January 28, 2023

Montesinos’s Cave

Montesinos’s Cave

Montesinos’s Cave
Don Quixote Novel

After Don Quixote stays with Basilio the Poor and Quiteria the fair for three days, he asks a “student swordsman to provide him with a guide to take him to the cave of Montesinos, because he has a strong desire to enter it and see for himself whether there is any truth in the marvels that were related about it in those parts.” The student swordsman replies that “a cousin of his, a famous scholar [who is] fond of reading books of chivalry, would be most willing to take him to the mouth of the cave, and to show him the Lakes of Rudiera, also a long Themes post from Don Quixote famous throughout La Mancha.” So decided, the swordsman’s “cousin [rides] a pregnant donkey” laden with provisions; Sancho Panza saddles Rocinante, then “stocks [Dapple’s] food bags,” and “[the trio set off] in the direction of the famous Cave of Montesinos.” On their first “night [the men] stay in a little village, no more than half a dozen miles from the Cave of Montesinos, [where the cousin tells Don Quixote] that if he plans to go into [the cave] he [has] to equip himself with rope so that he can be tied up and lowered [slowly] into its depths.” Don Quixote replies that “even if he [has] to go down to the depths of hell, he [is] determined to reach the bottom of the cave.” Thus, the men buy “almost two hundred yards of rope [and] the following day, at two o’clock in the afternoon, they reach the cave, the mouth of which yawns wide but is choked with buckthorn and wild fig trees, brambles and weeds, so thickly matted that [this undergrowth] covers and blocks it.” On coming “within sight of [the mouth of the cave] all three [men] dismount, and the cousin and Sancho tie the Don Quixote published a blog post rope securely round Don Quixote.” When girding Don Quixote with the rope, and swathing him with a protective covering, Sancho Panza tells his mentor to “watch what he does [in the cave because he shouldn’t] bury [himself] alive or stick [himself] in there like a bottle of wine put down a well to keep cool, [since the] hole must be worse than a Dungeon.” In reply, Don Quixote tells Sancho Panza to “hold [his] tongue [and] tie [him] up [because] this brave exploit is reserved for [him] alone.” Before lowering him into Montesinos’s Cave, however, the guide entreats Don Quixote to keep his “eyes peeled and closely observe everything in there, because it might contain material [he can] include in [his upcoming book] Transformations.” After securing Don Quixote’s “trussing, over his doublet, not over his armour, [Don Quixote laments that] it was careless of [them] not to tie a small bell to the rope next to him [since] its’ sound would have indicated that [he] was still descending and still alive.”

With these words Don Quixote “walks to the edge of the abyss and sees that he can’t be let down or find any way in unless he pulls or hacks the vegetation away.” So Don Quixote “draws his sword and begins to cut down the undergrowth covering the mouth of the cave.” The noise of the hacking “brings an infinity of enormous ravens and rooks flying out, so thick and so fast that they [throw] Don Quixote to the ground.” Eventually, Don Quixote “comes to his feet, [surveys the area] and sees that no more crows [are] emerging, or birds of the night [either] such as the bats that had flown out with the crows.” Thus, assured, the guide and Sancho Panza “lower [Don Quixote] into this Themes blog post by Don Quixote the dreadful cave.” As Don Quixote “descends he shouts to [his companions] to let out rope, little by little, [so his descent is gradual].” Bit by bit, Don Quixote’s shouts fade, then cease altogether. Such silence, coupled with the fact that the guide and Sancho Panza let “out the full two hundred yards of the rope,” compel the men to pull Don Quixote up. But first “they wait for about half an hour [to] pull the rope” up to give Don Quixote a chance to explore. So decided, after thirty minutes, the guide, and Sancho Panza, retract the rope “with great ease because there isn’t any weight on it, which [makes] them suppose that Don Quixote had remained down below.” With the belief that Don Quixote has perished in the cave, Sancho Panza “weeps bitter tears and pulls the rope in at a speed to learn the truth.” To his great joy, however, at “a hundred and fifty yards” he feels a weight. Then at “twenty yards” the two men can “clearly see Don Quixote.” Thus, Sancho Panza shouts a welcome to his master knight, saying, excitedly, that they “thought [he was] staying down there for keeps.”

