Don Quixote By Miguel de Cervantes Part 2: Chapter XXIV-XXV

Don Quixote was thunderstruck, Sancho astounded, the cousin staggered, the page astonished, the man from the braying town agape, the landlord in perplexity, and, in short, everyone amazed at the words of the puppet-showman, who went on to say, "And thou, worthy Sancho Panza, the best squire and squire to the best knight in the world! Be of good cheer, for thy good wife Teresa is well, and she is at this moment hackling a pound of flax; and more by token she has at her left hand a jug with a broken spout that holds a good drop of wine, with which she solaces herself at her work."

"That I can well believe," said Sancho. "She is a lucky one, and if it was not for her jealousy I would not change her for the giantess Andandona, who by my master's account was a very clever and worthy woman; my Teresa is one of those that won't let themselves want for anything, though their heirs may have to pay for it."

"Now I declare," said Don Quixote, "he who reads much and travels much sees and knows a great deal. I say so because what amount of persuasion could have persuaded me that there are apes in the world that can divine as I have seen now with my own eyes? For I am that very Don Quixote of La Mancha this worthy animal refers to, though he has gone rather too far in my praise; but whatever I may be, I thank heaven that it has endowed me with a tender and compassionate heart, always disposed to do good to all and harm to none."

"If I had money," said the page, "I would ask senor ape what will happen me in the peregrination I am making."

To this Master Pedro, who had by this time risen from Don Quixote's feet, replied, "I have already said that this little beast gives no answer as to the future; but if he did, not having money would be of no consequence, for to oblige Senor Don Quixote, here present, I would give up all the profits in the world. And now, because I have promised it, and to afford him pleasure, I will set up my show and offer entertainment to all who are in the inn, without any charge whatever." As soon as he heard this, the landlord, delighted beyond measure, pointed out a place where the show might be fixed, which was done at once.

Don Quixote was not very well satisfied with the divinations of the ape, as he did not think it proper that an ape should divine anything, either past or future; so while Master Pedro was arranging the show, he retired with Sancho into a corner of the stable, where, without being overheard by anyone, he said to him, "Look here, Sancho, I have been seriously thinking over this ape's extraordinary gift, and have come to the conclusion that beyond doubt this Master Pedro, his master, has a pact, tacit or express, with the devil."

"If the packet is express from the devil," said Sancho, "it must be a very dirty packet no doubt; but what good can it do Master Pedro to have such packets?"

"Thou dost not understand me, Sancho," said Don Quixote; "I only mean he must have made some compact with the devil to infuse this power into the ape, that he may get his living, and after he has grown rich he will give him his soul, which is what the enemy of mankind wants; this I am led to believe by observing that the ape only answers about things past or present, and the devil's knowledge extends no further; for the future he knows only by guesswork, and that not always; for it is reserved for God alone to know the times and the seasons, and for him there is neither past nor future; all is present. This being as it is, it is clear that this ape speaks by the spirit of the devil; and I am astonished they have not denounced him to the Holy Office, and put him to the question, and forced it out of him by whose virtue it is that he divines; because it is certain this ape is not an astrologer; neither his master nor he sets up, or knows how to set up, those figures they call judiciary, which are now so common in Spain that there is not a jade, or page, or old cobbler, that will not undertake to set up a figure as readily as pick up a knave of cards from the ground, bringing to nought the marvellous truth of the science by their lies and ignorance. I know of a lady who asked one of these figure schemers whether her little lap-dog would be in pup and would breed, and how many and of what colour the little pups would be. To which senor astrologer, after having set up his figure, made answer that the bitch would be in pup, and would drop three pups, one green, another bright red, and the third parti-coloured, provided she conceived between eleven and twelve either of the day or night, and on a Monday or Saturday; but as things turned out, two days after this the bitch died of a surfeit, and senor planet-ruler had the credit all over the place of being a most profound astrologer, as most of these planet-rulers have."

"Still," said Sancho, "I would be glad if your worship would make Master Pedro ask his ape whether what happened your worship in the cave of Montesinos is true; for, begging your worship's pardon, I, for my part, take it to have been all flam and lies, or at any rate something you dreamt."

"That may be," replied Don Quixote; "however, I will do what you suggest; though I have my own scruples about it."

At this point Master Pedro came up in quest of Don Quixote, to tell him the show was now ready and to come and see it, for it was worth seeing. Don Quixote explained his wish, and begged him to ask his ape at once to tell him whether certain things which had happened to him in the cave of Montesinos were dreams or realities, for to him they appeared to partake of both. Upon this Master Pedro, without answering, went back to fetch the ape, and, having placed it in front of Don Quixote and Sancho, said: "See here, senor ape, this gentleman wishes to know whether certain things which happened to him in the cave called the cave of Montesinos were false or true." On his making the usual sign the ape mounted on his left shoulder and seemed to whisper in his ear, and Master Pedro said at once, "The ape says that the things you saw or that happened to you in that cave are, part of them false, part true; and that he only knows this and no more as regards this question; but if your worship wishes to know more, on Friday next he will answer all that may be asked him, for his virtue is at present exhausted, and will not return to him till Friday, as he has said."

"Did I not say, senor," said Sancho, "that I could not bring myself to believe that all your worship said about the adventures in the cave was true, or even the half of it?"

"The course of events will tell, Sancho," replied Don Quixote; "time, that discloses all things, leaves nothing that it does not drag into the light of day, though it be buried in the bosom of the earth. But enough of that for the present; let us go and see Master Pedro's show, for I am sure there must be something novel in it."

"Something!" said Master Pedro; "this show of mine has sixty thousand novel things in it; let me tell you, Senor Don Quixote, it is one of the best-worth-seeing things in the world this day; but operibus credite et non verbis, and now let's get to work, for it is growing late, and we have a great deal to do and to say and show."

Don Quixote and Sancho obeyed him and went to where the show was already put up and uncovered, set all around with lighted wax tapers which made it look splendid and bright. When they came to it Master Pedro ensconced himself inside it, for it was he who had to work the puppets, and a boy, a servant of his, posted himself outside to act as showman and explain the mysteries of the exhibition, having a wand in his hand to point to the figures as they came out. And so, all who were in the inn being arranged in front of the show, some of them standing, and Don Quixote, Sancho, the page, and cousin, accommodated with the best places, the interpreter began to say what he will hear or see who reads or hears the next chapter.

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After the misadventure with the windmills, Don Quixote




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