THE JOURNEY TO THE INN
Retold by Judge Parry
The curate rode first on the mule, and with him rode Don Quixote and
the princess. The others, Cardenio, the barber, and Sancho Panza,
followed on foot.
And as they rode, Don Quixote said to the damsel: "Madam, let me
entreat your highness to lead the way that most pleaseth you."
Before she could answer, the curate said: "Towards what kingdoms would
you travel? Are you for your native land of Micomicon?"
She, who knew very well what to answer, being no babe, replied: "Yes,
sir, my way lies towards that kingdom."
"If it be so," said the curate, "you must pass through the village
where I dwell, and from thence your ladyship must take the road to
Carthagena, where you may embark. And, if you have a prosperous
journey, you may come within the space of nine years to the Lake
Meona, I mean Meolidas, which stands on this side of your highness's
kingdom some hundred days' journey or more."
"You are mistaken, good sir," said she, "for it is not yet fully two
years since I left there, and, though I never had fair weather, I have
arrived in time to see what I so longed for, the presence of the
renowned Don Quixote of the Mancha, whose glory was known to me as
soon as my foot touched the shores of Spain."
"No more," cried Don Quixote. "I cannot abide to hear myself praised,
for I am a sworn enemy to flattery. And though I know what you speak
is but truth, yet it offends mine ears. And I can tell you this, at
least, that whether I have valour or not, I will use it in your
service, even to the loss of my life. But let me know, master curate,
what has brought you here?"
"You must know, then," replied the curate, "that Master Nicholas, the
barber, and myself travelled towards Seville to recover certain sums
of money which a kinsman of mine in the Indies had sent me. And
passing yesterday through this way we were set upon by four robbers,
who took everything that we had. And it is said about here, that those
who robbed us were certain galley slaves, who they say were set at
liberty, almost on this very spot, by a man so valiant that in spite
of the guard he released them all. And doubtless he must be out of his
wits, or else he must be as great a knave as they, to loose the wolf
among the sheep, and rebel against his king by taking from the galleys
their lawful prey."
Sancho had told the curate of an adventure they had had with galley
slaves, and the curate spoke of it to see what Don Quixote would say.
The knight, however, durst not confess his part in the adventure, but
rode on, changing colour at every word the curate spoke.
When the curate had finished, Sancho burst out: "By my father, master
curate, he that did that deed was my master, and that not for want of
warning, for I told him beforehand that it was a sin to deliver them,
and that they were great rogues who had been sent to the galleys to
punish them for their crimes."
"You bottlehead!" replied Don Quixote. "It is not the duty of
knights-errant to examine whether the afflicted, enslaved, and
oppressed whom they meet by the way are in sorrow for their own
default; they must relieve them because they are needy and in
distress, looking at their sorrow and not at their crimes. And if any
but the holy master curate shall find fault with me on this account, I
will tell him that he knows nought of knighthood, and that he lies in
his throat, and this I will make him know by the power of my sword."
Dorothea, who was discreet enough to see they were carrying the jest
too far, now said: "Remember, sir knight, the boon you promised me,
never to engage in any other adventure, be it ever so urgent, until
you have seen me righted. And had master curate known that it was the
mighty arm of Don Quixote that freed the galley slaves, I feel sure he
would have bit his tongue through ere he spoke words which might cause
"That I dare swear," said the curate.
"Madam," replied Don Quixote, "I will hold my peace and keep my anger
to myself, and will ride on peaceably and quietly until I have done
the thing I promised. Tell me, therefore, without delay, what are your
troubles and on whom am I to take revenge."
To this Dorothea replied: "Willingly will I do what you ask, so you
will give me your attention."
At this Cardenio and the barber drew near to hear the witty Dorothea
tell her tale, and Sancho, who was as much deceived as his master, was
the most eager of all to listen.
She, after settling herself in her saddle, began with a lively air to
speak as follows: "In the first place, I would have you know,
gentlemen, that my name is—" Here she stopped a moment, for she had
forgotten what name the curate had given her.
He, seeing her trouble, said quickly: "It is no wonder, great lady,
that you hesitate to tell your misfortunes. Great sufferers often lose
their memory, so that they even forget their own names, as seems to
have happened to your ladyship, who has forgotten that she is called
the Princess Micomicona, heiress of the great Kingdom of Micomicon."
"True," said the damsel, "but let me proceed. The king, my father,
was called Tinacrio the Sage, and was learned in the magic art. By
this he discovered that my mother, the Queen Xaramilla, would die
before him, and that I should soon afterwards be left an orphan. This
did not trouble him so much as the knowledge that a certain giant,
called Pandafilando of the Sour Face, lord of a great island near our
border, when he should hear that I was an orphan, would pass over with
a mighty force into my kingdom and take it from me. My father warned
me that when this came to pass I should not stay to defend myself, and
so cause the slaughter of my people, but should at once set out for
Spain, where I should meet with a knight whose fame would then extend
through all that kingdom. His name, he said, should be Don Quixote,
and he would be tall of stature, have a withered face, and on his
right side, a little under his left shoulder, he should have a tawny
spot with certain hairs like bristles."