Thoroughly unconscious, Don Quixote does not “utter one word in reply.” So “they pull him [completely] out [of the cave, only to see that his] eyes are shut and he seems to be asleep” in a deep trance. But when the guide and Sancho Panza “roll [Don Quixote] back and forth and shake him to and fro, he wakes up [with a] stretch [after] a deep and heavy sleep.” When Don Quixote opens his eyes he “looks about him [wildly] in alarm, [ranting about] hapless Montesinos, sore wounded Durandarte, unfortunate Belerma, [and] weeping Guadiana.” After forgiving his “friends for taking him away from the most delicious and delightful life and sights that any man has ever lived or seen,” Don Quixote asks for something to eat because he is very hungry. Right away, Sancho Panza “spreads the cousin’s sackcloth on the green grass, ransacks the pantry in [his] saddle bags, and the three [friends eat] lunch and supper all in one, in love and good fellowship.” Free of heat and discomfort, Don Quixote says that at about “twenty or thirty yards from the bottom of [the Cave, he saw] a concave space with [ample] room for a large cart and its mules.” Lighted by “dim” beams shinning through “cracks or holes” from the earth’s distant surface, Don Quixote “spots this concavity [just when he] feels weary and frustrated from dangling at the end of [his] rope.” Exhausted from his journey, Don Quixote decides to “enter and rest” in this chamber. With this plan in mind, Don Quixote “coils the rope [being sent down] in a pile.” Then he “sits down on top of it, deep in thought.” Suddenly, a “deep sleep” overcomes Don Quixote, from which he awakes to “find [himself] in the middle of the most beautiful, pleasant, delightful meadow that nature could create.” To ensure that he is “not asleep but wide awake, [Don Quixote] opens [his] eyes wide, [and] rubs them to alertness.” Feeling his “head and chest” to ensure he is not a ghost, eventually, Don Quixote realizes that he is alive. Then he sees “a sumptuous royal palace [with] walls of clear crystal, [as] two great doors open wide.”

Out of these doors “walks [an] old man wearing a cloak of purple flannel that trails over the ground.” Draped “over [this old man’s] shoulders and chest is [a narrow] collegiate [scarf] made of green satin.” On his head this old man wears “a round black Milan Don Quixote’s post about Themes cape, and his grey beard reaches below his waist.” Though this old man is “not baring any arms he [is] carrying a rosary, with beads larger than the average walnut, [with] every tenth one larger than an Ostrich egg.” His bearing, his gait, his gravity, along with his “powerful presence, astonishes and bewilders Don Quixote.” Suddenly, this old man seizes Don Quixote, gives him a “warm embrace,” and says to our knight that he has been waiting for his visit for a long time so Don Quixote can inform the world about what is hidden in the deep cave into which he has entered. Then, this old man asks Don Quixote to “come with [him to see] the marvels concealed in this transparent castle, of which [he is] the warden and perpetual head guard, [the one and only] Montesinos, from whom the cave takes its name.”

The first question Don Quixote asks Montesinos is “whether there is any truth [to the rumor] that he had taken a small dagger and cut his great friend Durandarte’s heart out of his breast, and carried it to the lady Belerma, as Durandarte himself had ordered when he lay dying.” Montesinos replies that “everything [people] say is true, except regarding the dagger itself, because it had not been a dagger at all, not even a small one, but a keen poniard, sharper than an awl.” Next, Don Quixote recounts that “the venerable Montesinos took [him] into [a] crystal palace, where in a room on the ground floor, wonderfully cool and made of alabaster, there was a marble tomb, constructed with consummate skill, upon which [he] saw that a knight of real flesh and blood was lying.” His “right hand, [Don Quixote tells us, was] somewhat hairy and sinewy (a sign of great strength) [which] a long Characters blog post from Don Quixote was held [snugly] over his heart.” Here, Montesinos tells Don Quixote that the knight who lies on the tomb “is [his great] friend Durandarte, kept, [there] enchanted, as he and many other men and women are, [bewitched] by Merlin, a French Sorcerer, who is said to have been the devil’s son.” After speculating on how and why they are enchanted, Montesinos recounts that Durandarte “breathed [his last breath] in [his] arms, after which [Montesinos cut out Durandarte’s heart with his own hands, [which] weighed a good two pounds.” Montesinos tells us that “according to doctors [Durandarte was endowed] with more courage than a man with a small heart.” Even though Durandarte is dead, “he moans and sighs every so often as if he were alive.” On Cue, Durandarte cries out:

“‘O my cousin Montesinos,

Listen to my last request:

When I’m lying dead before you

And my soul’s flown from my breast,

Take a poniard or a dagger,

Cut my heart from out of me,

Carry it to fair Belerma,

To wherever she may be.”

Hearing this, Montesinos kneels by his cousin, Durandarte’s, side swearing that he “did indeed carry out [his] request on that fateful day of [their] defeat; [by] cutting out [his] heart, as best [he] could, leaving not the tiniest scrap behind in [his] breast.” In fact, Montesinos promises that he “wiped it clean with a lace handkerchief, left with it at top speed for France as soon as [he] had laid [Durandarte] in the bosom of the earth, weeping such abundant tears that there Don Quixote wrote in a blog post were enough of them to wash [his] hands clean of all the blood [he] had on them rummaging around inside Durandarte.” Moreover, Montesinos tells Durandarte that “in the first village [he] came to after leaving Roncevalles [he] sprinkled a little salt on [his] heart, to stop it from smelling.” Afterwards, Montesinos avers that he brought it “if not fresh then at least pickled, into the presence of the lady Belerma, [who] has [also] been kept [in the cave] in enchantment by the sage Merlin.” Then Montesinos tells Durandarte that although “five hundred years have now passed by, none of [them have] died.” The only ones, Montesinos continues, “who are no longer with [them] are Ruidera and her daughters and nieces, because Merlin must have felt sorry for them when he saw them crying, and turned them into lakes which are now, in the world of the living known as the Lakes of Ruidera in the province of La Mancha.”

