back   TITLE PAGE   down   GERMAN   next  

Don Quixote XV.


After the fight with the King of the Desert, Don Quixote and Sancho Panza continued their journey and reached the River Ebro. The noble knight was riding slowly along the bank, lost in his thoughts, without exchanging a word with Sancho Panza, when he suddenly noticed a barque tied to the trunk of a tree. He ordered his squire to tie Rosinante and the donkey to some branch or other and to come on board the boat with him. When they had left the riverbank, he broke the gloomy silence: "I must tell you that this magic vessel has been sent to bring me to a lady who is in distress!" - "Knight of the Sad Countenance!" said Sancho Panza without thinking, "If that isn't a crazy idea of yours I will eat my hat or drink half a pint of ink. Picture 98. At the Ship Mills The barque is not enchanted but a perfectly ordinary fishing boat!" Don Quixote became really angry: "Again I say: silence! Rest assured, you dull pleb devoid of imagination that I shall throw you into the water without further ado if you persist in your disbelief!" Meanwhile the boat was drifting along in a leisurely fashion in mid-stream. All at once Don Quixote discovered some large ship mills located in the middle of the river. Behold, my friend!" he cried in excitement, "That is the castle in which the persecuted lady is waiting for me, pining for her release!" - "They are nothing other than a pair of ordinary ship mills!" cried Sancho Panza in annoyance. - "I command you again to keep silent, Sancho! I am quite sure of this!" With these words the knight drew his sword and began to make wild passes in the air with it. Meanwhile the millers had discovered the knight and his squire in the boat. They were covered from head to toe with a coating of flour and looked strange with their white hair. "You idiots!" shouted the millers, "where are you going? Do you want to be thrown against the mill-wheels and dashed to pieces?" - "Ahaaaa! Sancho, do you see those hostile white fiends over there? Look at what terrible faces these scarecrows are making! Wait till I teach you manners, you rogues! Hand over without delay the prisoner you have incarcerated in your fortress! Let me tell you that I am Don Quixote de la Mancha, the Knight Errant of the Lions, the Knight of the Sad Countenance, the protector and benefactor of all those who suffer misfortune!" Picture 99. The Dip in the Ebro The millers heard the shouting and had their long poles ready to push back the boat, which had already been caught in the mill-stream current and was approaching the mill-wheels with terrifying speed. But Don Quixote hit the millers' poles with his sword, thereby capsizing the boat and all passengers were thrown head over heels into the river. Don Quixote swam like a leaden duck and his squire was hidden from sight by a foaming vortex. The millers hurried down, fished the two river robbers out of the muddy water and dragged them to the safety of the land. They looked like a pair of wet poodles. The iron knight had barely opened his eyes again when he inquired in a rough manner after the imprisoned lady. "What do you mean, you foolish man?!" laughed the millers in chorus. "Come on, Sancho!" said Don Quixote to his drenched squire. "It would be stupid to have anything more to do with such riff-raff. But it is quite clear to me that we are dealing with sorcerors here. May God help the lady: I can do no more! Bring me to the other side of the river - I must get back to my horse!"

back   DON QUIXOTE   up   CHAPTER XVI   next