Book Notes

Volume 2, Chapter 14 Notes from Don Quixote

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Don Quixote Volume 2, Chapter 14

The Knight of the Wood tells Don Quijote of the lady he serves, Casildea of Vandalia, and how there is none larger and none more beautiful. But alas, she is fickle and despite his successful completion of the Herculean tasks she sets out before him, remains aloof. His latest quest is to challenge all the knight errants of Spain and get them to pronounce her the most beautiful woman alive. He then claims that he even defeated Don Quijote de La Mancha and made him admit that Casildea was more beautiful than Dulcinea. Don Quijote eventually reveals his identity; but, the Knight of the Wood maintains that his defeat of Don Quijote still counts even if it was only a look-alike crafted by an evil magician. Nevertheless, he agrees to a rematch with Don Quijote, and suggests the terms of defeat be the loser must do whatever the winner tells him to do within the bounds of appropriate behavior for a knight errant. Don Quijote agrees and they agree to wait till daylight.

It is still dark when they wake the squires and inform them of these new plans and to help them get ready. The Knight of the Wood's squire informs Sancho that it is the custom where he comes from for the squires of knight errants to fight each other. Sancho says he has no intention of honoring this strange custom; besides, he doesn't have a sword. The squire suggests they conduct a pillow fight and hit each other with canvas bags. Sancho warms up to this idea, until the squire adds that they will need to place some rocks in the bags to keep them from blowing away. After Sancho explains that he cannot fight a man he is not angry with, the squire says he'll punch Sancho in the face a few times and that ought to do the trick. Sancho says he has an even better idea -- that he will beat the squire to death -- and that will be an end to it!

When dawn arrives, Sancho sees the squire's nose that is a huge, hooked affair with purple warts upon it. Sancho is terrified. Don Quijote gets his first glimpse of his opponent whose identity is masked by his helmet and is wearing a golden garment covered with mirrors over his armor. Now referred to as the Mirrored Knight, Don Quijote asks for a peek at his face, but the knight refuses. As they mount their horses and ready for battle, Don Quijote takes a moment to help Sancho get up a tree away from the huge monstrous nose of the other squire. Unaware of the delay, the Mirrored Knight had begun his charge forward, expecting Don Quijote to be similarly engaged. He stopped when he realized Don Quijote was not ready, but Don Quijote had caught sight of him charging and spurred Rocinante on to battle and hit the knight right off his horse.

Don Quijote quickly removes his vanquished foe's helmet and sees by the face of the Samson Carrasco. Believing enchantment to be at work, he is about to kill him when the squire, now appearing without his huge nose and looking like Sancho's neighbor and good friend Tomé Cecial, yells for them to stop. Carrasco agrees to Don Quijote's demand that he admit to Dulcinea's peerless beauty and to present himself to her. Although Sancho recognizes the face of his friend, he joins Don Quijote in the belief that enchantment is at work.

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