Subscribe for ad free access & additional features for teachers. Authors: 267, Books: 3,607, Poems & Short Stories: 4,435, Forum Members: 71,154, Forum Posts: 1,238,602, Quizzes: 344

Summary Chapter 18

Seeing Sancho near fainting and unable to ride, Don Quixote states this is proof that the castle was enchanted—and that made Sancho’s tormentors specters from another world. That was why he could not rescue Sancho. He would have avenged Sancho otherwise, even if it meant breaking trhe laws of chivalry about knights attacking commoners.

Sancho tells him he couldn’t defend himself, but he doesn’t believe his tormentors were beings from another world. He suspects that Don Quixote couldn’t defend him for other reasons—like cowardice. He suggests they go home and stop this nonsense.

Don Quixote tells him he has to be patient. It is a great thing to follow this path, and one day Sancho will see that. There is nothing like the taste of victory and triumphing over evil. Sancho points out that Don Quixote has only won one battle, which was against the Biscayan. If the tormentors were specters, he couldn’t triumph over them--and so evil won.

Don Quixote plans to get a special sword that will immune the wearer from enchantments. Sancho wonders if the special sword will only protect knights and leave the squire to fend for himself—just like the balsam. Don Quixote assures Sancho that Heaven will give him his rewards.

They see an immense cloud of dust coming towards them from the front and behind. Don Quixote claims it must be two armies coming towards each other to do battle. The dust cloud is actually being produced by ewes and rams traveling on the same road in different directions.

Don Quixote identifies the armies and what king they belong to. Their enmity began when the Muslim king fell in love with the Christian king’s daughter. Her father refused to bless their union unless the Muslim king gave up his pagan religion.

Don Quixote and Sancho decide to fight for the Christian king. Quixote tell Sancho to abandon his donkey. If the donkey is lost, it will not matter. They will win a lot of horse after the battle. He then tells Sancho to withdraw to a place where they can observe the armies. Don Quixote identifies several soldiers.

Sancho thinks the army is enchanted because he neither sees nor hears the things Don Quixote talks about. Quixote says Sancho’s senses are affected by his fear, and he should stay on the sidelines while his master battles for their champion. Sancho tries to call Quixote back, realizing that this army is actually livestock.

Don Quixote charges and starts killing the animals. The herdsmen shout at him to stop, and then they start throwing stones at him. He gets hit in an injured area. He tries to drink the balsam, but another stone smashes the jug—as well as knock out four teeth and crush two fingers. He falls to the ground. The herdsmen collect their flock and leave.

Sancho comes up to him. Don Quixote tells him that his nemesis changed the armies into livestock to deprive him of victory. He orders Sancho to follow the flocks,for they will turn into men again. However, he then changes his orders—asking Sancho to tend to him. He asks Sancho to look into his mouth to see if he has any teeth left. Just then, he vomits into Sancho’s face.

Sancho, sickened by the smell, vomits on his master. He goes to his saddle bags to find something to clean off with, and that is when he discovers they are missing. He vows to return home, even if it means losng his wages and any chance of becoming governor of an island.

Don Quixote goes up to Sancho and says not to despair. With all the bad luck they are having, good luck is bound to follow eventually. A man can’t distinguish himself unless he achieves more than other men. Sancho just needs to trust in God. Sancho remarks that Quixote makes a better preacher than a knight.

Lacking saddlebags, Quixote realizes they have no food. Sancho tells him how many teeth he has left, which depresses Quixote slightly. He would have rather have lost a limb. Seeing the knight’s mouth pains him, Sancho tries to divert him.

Miguel de Cervantes