Now it happened that a carrier who lodged at the inn came into the yard to water his mules, and this he could not do while the armor lay in the horse-trough. As Don Quixote saw the man come up, “Take heed, rash Knight,” he cried. “Defile not by a touch the armor of the most brave knight-errant that ever wore a sword.”
But the mule-driver took no notice of Don Quixote. He picked up the armor and threw it away.
Don Quixote no sooner saw this than, raising his eyes to heaven, and calling on his Lady Dulcinea del Toboso, he lifted up his spear with both hands and gave the mule-driver such a whack over the head that the man fell down senseless. Then, picking up his armor and putting it back in the horse-trough, he went on with his march, taking no further notice of the poor mule-driver.
Soon up came another carrier who also wanted to water his mules.
Not a word did Don Quixote say this time, but he lifted up his spear and smote so heavily that he broke the man’s head in three or four places. The poor wretch made such an outcry that all the people in the inn came running, and the friends of the two carriers began to pelt Don Quixote with stones. But drawing his sword, and holding his shield in front of him, he defied them all, crying, “Come on, base knaves! Draw nearer if you dare!”
The landlord now came hurrying up and stopped the stone-throwing; then, having calmed Don Quixote, he said that there was no need for him to watch his armor any longer; to finish the ceremony it would now be enough if he were touched on the neck and shoulders with a sword. Don Quixote was quite satisfied, and prayed the innkeeper to get the business over as quickly as possible, “for,” said he, “if I were but knighted, and should see myself attacked, I believe that I should not leave a man alive in this castle.”
The innkeeper, a good deal alarmed at this, and anxious to get rid of him, hurried off and got the book in which he kept his accounts, which he pretended was a kind of book of prayer. Having also brought the two young women, and a boy to hold a candle, he ordered Don Quixote to kneel. Then muttering from his book, as if he were reading, he finished by giving Don Quixote a good blow on the neck, and a slap on the back, with the flat of a sword. After this, one of the young women belted the sword round the newly made knight’s waist, while the other buckled on his spurs, and having at once saddled “Rozinante.” Don Quixote was ready to set out.
The innkeeper was only too glad to see him go, even without paying for his supper.
HOW DON QUIXOTE RESCUED ANDRES; AND HOW HE RETURNED HOME
As he rode along in the early morning light, Don Quixote began to think that it would be well that he should return home for a little, there to lay in a stock of money and of clean shirts, and he turned his willing horse’s head in the direction of his village.