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The History of Don Quixote de la Mancha

I weighed the bulls of Guisando

justify;"> Much conversation passed between the two knights. Among other things, he of the Wood said to Don Quixote, "In fact, sir knight, I must confess that, by destiny, or rather by choice, I became enamoured of the peerless Casildea de Vandalia:--peerless I call her, because she is without her peer, either in rank, beauty, or form. Casildea repaid my honourable and virtuous passion by employing me as Hercules was employed by his stepmother, in many and various perils; promising me, at the end of each of them, that the next should crown my hopes; but, alas! she still goes on, adding link after link to the chain of my labours, insomuch that they are now countless; nor can I tell when they are to cease, and my tender wishes be gratified. One time she commanded me to go and challenge Giralda, the famous giantess of Seville, who is as stout and strong as if she were made of brass, and, though never stirring from one spot, is the most changeable and unsteady woman in the world. I came, I saw, I conquered; I made her stand still, and fixed her to a point; for, during a whole week, no wind blew but from the north. Another time she commanded me to weigh those ancient statues, the fierce bulls of Guisando, an enterprise better suited to a porter than a knight. Another time she commanded me to plunge headlong into Cabra's cave (direful mandate!), and bring her a particular detail of all that lies enclosed within its dark abyss. I stopped the motion of the Giralda, I weighed the bulls of Guisando, I plunged headlong into the cavern of Cabra and brought to light its hidden secrets; yet still my hopes are dead! In short, she has now commanded me to travel over all the provinces of Spain, and compel every knight whom I meet to confess that in beauty she excels all others now in existence; and that I am the most valiant and the most enamoured knight in the universe. In obedience to this command I have already traversed the greatest part of Spain, and have vanquished divers knights who have had the presumption to contradict me. But what I value myself most upon is having vanquished, in single combat, that renowned knight Don Quixote de la Mancha, and made him confess that my Casildea is more beautiful than his Dulcinea; and I reckon that, in this conquest alone, I have vanquished all the knights in the world; for this Don Quixote has conquered them all, and I, having overcome him, his glory, his fame, and his honour, are, consequently transferred to me. All the innumerable exploits of the said Don Quixote I therefore consider as already mine, and placed to my account."

Don Quixote was amazed at the assertions of the Knight of the Wood, and had been every moment at the point of giving him the lie; but he restrained himself, that he might convict him of falsehood from his own mouth; and therefore he said, very calmly, "That you may have vanquished, sir knight, most of the knights-errant of Spain, or even of the whole world, I will not dispute; but that you have conquered Don Quixote de la Mancha I have much reason to doubt. Some one resembling him, I allow, it might have been; though, in truth, I believe there are not many like him." "How say you?" cried he of the Wood; "as sure as I am here alone, I fought with Don Quixote, vanquished him, and made him surrender to me! He is a man of an erect figure, withered face, long and meagre limbs, grizzle-haired, hawk-nosed, with large black mustachios, and styles himself the Knight of the Sorrowful Figure. The name of his squire is Sancho Panza; he oppresses the back and governs the reins of a famous steed called Rozinante--in a word, the mistress of his thoughts is one Dulcinea del Toboso, formerly called Aldonza Lorenzo, as my Casildea, being of Andalusia, is now distinguished by the name of Casildea de Vandalia. And now, if I have not sufficiently

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