he should lose his wages and the government of the
Don Quixote had now risen, and with his left hand to his mouth that
the rest of his teeth might not fall out, with the other he took
Rozinante by the bridle, and went up to where his squire stood leaning
against his ass with his head in his hand, looking the picture of
Don Quixote, seeing him look so miserable, said to him: "Learn,
Sancho, not to be so easily downcast, for these storms that befall us
are signs that the weather will soon be fair. Therefore thou shouldst
not vex thyself about my misfortunes, for sure thou dost not share in
"How not?" replied Sancho; "mayhap he they tossed in a blanket
yesterday was not my father's son? And the wallet which is missing
to-day with all my chattels, is not that my misfortune?"
"What, is the wallet missing, Sancho?" said Don Quixote,
"Yes, it is missing," answered Sancho.
"In that case we have nothing to eat to-day," said Don Quixote.
"It would be so," said Sancho, "should the herbs of the field fail us,
which your worship says you know of, and with which you have told me
knights-errant must supply their wants."
"Nevertheless," answered Don Quixote, "I would rather just now have a
hunch of bread, or a cottage loaf and a couple of pilchards' heads,
than all the herbs that Dioscorides has described. But before thou
mountest thine ass, lend me here thy hand and see how many teeth are
lacking on this right side of my upper jaw, for there I feel the
Sancho put his fingers in, and, feeling about, asked: "How many teeth
did your worship have before, on this side?"
"Four," replied Don Quixote, "besides the wisdom tooth, all whole and
"Mind well what you say, sir," answered Sancho.
"Four, say I, if not five," said Don Quixote, "for in all my life I
never had tooth drawn from my mouth, nor has any fallen out or been
destroyed by decay."
"Well, then, in this lower part," said Sancho, "your worship has but
two teeth and a half, and in the upper, neither a half nor any, for
all is as smooth as the palm of my hand."
"Unfortunate I!" exclaimed Don Quixote, "for I would rather they had
deprived me of my arm, as long as it were not my sword arm. Know,
Sancho, that a mouth without teeth is like a mill without a
grindstone, and a tooth is more to be prized than a millstone. But all
this must we suffer who profess the stern rule of knights-errant.
Mount, friend, and lead the way, for I will follow thee what pace thou