“Thank you for the colts,” said Sancho. “As for the other things, I’m not sure that they will be worth so very much.”
They were now out of the wood, and could see the three country lasses at a little distance.
Don Quixote looked long towards Toboso, but seeing no one anywhere but these girls, he was much troubled in his mind, and asked Sancho if he were sure that the Princess had left the city.
“Left the city!” cried Sancho. “Why where are your eyes, sir? In the name of wonder, do you not see her and her maidens coming towards us now, as bright as the sun at midday?”
“I see nothing, Sancho, but three country wenches riding on asses.”
“Now Heaven help me,” cried Sancho, “is it possible that you can mistake three what do you call ’ems—ambling nags as white as snow, for three asses! Pull my beard out by the roots if it is not so.”
“Believe me, Sancho, they are asses.”
“Come, sir,” answered Sancho, “do but clear your eyes, and go and speak to the Mistress of your Heart, for she is near you now.”
So saying, Sancho hurried up to one of the girls, and, jumping off his ass, fell on his knees before her, gabbling a lot of nonsense.
Don Quixote followed, and also knelt down, gazing with doubting and sorrowful eyes on the creature that Sancho had told him was the beautiful Dulcinea. He was lost in wonder, for she was a flat-nosed, blubber-cheeked, bouncing country girl, and Don Quixote could not utter a word.
“Come! get out of the way,” screamed the girl, “and let us go about our business. We’re in a hurry.”
“Rise, Sancho,” said Don Quixote when he heard the girl’s voice. “I am now convinced that misfortune has not yet finished with me. O most beautiful lady! a spiteful enchanter puts mists before my eyes, and hides from me your loveliness.”
“My grandmother take him!” cried the girl. “Listen to his gibberish! Get out of the way, and let us alone.” And kicking her donkey in the ribs, she galloped away with her friends. Don Quixote followed them long with his eyes.
“O the spite of those wicked enchanters!” he sighed, “to turn my beautiful Dulcinea into so vile a shape as that: to take from her the sweet and delicate scent of fragrant flowers, and give to her what she has. For, to tell the truth, Sancho, she gave me such a whiff of raw onions that it was like to upset me altogether.”
“O the vile and evil-minded enchanters!” cried Sancho. “Oh that I might see the lot of you threaded on one string, and hung up in the smoke like so many herrings.” And Sancho turned away to hide his laughter.
Don Quixote rode on, very sad, and letting “Rozinante” go where he pleased.
HOW DON QUIXOTE FOUGHT WITH A LION; AND HOW HE DEFEATED THE MOORS
As Don Quixote and Sancho Panza went along, they were overtaken by a gentleman in a fine green coat, who rode a very good mare. This gentleman stared very hard at Don Quixote, and the two began to speak together about knight-errantry, and were so interested in what they were saying, that Sancho took the opportunity of riding over to ask for a little milk from some shepherds, who were milking their ewes near at hand.