Don Quixote is very pleased with himself, feeling like the greatest knight in the world after his triumph. He forgets all the beatings he has received in the past and the ingratitude of the galley slaves. He is confident he can find a way to restore Dulcinea to her former self.
Don Quixote still does not believe the knight he fought was Samson Carrasco or the squire Tom Cecial. Samson is not his enemy or bears him any grudge, so there is no reason why he should challenge him. Sancho points out that Tom knew intimate details about him and his family. He doesn’t understand why the enchanters would choose to make their faces resemble their friends when they could look like anyone else in the world. Don Quixote explains it is a trick to manipulate their emotions and to deprive Quixote of victory. He would have killed the knight had he not looked like Samson.
They encounter a traveller on the road. Seeing the man's curiosity, Don Quixote introduces himself as a knight. He tells how he hopes to revive the order of the knighthood. He mentions how his great deeds have already made print.
The traveller is amazed that there are still knights these days. Nobody seems to help the orphans and widows. Most tales about knights are immoral and discredit the few good histories, which Don Quixote admits is a sad truth. Many tales are probably pure fiction.
The traveller suspects that Quixote is crazy. He introduces himself as Don Diego de Miranda. He is a gentleman with a family. He likes to hunt and fish. He has a library of historical and devotional books. He enjoys entertaining neighbors but is not a gossip. He is a religious man who is charitable. Sancho praises him as a saint, but the man denies this.
Don Diego has a son who is eighteen years old and a student. He wants his son to go into the law, but the boy's passion is poetry. Quixote says it is a parent's duty to guide their children into becoming upstanding citizens. He doesn't think it matters what a child studies. He compares poetry to a beautiful damsel. Those who possess her should protect her from becoming soulless. She shouldn't be sold. She must not be offered up to the ignorant and vulgar who cannot appreciate her. It is better for poets to write in their own tongue. A poet who is pure will produce pure poetry that is highly valued.
Sancho grows ored and gets some milk and cheese curds from some shepherds. Just as Don Diego is about to dismiss his original idea that Quixote is a madman, Quixote spots a cart with royal flags. Sensing another adventure, he calls to Sancho to bring him his helmet.