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Don Quixote III. Against Thirty and more Giants


The noble knight, Don Quixote of la Mancha, was trotting along on his scrawny nag. Sancho Panza was riding behind him on his donkey, smoking his short pipe, blowing a huge cloud of smoke into the air and dreaming of himself being king of an island. When he thought of his wife as the future queen, he began to laugh aloud: "And if God let a thousand crowns fall from the skies, not one would fit my Marie's fat head!" - Meanwhile a whole series of windmills had become visible on the plain. "My friend, fortune is smiling on us more than we could have wished!" Don Quixote called to his squire. "Thirty and more monstrous giants are standing over there! I shall ride towards them and do battle with them unto the death!" - "If they are giants" replied Sancho Panza, - "may I be roasted in my own fat! They are just innocent windmills!" But Don Quixote was not to be persuaded; he stood up in his stirrups and cried out: "There they stand, waving their powerful arms, which may be a mile long and more! It will be a feat of glory to wipe such a wicked brood from the face of the earth! I shall extinguish the life of each one of them!" As he spoke, he dug his spurs into his thin steed Rocinante and addressed the windmills: Picture 82. The Battle with the Windmills "Do not flee, you miserable, cowardly, misshapen creatures! Stand your ground! It is but one lone knight who approaches you to defy you and throw you into the dust!" At that moment a wind arose setting the sails of the mills in motion. Don Quixote took this for a reply and a challenge and, burning to fight, he shouted: "Though you wield more arms than the hundred-armed giant Baraeus, I shall nonetheless defeat you!" The courageous knight prepared for battle, commended himself to his lady, Dulcinea of Toboso, beseeching her aid in his great peril, covered himself with his shield, put his lance in position, and moved forward at full gallop to attack the nearest windmill. He hit a sail which was being turned with such force by the wind that he and Rocinante were dragged up into the air. When the two of them had reached the ground again, having been flung far away across the field, they were badly injured by their fall. - "Oh my goodness!" cried Sancho Panza and hastened to his master's aid. "Didn't I tell you they were windmills and not giants!" - "Silence, Sancho Panza!" groaned Don Quixote weakly, "It is clear to me that good fortune in war is transitory. Some evil sorcerer must have changed the giants into windmills!" - "May God protect you, noble master," replied the squire, "I trust you have not broken all the bones in your body!" - "And were it so," moaned Don Quixote, "I should not complain and lament, for such would not behove a brave knight errant. A hero remains silent even if his entrails be dropping from his wounds." - "There is no answer to that!" said Sancho Panza and mounted his donkey. His master had also got on to his horse, but he hung rather than sat in the saddle on Rocinante. The squire opened the saddle-bags, helped himself generously to what he found there and also raised the wineskin frequently and with relish. Don Quixote was neither hungry nor thirsty, rejected all commiseration and soon heard his companion behind him audibly snoring as he rode.

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