When Cardenio finishes his story, they hear another dejected soul crying out. They go in search for this person. They find a boy in peasant’s dress washing his feet in a stream. They admire his beauty. He doesn’t seem fit to be a peasant.
When the peasant removes his cap, they realize it is a woman. When she sees them, she begins to run but trips. The curate tells her she has no reason to fear them. They ask her for her story.
Her name is Dorothea. Her parents are wealthy farmers, good and honest people. She was well-loved. She was their heiress, and she helped run their household and business. When not busy with either of those, she pursued feminine past-times: sewing, lacemaking, reading, and playing the harp. She went to Mass early in the morning. Deespite her near nun-like habit, she attracted the attention of Don Fernando. She was flattered by his attentions, but they were unwanted. Her parents warned her about the difference in their rank and to maintain her virtue. Her refusal of him only encouraged his lusts. When he heard of her parents’ plan to marry her to someone else, he appeared in her room and shedded tears. She began to think he did have affection for her. Still, she refused to lay with him—saying she would only consider it if he married her.
He put a ring on her finger and vowed to marry her, even if it infuriated his father. He visited her again, and she allowed him to seduce her, thinking she was to become his wife. After that, he disappeared, though she knew he was still in town. Then she heard that he had married another woman named Luscinda.
Enraged, she got a shepherd boy who worked for her family to help her. She went to the city where Fernando was. Someone told her the whole story about the wedding. When Luscinda fainted, the letter she dropped claimed she was betrothed to Cardenio, and she would kill herself at the end of the ceremony. Don Fernando was about to stab her when her parents intervened. He fled. Cardenio had witnessed the ceremony but also left, leaving a letter behind with harsh words about Luscinda. Luscinda is now missing, and her parents are distraught.
Meanwhile, Dorothea’s parents have offered a reward for her return. She and her servant went into the forest to hide. The shepherd tries to rape her, so she pushes him down a precipice. She, disguised as a boy, went to live with a herdsman for several months. When he discovered she was a girl, he tries to seduce her too. She manages to get away and has concealed herself in this place.