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Don Quixote IX. Knight Mambrin's Golden Helmet


The day had already dawned brightly when Don Quixote and Sancho Panza emerged from a narrow pass into a wide wooded valley. They dismounted and were enjoying the good food they had seized from the spirits and spectres when they suddenly heard a great noise coming from the wood. It was a roaring and banging combined with dull thudding of iron and clanking of chains. The poor squire, who was timid by nature and had the heart of a hare, trembled like an aspen tree. Don Quixote, however, remained unmoved, leapt upon Rocinante, brandished his lance, braced his shield, and cried: "Sancho Panza, the heavens have chosen me to performt great deeds, such as this imminent terrible adventure...." Noise from the Hammer-MillHe got no further - he had espied a man on horseback who was approaching from the other side of the forest wearing something on his head which was gleaming brightly. - "Sancho, behold this man who is wearing on his head the helmet of the most illustrious hero, Knight Mambrin; he is seeking to keep me from this adventure ordained to me by fate! But I shall defeat his purpose!" - "You are mistaken, Lord and Master", replied the squire. - "How can I be mistaken in the bright light of day, you foolish doubter!" cried Don Quixote in vexation. "Do you not see the knight with the shining, golden helmet?" - "I do indeed see something shiny, but it is not a helmet." - "It is Mambrin's helmet, you toad!" roared Don Quixote. - "But it is not a helmet!" repeated Sancho obstinately. - "Silence, poisonous tongue!" cried Don Quixote enraged and, with his sword drawn, he fell on the rider and knocked the famous helmet from his head. The barber - for that is who it was - had been wearing his copper soap bowl on his head as he rode to perform his duties in the neighbouring village. He fled in fear and terror at the ghastly sight of the knight. Picture 91. Mambrin's Golden Helmet Sancho, who had followed at a safe distance, picked up the barber's bowl from the ground. "Indeed it is a splendid piece and among friends worth eight real!" With these words he handed the bowl to Don Quixote, who put it on his head and turned it round. "Mambrin's helmet has no visor!" said the knight in disappointment. Without delay, he made off on his adventure for the fearful and mysterious forest. Howling at the top of his voice, the barber's bowl on his head, he galopped off into the forest in the direction of the terrible noise. Sancho Panza peered cautiously between Rocinante's legs, who was tearing along as if she had grown wings. Don Quixote suddenly reined in his horse. For now the secret of the dreadful noise which resounded throughout the forest had become clear: it was coming from a hammer-mill which, driven by water power, incessantly pounded and thudded on floor and ground. Don Quixote fell silent and went deathly pale in anger. But Sancho Panza began to laugh so loudly and heartily that he could no longer remain on his feet, fell to the ground like a sack of flour, and lay there writhing in spasm. The sight of him overcame Don Quixote's disappointed and abashed heart, and he too joined in the laughter. "Don Quixote de la Mancha, the knight errant, has this time made a mistake", the proud chevalier admitted with pathos, striking his armoured breast with his fist. "May the noble and beautiful Dulcinea of Toboso, the gentle mistress of my heroic heart, forgive me!"

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