On hearing this, Don Quixote said: "Hold my horse, son Sancho, and
help me to strip, for I would know if I am the knight of whom the sage
"There is no need," said Sancho, "for I know that your worship has
such a mark near your backbone."
"It is enough," said Dorothea, "for among friends we must not be too
particular, and whether it is on your shoulder or your backbone is of
no importance. And, indeed, no sooner did I land in Osuna than I heard
of Don Quixote's fame, and felt sure that he was the man."
"But how did you land in Osuna, madam," asked Don Quixote, "seeing
that it is not a sea town?"
"Sir," said the curate, "the princess would say that she landed at
Malaga, and that Osuna was the first place wherein she heard tidings
of your worship."
"That is so," said Dorothea; "and now nothing remains but to guide you
to Pandafilando of the Sour Face, that I may see you slay him, and
once again enter into my kingdom. For all must succeed as the wise
Tinacrio, my father, has foretold, and if the knight of the prophecy,
when he has killed the giant, so desires, then it will be my lot to
become his wife, and he will at once possess both me and my kingdom."
"What thinkest thou of this, friend Sancho? Did I not tell thee this
would come about? Here we have a kingdom to command and a queen to
When Sancho heard all this he jumped for joy, and running to Dorothea
stopped her mule, and asking her very humbly to give him her hand to
kiss, he kneeled down as a sign that he accepted her as his queen and
All around could scarcely hide their laughter at the knight's madness
and the squire's simplicity, and when Dorothea promised Sancho to make
him a great lord, and Sancho gave her thanks, it roused their mirth
"Madam," continued Don Quixote, who appeared to be full of thought, "I
repeat all I have said, and make my vow anew, and when I have cut off
the head of Pandafilando I will put you in peaceable possession of
your kingdom, but since my memory and will are captive to another, it
is not possible for me to marry."
So disgusted was Sancho with what he heard that he cried out in a
great rage: "Surely, Sir Don Quixote, your worship is not in your
right senses. Is it possible your worship can refuse to marry a
princess like this? A poor chance have I of getting a countship if
your worship goes on like this, searching for mushrooms at the bottom
of the sea. Is my Lady Dulcinea more beautiful? She cannot hold a
candle to her. Marry her! Marry at once, and when you are king make me
Don Quixote, who heard such evil things spoken of his Lady Dulcinea,
could not bear them any longer, and therefore, lifting up his lance,
without speaking a word to Sancho, gave him two blows that brought him
to the earth, and if Dorothea had not called to the knight to spare
him, without doubt he would have taken his squire's life.
"Think you, miserable villain," cried Don Quixote, "that it is to be
all sinning on thy side and pardoning on mine? Say, scoffer with the
viper's tongue, who dost thou think hath gained this kingdom and cut
off the head of this giant and made thee marquis—for all this I take
to be a thing as good as completed—unless it be the worth and valour
of Dulcinea using my arm as her instrument? She fights in my person,
and I live and breathe in her. From her I hold my life and being. O
villain, how ungrateful art thou that seest thyself raised from the
dust of the earth to be a nobleman, and speakest evil of her who gives
thee such honours!"
Sancho was not too much hurt to hear what his master said. He jumped
up nimbly and ran behind Dorothea's palfrey, and from there said to
his master: "Tell me, your worship, if you are not going to marry this
great princess, how this kingdom will become yours, and how you can do
me any favours. Pray marry this queen now we have her here. I say
nothing against Lady Dulcinea's beauty, for I have never seen her."
"How, thou wicked traitor, thou hast not seen her!" cried Don
Quixote. "Didst thou not but now bring me a message from Her?"
"I mean," replied Sancho, "not seen her for long enough to judge of
her beauty, though, from what I did see, she appeared very lovely."
"Ah!" said Don Quixote, "then I do excuse thee, but have a care what
thou sayest, for, remember, the pitcher may go once too often to the
"No more of this," said Dorothea. "Run Sancho, kiss your master's
hand, and ask his pardon. Henceforth speak no evil of the Lady
Dulcinea, and trust that fortune may find you an estate where you may
live like a prince."
Sancho went up hanging his head and asked his lord's hand, which he
gave him with a grave air, and, after he had kissed it, the knight
gave him his blessing, and no more was said about it.
While this was passing, they saw coming along the road on which they
were a man riding upon an ass, and when he drew near he seemed to be a
But Sancho Panza, whenever he met with any asses, followed them with
his eyes and his heart, and he had hardly caught sight of the man when
he knew him to be an escaped robber, Gines of Passamonte, and the ass
to be none other than his beloved Dapple.
Gines had disguised himself as a gipsy, but Sancho knew him, and
called out in a loud voice: "Ah! thief Gines, give up my jewel, let go
my life, give up mine ass, give up the comfort of my home. Fly,
scoundrel! Begone, thief! Give back what is none of thine."
He need not have used so many words, for Gines leaped off at the first
and raced away from them all as fast as his legs could carry him.
Sancho then ran up to Dapple, and, embracing him, cried: "How hast
thou been cared for, my darling and treasure, Dapple of mine eyes, my
sweet companion?" With this he stroked and kissed him as if he had
been a human being. But the ass held his peace, and allowed Sancho to
kiss and cherish him without answering a word.