A cart surrounded by penitents approaches. They surround a nymph. Besides her is Merlin. He tells Quixote that to break the spell upon Dulcinea, Sancho must receive 3300 strokes on his buttocks. Sancho tells Merlin he can find another way to disenchant Dulcinea, or she can remain as she is until her death.
Quixote threatens to double the punishment. Merlin tells him that no one is to give Sancho the lashes. He must inflict it upon himself of his own free will, though he can ask someone to do it for him. Sancho still refuses to do it. He says Quxiote should do it to himself, since Dulcinea is his lady love.
The nymph reproaches Sancho, saying it isn’t a terrible request. Charity boys receive 3300 lashes all the time. She identifies herself as Dulcinea, temporarily restored by Merlin to implore Sancho to do the penance—if not for her, then for his master. Sancho doesn’t care for Dulcinea’s insults, and Quixote willing to beat him himself. He doesn’t want to do it, particularly when he has already had a bad day.
The duke tells Sancho he must do it, or he won’t give him the governorship. He doesn’t want to make Sancho a governor if he ignores the pleas of damsels and the advice of enchanters. Sancho asks for time to thinks about it, but Merlin refuses.
The duchess encourages Sancho to do it. Sancho points out it was Montesinos who was to tell Quixote how to disenchant Dulcinea. Where is he? Merlin replies that the Devil lied about who the messenger would be. He tells Sancho to do it, for it will be good for his soul and physical health. Sancho finally agrees to the terms--so long as he is not required to draw blood, that all lashes count, and that Merlin keeps track of the number. Merlin tells him that when the correct amount is reached, Dulcinea will be resotred and come to thank him.
The cart draws away. Quixote embraces and kisses Sancho. The duke and duchess return to their estate, enjoying their practical joke.
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