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Summary Chapter 17

Don Quixote comes out of his trance. He tells Sancho the castle is enchanted. He then makes Sancho swear not to reveal the secret he is going to tell him until after his death. Sancho swears, though he hopes Don Quixote dies soon—for he hates keeping secrets.

Don Quixote tells him the governor’s daughter visited him during the night. A giant attacked him during their conversation. This has led Don Quixote to believe that the girl is being kept by an enchanted Moor, and she is not meant for him.

Sancho complains that in their adventures, he bears the worst of the consequences. Don Quixote assures him they will both be cured when they make the balsam.

The Holy Brotherhood officer is startled to find his murder victim alive and well when he returns to the room. Don Quixote rebukes him for his rudeness, for the officer failed to recognize him as a knight and address him as such. The officer shatters the lamp on Don Quixote’s head and leaves.

Don Quixote finally agrees with Sancho that this officer must be the enchanted Moor. He asks his squire to request certain items to make the balsam. Sancho runs into the officer and requests the items. The officer thinks he is mad, but sends for the innkeeper to fulfill the order.

Don Quixote mixes the ingredients together and boils them. He chants over it and blesses it with a cross. He drinks it and vomits immediately. He sleeps for three hours. When he awakes, he feels much better.

Sancho takes the balsam. He gets horrible stomach cramps but does not vomit. He curses Quixote, who decides the mixture only works on knights. Sancho starts vomiting and has diarrhea. He doesn’t get cured but feels weaker.

Don Quixote is ready to leave. He helps Sancho onto his donkey. Don Quixote asks the innkeeper if anyone has ever wronged him, for Quixote will go after them in return for his kindness in offering him shelter. The innkeeper says all he wants is money that is due to him. Quixote realizes that they were staying at an inn after all. He tells the innkeeper that knights don’t have to pay for staying at inns. It is their reward for all the suffering they endure while righting the injustices of the world.

The innkeeper demands his money, saying he doesn’t live in fairy tales. Don Quixote calls the man a blockhead and rides off. Sancho refuses to pay as well, saying the rule for knights applies to their squires. Some of the guests seize Sancho. They use a blanket to toss him into the air.

Don Quixote hears the shrieks and returns to rescue Sancho. The gate is closed, and he cannot climb over the wall. When the crowd finally lets Sancho go, Maritornes gives him some water to drink. Quixote tells him not to drink it. He has more balsam, which will fix him. Sancho angrily reminds him it only works on knights. Maritornes pays for some wine for him to drink.

The innkeeper takes the saddlebags as payment.

Miguel de Cervantes