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Don Quixote VIII. Phantoms at Midnight


Sancho Panza's saddlebag was missing. The knight errant and his squire were suffering terrible pangs of hunger. - "What an unfortunate wretch I am!" grumbled fat Sancho, "not only do I have to endure all these beatings but must survive on roots and grasses from the fields." - "What is that compared to the murderous pain I have with my injured jawbone and smashed teeth?" Don Quixote remonstrated indignantly. Sancho Panza stuck a finger into his master's mouth, feeling around carefully. "How many molars did you have before the attack, my lord?" - "Four, apart from my wisdom tooth." - "Sir," said Sancho Panza, "are you quite sure?" - "There were four if not five," Don Quixote assured him. - Picture 89. The Phantom Procession "Well, I can only find two and a half teeth; everything else has been swept away," growled the squire, showing his own teeth. - "You are fortunate, Sir, that your mill is now without millstones. But look at mine: they are crying out for nourishment!" - "I swear to you, Sancho, by my missing teeth, that before midnight I will provide you with a banquet worthy of Lucullus!" They both mounted their animals and rode away with new hopes. The night had become pitch dark. They suddenly saw a great number of lights shimmering in the darkness ahead of them, which looked like stars in motion. Sancho Panza went pale when he saw them. But the proud knight took courage, positioned his lance and charged in the direction of the eerie lights, crying out: "I also fight spirits and phantoms!" There were many figures wearing long white robes, carrying blazing torches in their hands, who looked as if they were dead. Behind them trotted a well-laden donkey. As soon as the knight in armour fell upon them in his frenzy, the figures fled, calling out incomprehensible words in muffled voices. One white figure remained lying prostrate on the ground. Picture 90. The Knight of the Sad CountenanceDon Quixote seized one of the torches that had been thrown away, and held the point of his lance over the phantom's heart. - "You shall perish instantly unless you divulge to me the reason for this extraordinary procession!" - "O most noble lord and master," the phantom replied breathlessly, "we belong to the secret order Salus et Quietas and were going to our midnight banquet, which we have every year out on the mountain of Gumarilla." - "Come here, Sancho Panza, and help this living phantom to stand up!" Don Quixote looked around for his squire. Sancho had requisitioned the heavily laden donkey, which was carrying the most delicious food to be found anywhere in the neighbourhood. The squire could not stop laughing. - "Did I not promise you a lucullian banquet? My friend, you can well laugh!" - "That is not the reason why I am laughing, my lord. While I was watching you in the light of the torch, it struck me that you are indeed the saddest and most miserable-looking creature I have ever seen in my life!" Thereupon Don Quixote sat down, full of remorse, and said to himself, shaking his head wistfully: "So I am Don Quixote de la Mancha, the Knight of the Sad Countenance."

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