The Red Romance Book by Various


The Red Romance Book by Various

Author:Various
Language: eng
Format: mobi
Publisher: Public Domain Books
Published: 2006-03-17T05:00:00+00:00


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[194]

THE HELMET OF MAMBRINO

The morning after the last adventure Don Quixote and his squire were riding along the road, when the knight saw in front of him a man on horseback, with something on his head which looked as if it were made of gold.

If my eyes do not deceive me, he said, turning to Sancho Panza, here comes one who wears on his head the helmet of Mambrino.

If I had your worships leave to speak, answered Sancho, who was by this time beginning to learn a little wisdom, I could give many reasons to show that you are mistaken.

How can I be mistaken? cried Don Quixote angrily. Do not you see for yourself that a knight is coming towards us, mounted on a grey horse and with a golden helmet on his head?

All that I can see, replied the squire, is that the man is mounted on a grey donkey like my own, and he has on his head something that glitters.

What you see, answered Don Quixote solemnly, is the helmet of Mambrino.[194-1] Go, stand aside and let me deal with him, for without even speaking to him I will get possession of his helmet, for which my soul has always longed.

Truth to tell, the real story of the helmet, for so Don Quixote took it to be, was very simple. A rich man who lived in a village only a few miles away had sent for the [195]nearest barber to shave and bleed him. The man started, taking with him a brass basin, which he was accustomed to use, and, as a shower of rain soon came on, he put the basin on his head to save his hat, which was a new one. The ass, as Sancho Panza rightly said, was very like his own.

The good man was jogging comfortably along, thinking what he would like for supper, when suddenly he saw Don Quixote galloping towards him, head bent and lance in rest. As he drew near he cried loudly:

Defend yourself, or give me up the helmet, to which you have no right.

The barber was so taken by surprise that for a moment he did nothing; then he had only just time to escape the lance thrust by sliding off his ass and running so swiftly over the plain that even the wind could scarcely overtake him. In his flight the basin fell from his head, to the great pleasure of Don Quixote, who bade his squire bring it to him.

The Unbeliever who wore this helmet first must have had indeed a large head, cried he, turning it over in his hands, seeking the vizor; yet, even so, half of it is wanting.

At this Sancho began to laugh, and his master asked him what he found to divert him so much.

I cannot but laugh when I think how large was the head of the Unbeliever, replied Sancho gravely, knowing that the knight did not love the mirth of other men. But, to my mind, the helmet looks exactly like a barbers basin.



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