| Stories of Don Quixote Written Anew for Children|
|by James Baldwin|
|A retelling for the youthful reader of the most interesting parts of Cervantesí great novel about Don Quixote, the eccentric gentleman who fancies himself a knight-errant. The adventures most appealing to children are included, and related in such a way as to form a continuous narrative, with both the spirit and style of the original preserved as much as possible. Ages 10-12 |
WITH FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS
 FOR nearly a month Don Quixote remained at home, seeing no one at all but his niece and the housekeeper. The curate
and the barber came daily to inquire how he was doing; but they kept carefully out of his sight lest they might
hinder his recovery.
At length the niece told them that he was well and in his right mind. Would they not come in and see him?
"With much pleasure," answered the barber; and they were ushered in.
They found the poor gentleman sitting up in his bed. He wore a waistcoat of green baize, and on his head was a
red nightcap. His eyes were bright, and his voice was clear; but his face and body were so withered and wasted
that he looked like a mummy.
He seemed glad to see his two old friends. They sat down by his bedside, and talked with him
 about a great many matters. They tried to say nothing about knight-errantry, but at last the subject came up in
spite of them.
Then Don Quixote grew eloquent. He talked about knights and giants and famous heroes, scarcely giving the curate
room to put in a word.
His friends saw with sadness that his mind still ran towards the same great passion. They saw that it was his
intention, sooner or later, to ride out again to seek new adventures. So when at last they took their
departure, the curate again whispered a word of caution to the niece.
"Keep a good watch upon him," he said. "Let
 everything be very quiet around him, and don't let him think about going away from home."
As Don Quixote improved in strength and became able to walk about the house, other neighbors and friends
dropped in to see him. He welcomed each one cheerfully, and never failed to say something in praise of
knighthood. But they, having been cautioned by the curate, talked to him only about the weather and the crops,
and soon took their leave. And so the poor man gradually grew stronger and seemed to be quite well contented.
One morning, however, who should knock at the door but Sancho Panza.
"I have come to see the valorous Don Quixote," he said to the niece.
"You shall see nobody!" she answered, holding the door against him. "You shall not enter the house, you
"Go, go!" cried the housekeeper. "It's all along of you and nobody else, that he has been enticed and carried
a-rambling all over the world."
"No such thing," answered Sancho. "It's I that have been enticed and carried a-rambling, and not your master.
It was he that took me from house
 and home, saying he would give me an island; and I'm still waiting for it."
"An island! What's that?" said the niece. "If it's anything to eat, I hope it'll choke you."
"You're wrong there," answered Sancho. "Islands are not to eat; they're to govern."
"Well, anyhow, you don't come in here," said the niece. "Go govern your own house, plow your own field, and
don't trouble yourself about anybody's islands and dry lands. They're not for such as you."
It so happened that the curate and the barber, who were just taking their leave after a short visit, heard the
whole of this little quarrel. They were much amused by it, and were about to give their help to the niece when
Don Quixote himself came to the door.
 "Welcome, my faithful friend," he said; and giving his niece a sharp rebuke, he led Sancho into the house.
"Now mark me," whispered the curate, "our neighbor will soon be rambling again in spite of all that we can do."
Don Quixote led his squire into the bedroom and locked the door. Then the two sat down together and talked of
the glories and perils of knighthood.
"What say you, friend Sancho?" said the knight. "Will you return to my service? What does your good wife say?"
"She says that a man must not be his own carver," answered Sancho. "She says that it is good to be certain;
that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush; that one hold-fast is better than two may-be-so's. A woman's
counsel is not worth much, yet he that despises it is no better than he should be."
"I say so too," said Don Quixote. "You talk like pearls to-day. But what shall I understand from all that?"
"Why, sir," answered Sancho, "I wish you to
 give me so much a month for my wages. For other rewards come late, and may not come at all. A little in one's
own pocket is better than much in another's purse. Set a hen upon an egg. Every little makes a mickle."
"You are wise, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "and I understand the drift of all your proverbs."
"Certainly," answered Sancho, "and I should like to know what I am going to get. If you should sometime give me
that island, I would then be willing to knock a proper amount off of the wages."
"As to the wages," said Don Quixote, "I would pay them willingly if it were allowed by our order. But in all
the books I have ever read, there is no account of a knight paying wages to his squire. The servant was always
given an island, or something of that sort, and there was an end of it."
"But suppose that the island was not forthcoming?" said Sancho.
"I abide by the customs of chivalry," said Don Quixote, firmly. "If you desire not to take the same risks of
fortune as myself, heaven be with
 you. I can find a squire more obedient and careful than you have ever been, and much less talkative."
Sancho's heart sank within him. He had not expected an answer like this. In fact he had thought that Don
Quixote could not possibly do without him. He was so taken aback that he did not know what to say or do.
At that moment there was a knock at the door. It was opened, and in came the housekeeper and the niece, and
with them a young man of the village whose name was Samson Carrasco.
This young man was just home from the great college at Salamanca, where he had received his bachelor's degree.
He was none of the biggest in body, but a very great man in all sorts of drollery. He was about twenty-four
years old; his face was round; his mouth was large; and his eyes sparkled with good humor.
"You are a scholar," whispered the niece, as they entered the room. "Try to persuade him from riding out
But Samson liked nothing so well as sport, and he was a great actor and mimic. He threw himself
 at Don Quixote's feet and delivered a speech that was full of flattery and big words.
"O flower of chivalry," he cried, "refulgent glory of arms, the pride of Spain! Let all who would prevent thy
third going out be lost and disappointed in their perverse wishes."
Then, turning to the housekeeper, he said, "You must not detain him; for while he stays here idle, the poor are
without a helper, orphans are without a friend, the oppressed are without a defender, and the world is deprived
of a most valorous knight."
To this speech the housekeeper could make no reply, and Samson therefore turned again to Don Quixote.
"Go forth then, my graceful, my fearless hero," he said. "Let your greatness be on the wing. And if anything be
needful to your comfort or your service, here I am to supply it. I am ready to do anything. I am ready, yes,
ambitious, to attend you as your squire and faithful servant."
Don Quixote was deeply moved. He took the young man by the hand, and embraced him. "No, my friend," he said,
"it would be unfair that Samson Carrasco, the darling of courts and the glory of
 the Salamanca schools, should devote his talents to such a purpose. I forbid it. Remain in thy country, the
honor of Spain and the delight of thy parents. Although Sancho declines to go with me, there are plenty of
others who will be glad to serve as my squire.
At these words Sancho burst into tears and cried out, "Oh, I'll go! I'll go with you, sir! I have not a heart
of flint; and if I spoke about wages, it was only to please my wife."
 So the two embraced, and were as good friends as before; and with the advice of Samson Carrasco it was agreed
that on the third day they would set out on their new trial of adventures.
The niece and the housekeeper made a woeful out-cry. They tore their hair. They scratched their faces. They
scolded; they pleaded; they wept bitter tears. But nothing could change the designs of the valorous knight.
The curate and the barber, as well as the women, blamed Samson Carrasco for the whole business. But he
understood the case better than they. "It is wiser not to restrain him," he said. "He will find the cure for
his malady not here, but on the road. So let us humor him."
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