Similarly, Montesinos informs readers that his “squire Guadiana, also lamenting [Durandarte’s] misfortune, was changed into a river named after him.” After a long explanation about how these lakes reveal the sadness of Durandarte’s loved ones, Montesinos tells Durandarte that before him “stands the great knight about whom Merlin has made so many prophecies.” Specifically, Montesinos refers to “Don Quixote, [as a knight errant] who has newly revived in the present age, and with great improvements over ages past, the forgotten order of knight errantry.” Moreover, Montesinos tells Durandarte that Don Quixote is a wandering knight come to “disenchant” the lot of them. After whispering, in a faint and feeble voice, how Don Quixote may disenchant them if he is lucky, Durandarte “turns on his side and sinks back into silence, without uttering another word.” After hearing “deep groans and anguished sobs” marking the passing of Durandarte, Don Quixote turns his head, look through the crystal walls and sees in another room “a procession of two files of lovely damsels, all in mourning, wearing white turbans in the Turkish style.” Don Quixote reports that “at the rear of the [procession comes] a lady wearing black, with white weeds so full and long that they brush the floor.” Her turban, our knight tells us, is “twice as large as that of any of the damsels [and] in her hands she carries a piece of fine cambric and inside it, [is enclosed] a heart that must have been mummified, to judge from its dry and shriveled aspect.”

Then, Montesinos tells Don Quixote that “all the people in the procession were the servants of Durandarte and Belerma, enchanted together with their master and mistress, and that the lady on the end, carrying the heart wrapped in cambric, was the lady Belerma, who formed that procession four times a week, to sing, or rather wail, dirges over her cousin’s body and afflicted heart.” Don Quixote then tells readers that the lady Belerma’s pallor and rings under her eyes are caused by the pain which her heart feels for that other heart that she always clasps between her hands and that reminds her of the misfortune of her lover who died so young. Another vision Montesinos reveals to Don Quixote is one involving “Dulcinea [and] two other village girls leaping and frolicking like three delightful goats on the outskirts El Toboso.” After concluding his tale about Montesinos, Don Quixote learns that though he was in Montesinos’s cave for about an hour it seemed like three days to him because he remembers that it was night, then morning, than all over three times again. Later in the story, Sancho Panza Asks Master Pedro (Gines de Pasamonte) If What Happened In Montesinos’s Cave Is True, “because to [his] mind, it was all tricks and lies, or at the very least a dream.” So compelled, Don Quixote “requests [Gines de Pasamonte] to ask the ape straight away to tell him whether certain things that had happened [to him] in the Cave of Montesinos had been true or had been dreams, because he himself thought that some of both were involved.” In reply, Master Pedro’s ape “whispers that part of what [Don Quixote] saw or experienced in the said cave was false, and that part of it was credible.’” At this reply Sancho Panza is “convinced that [what happened [in Montesinos’s Cave] was part and parcel of the same great lie,” while Don Quixote stands by the truths of what Master Pedro’s monkey tells him about the Cave of Montesinos.

Thirty four pages later, Don Quixote’s “description of his adventure in the Cave of Montesinos” prompts the Duke and Duchess of Aragon to pretend that an enchanted Dulcinea can only be enchanted if Sancho Panza whips his bum 3, 300. Twenty pages later, when the Duchess of Aragon asks Sancho Panza “about the Cave of Montesinos, Sancho Panza gives her a painstaking account of what happened down there.” From this episode, the A Long Characters Blog Post From Don Quixote Duchess infers that what “Don Quixote says he saw [in Montesinos’s cave, namely that] the leaping peasant girl was and is Dulcinea, is certainly true.” At this, Sancho Panza concedes that “what [his master] saw in the Cave of Montesinos [regarding his] lady Dulcinea del Toboso” is believable. One hundred and forty two pages later, when Sancho Panza and Dapple fall into a hole, our squire laments that he is “not going to be as lucky as [his] master was when he went down into the enchanted cave of Montesinos, and found people to look after him better than in his own home, [seeing] fair and pleasant visions there.” Fifty three pages later, Sancho Panza asks Senor Antonio Moreno’s magical bust if what took place in the Cave of Montesinos is true or not: “Tell me, O you that answer so well, was what I describe as having happened in the Cave of Montesinos the truth or a dream?” As usual, the bust gives a mixed response: “About that cave, there is much to be said: there is a little of both in it.”

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Originally posted 2020-01-02 01:29:39.