Jack reads selected passages
from his favorite books
Unscripted. Unrehearsed. Unedited.
TODAY’S READING –
The History and Adventures of
the renowned Don Quixote,
Miguel de Cervantes,
London, Folio Society, 1995
(Part 3 of 3)
In the words of the German philosopher F. W. J. von Schelling, Don Quixote is “the most universal, the most profound and the most picturesque portrait of life itself.”
In the midst of this their conversation, they discovered thirty or forty windmills all together on the plain, which the knight no sooner perceived, then he said to his squire, “Chance has conducted our affairs even better than we could either wish or hope for; look there, friend Sancho, and behold thirty or forty outrageous giants, with whom I intend to engage in battle, and put every soul of them to death, so that we may begin to enrich ourselves with their spoils; for it is a meritorious warfare, and serviceable both to God and man, to extirpate such a wicked race from the face of the earth.”
“What giants do you mean?” said Sancho Panza in amaze.
“Those you see yonder,” replied his master, “with vast extended arms; some of which are two leagues long.”
“I would your worship would take notice,” replied Sancho, “that those you see yonder are no giants, but windmills; and what seem arms to you, are sails; which being turned with the wind, make the mill-stone work.”
“It seems very plain,” said the knight, “that you are but a novice in adventures: these I affirm to be giants; and if thou art afraid, get out of the reach of danger, and put up thy prayers for me, while I join with them in fierce and unequal combat.”
So saying, he put spurs to his steed Rozinante, without paying the least regard to the cries of his squire Sancho, who assured him, that those he was going to attack were no giants, but innocent windmills: but he was so much possessed with the opinion that they were giants, that he neither heard the advice of his squire Sancho, nor would use the intelligence of his own eyes, though he was very near them: on the contrary, when he approached them, he called aloud, “Fly not, ye base and cowardly miscreants, for he is but a single knight who now attacks you.” At that instant, a breeze of wind springing up, the great sails began to turn; which being perceived by Don Quixote, “Tho’ you wield,” said he, “more arms than ever belonged to the giant Briareus, I will make you pay for your insolence.”
So saying, and heartily recommending himself to his lady Dulcinea, whom he implored to succor him in this emergency, bracing on his target, and setting his lance in the rest, he put his Rozinante to full speed, and assaulting the nearest windmill, thrust it into one of the sails, which was drove about by the wind with so much fury, that the lance was shivered to pieces, and both knight and steed whirled aloft, and overthrown in very bad plight upon the plain.
Sancho Panza produce fast as his mount could carry him to his assistance, and when he came up, found him unable to stir, by reason of the bruises which he and Rozinante had received. “Lord have mercy upon us!” Said the squire, “Did not I tell your worship to consider well what you were about? Did not I’m sure you, they were no other than windmills? Indeed nobody could mistake them for anything else, but one who has windmills in his own head!”
“Prithee, hold thy peace, friend Sancho,” replied Don Quixote; “the affairs of war are, more than anything, subject to change. How much more so, as I believe, nay, am certain, that the sage Freston, who stole my closet and books, has converted those giants into mills, in order to rob me of the honor of their overthrow; such is the enmity he bears me; but, in the end, all his treacherous arts will but little avail against the vigor of my sword.”
“God’s will be done!” replied Sancho Panza, who helped him to rise, and mount Rozinante that was almost disjointed.
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