Don Quixote Volume 2, Chapter 31
Volume 2, Chapter 31
Sancho's joy knows no bounds to find himself so favored by a Duchess; because he knows good food and good times come with such favor. The duke rides on ahead to give the servants instructions on how to treat their arriving guests. Upon his arrival, they dressed Don Quijote in a long red cloak, then a great crowd of servants sing out welcome and praise and sprinkle perfumed water upon him. This is exactly how knight errants are greeted in books and for the first time ever, Don Quijote feels like a real knight errant.
Sancho, suddenly remembering his donkey, asks a lady in waiting to see to his donkey's needs in the stable. She informs him that her name isDoña Rodriguez de Grijalba and that such tasks are not in her job description, and to go to hell. Sancho tells her that ladies in waiting took care of Lancelot's horse. She tells him that she's not buying this act and the only thing he'll get from her is the middle finger! Going for her Achilles' heel, Sancho suggests she is an Old Maid. Furious now, she calls him a son of a female dog and that her age is none of his garlicky breath business! The Duchess, hearing the commotion, asks what in the world is going on and Doña Rodriguez says that Sancho has called her old. She says this was very mean of Sancho and incorrect, as she is not old. Sancho says he has been misunderstood, that he only spoke to the lady because she seemed so kind-hearted and he was concerned for his donkey. The Duke promises that the donkey will of course receive the best of care -- just like Sancho. Don Quijote is not thrilled that his squire is receiving such favor. After they have been escorted to their bedroom and left alone, Don Quijote lets Sancho have it.
"Tell me, you brand-new buffoon and thoroughly ancient pest." Volume 2, Chapter 31, pg 523
He asks him what in the world he was thinking of to insult the lady in waiting? If he doesn't keep his mouth shut he is going to ruin everything because no one is going to believe a top-notch knight errant would have such an idiot squire. Sancho promises to think before he speaks.
After dressing in the rest of the clothes the Duke and Duchess had given him, Don Quijote and Sancho return to the Duke and Duchess and their priest. The Duke insists that Don Quijote sit at the head of the table and Sancho, amazed at this preferential treatment his master is receiving, finds he is suddenly inspired to tell a tale. Don Quijote starts to shake, imagining some new idiocy forthcoming from his squire's mouth; but, Sancho tells him (in front of everybody) not to worry that he has not forgotten his master's instructions to watch what he says. Don Quijote advises the Duke that it might be best to have Sancho, whom he refers to as idiot, leave. But the Duchess rushes to her pet's defense and says she will not be parted from the wise squire.
He tells a story, complete with a variety of unnecessary digressions, of a rich nobleman who insisted that a farmer sit at the head of his table. The humble farmer kept refusing until the nobleman, angered and having lost his patience, forced him to a chair, calling the farmer an idiot since the head of the table would always be where the nobleman sat -- no matter where it was. Sancho finishes of this demolishment of Don Quijote by adding that he thinks this story fits in with the conversation very nicely. The Duchess, seeing Don Quijote about to explode changes the subject to news of Dulcinea. He explains how she has been hit with the ugly wand; Sancho says she looked fine to him and very graceful.
The priest who has been flinging sarcastic comments at Sancho previously, now realizes that Don Quijote is none other than, well...Don Quijote! He angrily asks the Duke why is he leading this idiot on? He then tells Don Quijote that he is an idiot and everyone is laughing at him and to just go home and stop his nonsense. Don Quijote stands up and...