Don Quixote Volume 1, Chapter 4
Taking the innkeeper's advice, Don Quijote sets out for home in order get money, other supplies and a squire. He soon hears a weak voice moaning from the woods and thanks God for this opportunity to fulfill the oath he has taken. He soon finds the source. It is a fifteen year old boy, tied to a tree, being whipped by a man on his bare back with a leather strap. Don Quijote, seeing a cattle prod against a tree and a horse, loses no time challenging the man (whom he sees as a knight) to combat and calling him a coward.
The man, upon seeing a knight rigged out in full armor sticking a lance in his face, fears for his life. He explains to Don Quijote that the boy had been very careless watching his sheep -- losing one every day -- and had accused his master of withholding his pay out of stinginess. Don Quijote makes the man untie the boy and then demands that he pay him his wages. The man explains that he has no money with him; but if the boy would go back to the house with him, he would do so. The boy says the man will hurt him again if he goes anywhere with him; but, Don Quijote assures him that the man has to obey the laws of knighthood and will do no such thing. Also, Don Quijote promises to return and punish this man if he further harms or cheats him. Despite the boy's protestations that this man is no knight -- honorable or otherwise -- Don Quijote leaves them, feeling well satisfied that the man will carry out his orders and that he had just satisfactorily righted a wrong. But after he leaves, the man grabs the boy, reties him to the tree and whips him to within an inch of his life before untying him.
After traveling a couple of miles, Don Quijote spies a group of people traveling (merchants and their servants from Toledo), and sets about creating another adventure for himself (just like in the books). Sitting astride Rocinante, he trots out to the middle of the road and boldly issues his challenge:
"Let everyone in the world halt, unless the entire world acknowledges that nowhere on earth is there a damsel more beautiful than the Empress of La Mancha, she who has no equal, Dulcinea Del Toboso." Volume 1, Chapter 4, pg. 29
The merchants quickly realize that the man before them is nuts and one man asks to see some proof of this claim in the form of a portrait. Then, they will gladly agree to her superior beauty even if she is missing one eye and ghastly secretions run from the other. This insinuation, that Dulcinea might be ugly, so angers Don Quijote that he charges at the man with his lance and would have done him great harm if not for Rocinante stumbling, falling and throwing Don Quijote down on the road. The rest of the troop are content to leave him there ranting and raving while he unsuccessfully tries to get back on his feet (his old heavy armor and weapons are weighing him down). But one mean muledriver breaks his lance and thoroughly thrashes Don Quijote with these broken pieces. During all this, our hero continues to insult and threaten the departing party. After the muledriver leaves, he tries again to get up on his feet, but can not. Nevertheless, he feels okay about all that has just transpired since it is something that could happen to a knight errant and is all Rocinante's fault.