Don Quixote Part 1, Chapter 3 Summary
by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

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Part 1, Chapter 3 Summary

An Account of the Pleasant Method Taken by Don Quixote to Be Dubbed a Knight

Don Quixote cuts his awkward meal short and begs the innkeeper to follow him to the stable where he promptly falls prostrate at the man’s feet and begs a favor of him. He tells the landlord that he intends to spend the night with his armor in the castle’s chapel and would be honored if the innkeeper would dub him a knight in the morning so he can continue his adventures.

By now the innkeeper is well aware of Quixote’s delusional mind and determines to have some fun with him. He tells Quixote that he, too, was once a knight-errant and traveled the world doing deeds of destruction and mayhem. He is sorry to report that his castle’s chapel is under construction but assures him chapel is not necessary. Quixote is welcome to spend his vigil in the courtyard.

The landlord then asks if Quixote has any money; the would-be knight says he has none and never read of any knight who carried money with him. The innkeeper assures Quixote that all knights carry not only money but a box of shirts and a small box of salve to heal their wounds, for most are not fortunate enough to have a sage or magician to travel with them. Knights are also obligated to take care of their squires, and since Quixote will soon be the innkeeper’s “son in chivalry,” he makes the knight-errant promise to carry such necessities from now on.

Quixote prepares for his vigil by gathering his meager arms, placing them in a trough near the well, and watching them as he paces through the night. The innkeeper gathers other to watch the spectacle with admiration by the light of a bright moon. As Quixote keeps his vigil, a carrier from the inn has to bring his mule to the fountain to drink and cannot do so without moving the man’s weaponry. Though Quixote hails the man and warns him against creating a conflict with such a great knight, the donkey’s owner is not deterred; he takes the pile of weapons and throws them aside.

At this insult, Quixote puts on his armor, invokes the name of Dulcinea, and strikes the inconsiderate man over the head with his lance, knocking the carrier unconscious. Quixote then removes his armor, rests his lance against the trough, and continues his vigil. Soon another carrier, unaware of the last man’s fate, also comes to water his mules. When he offers to move the armor, Quixote raises his lance and smashes the man’s head in three or four places, though the lance does not break at all.

Now Quixote is filled with such courage that he would not have backed down from any enemy, and the other carriers, though enraged at the treatment of their colleagues, are afraid to come near him. Instead, they begin to shower him...

(The entire section is 742 words.)