Tuesday, July 24, 2012

people sometimes go in quest of one thing, and meet with another

As some readers might know, I've been slowly working through my own creative response to Don Quixote for quite some time.  It's technically in the revision stages, so I wouldn't call the little bits I'll share here finished.  But I wouldn't be sharing all of my thoughts on a literary work if I didn't share some of my more "poety" thoughts.

The following is an imaginary letter from Sancho, Don Quixote's squire, to Dapple the donkey.

people sometimes go in quest of one thing, and meet with another*


            Having given more time to considering the matter of the history of our adventures, I found I was puzzled by certain matters which seem to occur in the book differently than I remember, and others which I was shocked to discover any person could have known of.  In the first instance was, your very own abduction by Gines de Passamonte.  For either Cid Hamet Benengeli, or Signor Cervantes Saavedra (or perhaps the English-man*** Mister Smollett) has mistakenly depicted you as having mysteriously re-appeared, before you were joyfully retrieved from Passamonte, the scoundrel.
            With regard to those accounts which I would have thought the author ignorant, there is the most strange matter of the loss of our history, and its retrieval at the exchange of Toledo.  I do not understand how the first part of our exploits came to be known at all.  For, as there was no one present to record the assailment of the innocent wind-mills, the incident of the Benedictine fryars, and the auspicious sally of the sage Don Quixote, upon the Castle of the Innkeeper, together with its damsels—I say, I do not comprehend how these things came to be known if Signor Cervantes (or Cid Hamet Benengeli, or again Mister Smollett) only found the history, as it commenced after these extraordinary adventures.

            And finally, there is the occasion of my own entry into the history, along with your own most valorant self, precisely at Volume One, Book One, Chapter Seven, page eighty and five.  For how could anyone have known that we did in fact list ourselves as Don Quixote’s servants, at that very moment, as no one but our selves was there!  I might almost believe you to have spoken to Signor Cervantes, if I did not know you to be a donkey who keeps his own counsel.
            Altogether I find the explanation of our travels to be almost more confusing than the traveling of them.  I find cause here to rejoice at my own inability to read, or to write, and leave such confusions and obfuscisions to the perusal of such men as the clerk who records this letter for your perusal.
Your humble master and friend,
Sancho Panza

*  de Cervantes Saavedra, Miguel.  The History and Adventures of the Renowned Don Quixote.  Trans. Tobias Smollett.  New York:  Modern Library, 2001.  Print, page 150.  No, no, that's not right.  Page 367.**
**  Sorry.  I was right the first time.  Page 150. 
***  Sancho here makes a slight error as to the nationality of the translator.  Tobias Smollett was in fact a Scottsman, and not an Englishman.

1 comment:

  1. Well, I think this should win an award just for the use of "obfuscisions."

    Very well Sanchoed, Leigh. And in the footnotes, you nearly out-sancho Sancho.

    This brought me smiles and flashbacks.