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"Within A Stone's Throw"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Measuring distance by the flight of an arrow or the casting of a stone (we say "as far as you can throw a cat by the tail") is a common figure of speech. In Chapter IX, Ginés de Passamonte comes upon the sleeping Don Quixote and his squire. Scorning the bony nag Rozinante, he makes off with Sancho's donkey. The following morning, bewailing his loss, Sancho proceeds on foot. He comes upon a portmanteau which contains clothes, but fear of the Holy Brotherhood keeps him from touching it. He also discovers a mule that, according to a passing shepherd, has been dead a long time. The shepherd confesses he has not dared touch either the harness or the luggage. Sancho agrees:

". . . 'Tis just so with me, gaffer," quoth Sancho; "for I saw the portmanteau too, d'ye see, but the devil a bit would I come within a stone's throw of it; no, there I found it, and there I left it. . . . He that steals a bellwether shall be discovered by the bell."