Part 1, Chapter 9 Summary
The Event of the Most Stupendous Combat Between the Brave Biscainer and the Valorous Don Quixote
At the end of the last book, Don Quixote and a valiant lady’s squire were engaged in a battle in which each man is ready to “discharge on each other two furious and most terrible blows” which, if they fell uncontested, would have divided each man from “head to heel.” Unfortunately, though, the original author of this story did not provide the ending to this battle nor offer any place where one might discover it. This author cannot believe that the story of such a grand and valorous man as Quixote could have remained unfinished.
Because he refuses to accept that nothing more has been written about Quixote, he resolves to discover everything he can about the life and miracles of the renowned Spaniard of La Mancha. This knight-errant is worthy of everlasting and universal praise, and the author gives credit to Providence for putting the lost text back into his hands. Here is how it happened.
A young boy is selling a pile of old written papers to a shopkeeper; the author is intrigued by old manuscripts and cannot resist examining one of them. He has to find someone who understands Spanish to read it for him, and the man he finds immediately starts chuckling at what he reads. When asked, the Spaniard says that a note in the margin says that the Dulcinea del Toboso mentioned in this story is known for being the best at salting pork of anyone in La Mancha. Surprised, the author realizes these old papers must contain the history of Don Quixote de la Mancha.
He is overjoyed at the discovery and immediately makes a deal with the young boy to purchase the manuscript for far less than he would have been willing to pay. He takes the man with him to translate the work exactly, and all the man asks for his labor is many pounds of raisins and wheat, promising to do the work quickly and faithfully. Unwilling to wait longer than he must, the author takes the man home with him and the translation is finished in less than six weeks.
The battle between Don Quixote and the lady’s squire is depicted in a drawing on one leaf of the manuscript. Rozinante is drawn as if the horse is wasted from consumption, and Sancho Panza is drawn as thick, short, and extremely pot-bellied. If there is anything in this story which is not accurate, the author blames it on the translation or the fact that the original author may have, if anything, suppressed the true worth of Quixote rather than embellished it. Every good historian, he says, should be
exact, sincere, and impartial; free from passion, and not to be biased either by interest, fear, resentment, or affection, to deviate from truth, which is the mother of history, the preserver and...
(The entire section is 750 words.)