As for Sancho, he quaked with fear.
“And thou, honest Sancho,” went on Master Peter, “the best squire to the best knight in the world, be not unhappy about your wife. She is well, and at this moment is dressing flax. By the same token, she has at her left hand, to cheer her, a broken-mouthed jug of wine.”
“That’s like enough,” said Sancho.
“Well,” cried Don Quixote, “if I had not seen it with my own eyes, nothing should have made me believe that apes have the gift of second sight. I am in very truth the Don Quixote de la Mancha that this wonderful animal has told you about.”
But he was not quite pleased at the idea of the ape having such powers, and taking Sancho aside he spoke to him seriously on the subject.
While they spoke, the showman came to tell them that the puppet-show was now ready to begin, and Don Quixote and Sancho went into the room where it stood, with candles burning all round it. Master Peter got inside in order to move the puppets, and a boy standing in front explained what was going on.
The story that was acted by the puppets was that of a certain Don Gayferos, who rescued his wife Melisendra from captivity by the Moors in the city of Saragossa. Melisendra was imprisoned in the castle, and the story goes that Don Gayferos, when riding past, in his search, spied her on the balcony. Melisendra, with the help of a rope, lets herself down to her husband, mounts behind him, and the two gallop away from the city. But Melisendra’s flight has been noticed, and the city bells ring an alarm. The Moors rush out like angry wasps, start in pursuit, and the capture and death of Don Gayferos and Melisendra seem certain.
Don Quixote listened and looked with growing excitement and anger, but when he saw the Moors gallop in pursuit and about to close on Don Gayferos and Melisendra, he could keep quiet no longer. Starting up, “It shall never be said,” cried he, “that in my presence I suffered such a wrong to be done to so famous a knight as Don Gayferos. Stop your unjust pursuit, ye base rascals! Stop! or prepare to meet me in battle.”
Then, drawing his sword, with one spring he fell with fury on the Moors, hacking some in pieces, beheading others, and sending the rest flying into every corner. And had not Master Peter ducked and squatted down on the ground behind part of the show, Don Quixote would certainly have chopped off his head also.
“Hold! hold, sir!” cried Master Peter, “for mercy’s sake, hold! These are not real Moors. You will ruin me if you destroy my show.”
But Don Quixote paid not the slightest heed. He went on slashing and hacking till the whole show was a wreck. Everybody ran to get out of harm’s way, and the ape scampered, chattering, on to the roof of the house. Sancho himself quaked with fear, for he had never before seen his master in such a fury.
All the puppet Moors being now cut to pieces, Don Quixote became calmer, saying aloud, “How miserable had been the fate of poor Don Gayferos and Melisendra his wife if I had not been in time to save them from those infidel Moors! Long live knight-errantry!”