“Yield, Sir Knight!” he cried, “or you are a dead man.”
Don Quixote, sorely hurt, but with steadfast look, gasped in a faint voice:
“I do not yield. Dulcinea del Toboso is the most beautiful woman in the whole world. Press on with your spear, Sir Knight, and kill me.”
“Nay,” said the Knight of the White Moon. “That will I not do. I am content if the great Don Quixote return to his home for a year, as we agreed before we fought.”
And Don Quixote answered very faintly that as nothing was asked of him to the hurt of Dulcinea, he would carry out all the rest faithfully and truly. The Knight of the White Moon then galloped away toward the city, where one of the Governor’s friends followed him, in order to find out who he was. The victorious knight was Samson Carrasco, who, some months before, had fought with and had been beaten by Don Quixote. And he explained to the Governor’s friend that all he wanted in fighting was, not to harm Don Quixote, but to make him promise to go home, and stop there for a year, by which time he hoped that his madness about knight-errantry might be cured.
They raised Don Quixote and took off his helmet. His face was very pale, and he was covered with a cold sweat. “Rozinante” was in as bad plight as his master, and lay where he had fallen. Sancho, in great grief, could speak no word, and knew not what to do; to him it was all as a bad dream.
Don Quixote was carried on a stretcher to the town, where for a week he lay in bed without ever raising his head, stricken to the soul by the disgrace of his defeat.
Sancho tried to comfort him.
“Pluck up your heart and be of good cheer, sir,” he cried, “and thank Heaven you have broken no bones. They that give must take. Let us go home and give up looking for adventures.”
“After all, Sancho,” said Don Quixote, “it is only for a year. After that I can begin again, and perhaps then I may be able to make thee an Earl.”
“Heaven grant it” said Sancho.
So when the Knight was once more able to move they set out for home, Don Quixote riding “Rozinante” Sancho walking, for “Dapple” carried the armor.
But all the way Don Quixote did not recover from his melancholy, and when at last they reached his village:
“Help me to bed,” he said, “for I think that I am not very well.”
He was put to bed, and carefully nursed. But a fever had taken hold of him, and for many days Sancho Panza never left his master’s bedside. On the sixth day, the doctor told him he was in great danger. Don Quixote listened very calmly, and then asked that he might be left by himself for a little—he had a mind to sleep. His niece and Sancho left the room weeping bitterly, and Don Quixote fell into a deep sleep.
When he awoke, with a firm voice he cried:
“Blessed be God! My mind is is now clear, and the clouds have rolled away which those detestable books of knight-errantry cast over me. Now can I see their nonsense and deceit. I am at the point of death, and I would meet it so that I may not leave behind me the character of a madman. Send for the lawyer, that I may make my will.”