Don Quixote Part 1, Chapter 12 Summary
by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

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Part 1, Chapter 12 Summary

The Story Which a Young Goatherd Told to Those That Were With Don Quixote

The young fellow who brings the goatherds provisions from the next village brings the news that Chrysostom, a shepherd and scholar, died this morning. It is said he died from his love for a “devilish, untoward lass” named Marcella, who flaunts herself in shepherdess clothing. Even worse, Chrysostom’s will states that he should be buried in the field, on the exact spot, where he first saw Marcella. The other wishes of the dead man are so odd that they will not be allowed by the parish, but a scholar named Ambrose (who also dresses like a shepherd) intends to carry out his friend’s wishes.

The town is in an uproar, but the odds are in Ambrose’s favor and the elaborate funeral will take place in the morning. The goatherds determine will go; one will stay behind because the thorn in his toe is bothering him. Don Quixote is astounded by this and begs one of the goatherds, Peter, to tell him everything about the deceased man.

Chrysostom was a wealthy gentleman who lived not too far away; he studied at university all day and continued his learning at night. He had a great knowledge of the astrology and made predictions for his family and friends based on that knowledge. One day he came home from university dressed like a shepherd and leading a flock, and his friend Ambrose did the same to keep him company. Chrysostom wrote wonderful verses and songs and was a good friend to everyone. His father died and left his wealth to Chrysostom.

Soon people discovered that Chrysostom made this life change so he could follow the shepherdess Marcella. (Quixote keeps interrupting the story and Peter scolds him into silence.) Marcella’s father was richer than Chrysostom’s and left her all his money when he died. She grew up with her uncle, the parson, and was a fine child and exceptionally beautiful. Men would see her and immediately fall in love with her, but her uncle kept her close to him.

Suitors came from everywhere, and the uncle would have been glad to have her choose one; however, he was unwilling to make a match for her against her will. He spoke of each eligible man’s admirable traits, but Marcella insisted she was too young to wed and finally left to become a shepherdess in the fields, keeping her own sheep along with other shepherdesses of the town. This only caused all the young suitors...

(The entire section is 651 words.)