The history of Don Quixote de la Mancha

Miguel Cervantes

89 

Elektronická kniha: Miguel Cervantes – The history of Don Quixote de la Mancha (jazyk: Angličtina)

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Miguel Cervantes: The history of Don Quixote de la Mancha

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Miguel Cervantes – životopis, dílo, citáty

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CHAPTER LXIV.

Containing ways and means for disenchanting the peerless Dulcinea del Toboso, being one of the most famous adventures in the whole book.

The duke and duchess were extremely diverted with the humours of their guests. Resolving, therefore, to improve their sport by carrying on some pleasant design that might bear the appearance of an adventure, they took the hint from Don Quixote's account of Montesinos' cave, as a subject from which they might raise an extraordinary entertainment; the rather, since, to the duchess's amazement, Sancho was so foolish as to believe that Dulcinea del Toboso was really enchanted, though he himself had been the first contriver of the story, and her only enchanter.

Accordingly, having given directions to their servants that nothing might be wanting, and proposed a day for hunting the wild boar, in five or six days they were ready to set out with a train of huntsmen and other attendants not unbecoming the greatest prince. They presented Don Quixote with a hunting-suit, but he refused it, alleging it superfluous, since he was in a short time to return to the hard exercise of arms, and could carry no sumpters nor wardrobes along with him; but Sancho readily accepted one of fine green cloth, designing to sell it the first opportunity.

The day appointed being come, Don Quixote armed, and Sancho equipped himself in his new suit, and mounting his ass, which he would not quit for a good horse that was offered him, he crowded among the train of sportsmen. The duchess also made one of the company. The knight, who was courtesy itself, very [Pg 292] gallantly would hold the reins of her palfrey, though the duke seemed very unwilling to let him. In short, they came to the scene of their sport, which was in a wood between two high mountains, where alighting, and taking their several stands, the duchess, with a pointed javelin in her hand, attended by the duke and Don Quixote, took her stand in a place where they knew the boars were used to pass through.

And now the chase began with full cry, the dogs opened, the horns sounded, and the huntsmen hollowed in so loud a concert, that there was no hearing one another. Soon after, a hideous boar, of a monstrous size, came on; and being baited hard by the dogs, and followed close by the huntsmen, made furiously towards the pass which Don Quixote had taken; whereupon the knight, grasping his shield and drawing his sword, moved forward to receive the raging beast. The duke joined him with a boar-spear, and the duchess would have been foremost, had not the duke prevented her. Sancho alone, seeing the furious animal, resolved to shift for himself; and away he ran, as fast as his legs would carry him, towards a high oak, to the top of which he endeavoured to clamber; but, as he was getting up, one of the boughs unluckily broke, and he was tumbling down, when a stump of another bough caught hold of his new coat, and stopped his fall, slinging him in the air by the middle, so that he could neither get up nor down. His fine green coat was torn; and he fancied every moment the wild boar was running that way, with foaming mouth and dreadful tusks, to tear him to pieces; which so disturbed him, that he roared and bellowed for help, as if some wild beast had been devouring him in good earnest.

At last the tusky boar was laid at his length, with a number of pointed spears fixed in him; and Don Quixote, being alarmed by Sancho's noise, which he could distinguish easily, looked about, and discovered him swinging from the tree with his head downwards, and close by him poor Dapple, who, like a true friend, never forsook him in his adversity. Don Quixote went and took down his squire, who, as soon as he was at liberty, began to examine the damage his fine hunting-suit had received, which grieved him to the soul; for he prized it as much as if it had made him heir to an estate.

Meanwhile, the boar, being laid across a large mule, and covered with branches of rosemary and myrtle, was carried in triumph by the victorious huntsmen to a large field-tent, pitched in the middle of the wood, where an excellent entertainment was provided, suitable to the magnificence of the founder.

Sancho drew near the duchess, and shewing her his torn coat, "Had we been hunting the hare now, or catching sparrows," quoth he, "my coat might have slept in a whole skin. For my part, I wonder what pleasure there can be in beating the bushes [Pg 293] for a beast which, if it does but come at you, may be the death of you. I have not forgotten an old song to this purpose:

 

'May Fabila's sad fate be thine,
And make thee food for bears or swine.'"

"That Fabila," said Don Quixote, "was a king of the Goths; who, going a-hunting once, was devoured by a bear." "That is it I say," quoth Sancho; "and therefore why should kings and other great folks run themselves into harm's way, when they may have sport enough without it? what pleasure can you find, any of you all, in killing a poor beast that never meant any harm?" "You are mistaken, Sancho," said the duke; "hunting wild beasts is the most proper exercise for knights and princes; for in the chase of a stout noble beast may be represented the whole art of war, stratagems, policy, and ambuscades, with all other devices usually practised to overcome an enemy with safety. Here we are exposed to the extremities of heat and cold; ease and laziness can have no room in this diversion; by this we are inured to toil and hardship, our limbs are strengthened, our joints made pliable, and our whole body hale and active. In short, it is an exercise that may be beneficial to many, and can be prejudicial to none; and the most enticing property is its rarity, being placed above the reach of the vulgar, who may indeed enjoy the diversion of other sorts of game, but not this nobler kind, nor that of hawking, a sport also reserved for kings and persons of quality. Therefore, Sancho, let me advise you to alter your opini…