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Summary Chapter 16

The innkeeper’s wife and lovely daughter tend to Don Quixote’s injuries. There is another woman who is not beautiful but has a good body named Maritornes, who helps them tend to the two men. Sancho told them that Don Quixote fell on some sharp rocks, but the innkeeper’s wife is suspicious of that story—for it looks like blows.

He tells them that Don Quixote is the finest knight there is. Today he is not at his best, but tomorrow he’ll be handing his squire a crown. The landlady comments that if Quixote is such a great knight, Sancho should be an earl by now. Sancho tells her it is early in his career. Don Quixote thanks them in a flowery speech, which confuses them.

Don Quixote and Sancho share a room with a carrier. Maritornes had agreed to sleep with the carrier. He lays down and waits for her.

Quixote and Sancho can’t sleep due to the pain of their injuries. Quixote is imagining that the landlord’s daughter is in love with him, and she is offering herself to him…but he refuses because his heart belongs to Dulcinea.

Maritornes enters, and Don Quixote seizes her. He imagines her to be a beautiful princess, coming to visit him. Even though her breath smells, it doesn’t shatter the illusion. He tells her if his heart didn’t belong to Dulcinea, he would gladly ravish her.

Maritornes is frightened and has been trying to escape. The carrier hears Don Quixote’s words and becomes jealous. He punches Don Quixote.

The innkeeper, hearing the racket, suspects that Maritornes is having one of her nightly visits. The girl, frightened of her master’s wrath, jumps into Sancho’s bed to hide. Sancho awakes, and panicked, starts punching the figure with his fists. Maritornes fights back. The carrier goes to her rescue. The innkeeper also goes to her, but he wants to beat her. They all wind up giving each other blows.

An officer of the Holy Brotherhood hears the racket and goes to investigate. He sees Don Quixote lying motionlessly and thinks he is dead. He orders the building to be locked up. The others retire to their beds. The officer intends to investigate the matter.

Miguel de Cervantes