Don Antonio takes his guests on board the admiral's galley. Sancho, never having been on a ship before, is both impressed and frightened. One of the rowers, so instructed, hoists Sancho, tosses him to the man behind him, and the poor squire is tossed the whole length of the ship by the slaves. Don Quixote, however, receives the sort of welcome accorded to persons of quality. The courtesies are interrupted, however, for the captain gives chase to an Algerian brigantine, urging the galley slaves to row as fast as possible. As they are alongside the Moorish vessel, however, two drunken Turkish sailors fire into the Spanish ship, killing two soldiers. The General resolves to hang each prisoner when they are all brought to land. Everyone present, even the Viceroy, is amazed when the handsome young captain of the vessel confesses himself to be a "poor Christian woman," a Catholic-educated native of Spain who was forced to flee to Barbary with her family. The girl, Anna Felix, continues with her story, telling them that her lover, Don Gaspar Gregorio, emigrated to Algiers with them. The Dey of Algiers, she says, was very interested in her for her wealth as well as her beauty. When he heard that a handsome youth was captured as well, his thoughts turned to the newcomer, and realizing that Turks prefer youths to maidens, Anna Felix arranged a strategem. She arranged that Don Gaspar appear before the Dey as a woman, and the king decided to reserve this lovely newcomer as a gift to the Grand Seignior. Meanwhile, the Dey had given Anna Felix instructions to return home to fetch the buried jewels and gold from her house, and thus she and the insolent Turks were found on board the brigantine. Suddenly a pilgrim with the Viceroy's company throws himself at the girl's feet. "Anna Felix, my dear unfortunate daughter! Behold thy father Ricote, that returned to seek thee." The Viceroy is so moved at the tender reunion between father and daughter that he revokes his death sentence even from the guilty Turks. Don Antonio Morena offers hospitality to Anna Felix and Ricote, who in his turn has a friendly reunion with his neighbor Sancho Panza.
Ricote offers a handsome ransom for the release of Don Gaspar, and the galley, with the money, is sent, under care of a trustworthy renegade, to return to Spain with the young man. If the renegade fails, then everyone agrees that Don Quixote himself must effect the rescue.
One morning, while Don Quixote is walking on the seashore, as usual fully armed, another armed knight rides toward him. "I am the Knight of the White Moon," the rider tells him, "Lo, I am come to enter into combat with thee." They parley and agree to the conditions: If vanquished, Don Quixote must give up his arms and remain at home for one year. If he wins, the life and properties of his opponent are his. Hastening to witness the strange event, Don Antonio, the Viceroy, and some others arrive to see the two knights begin their charge. In a moment, the hero of La Mancha lies on the ground, Rosinante stretched beside him. Don Quixote's voice, "as if he had spoke out of a tomb," faintly says that he cannot allow Dulcinea's perfection to suffer through his weakness. "No, pierce my body with thy lance, Knight, and let my life expire with my honor." The conqueror says that he chooses to let Dulcinea's fame remain "entire and unblemished." He would rather that her protector return home upon his faith as a true knight. Don Quixote is taken up in a sad condition; Sancho is so shocked he cannot believe what had just happened.
Don Quixote's immense inner strength remains to him even at the moment of his worst defeat; he remains faithful to his ideal love, to his inspiration, to Dulcinea, and does not despair his purpose. Though Dulcinea's perfections are products of his own fancy, Don Quixote has, by strength of faith, given his creation independent life. Even though he dies, the faith in Dulcinea will always remain. In this way, Sancho can be considered as his creation, for Sancho will soon be able to live by himself. Don Quixote has also affected Samson Carrasco, for it can be supposed that the young man, disguised as the conquering knight, was so persistent in his attempts to "cure" Don Quixote because he wanted to share the glory and renown of the heroic knight by somehow linking their names. Samson, it must be noted, was able to conquer Don Quixote only in that location of lies and malicious amusements, the city of Barcelona.