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Summary Chapter 97

Sancho arrives at one of the best towns in the duke’s possession that has 1000 people. Sancho is given a warm-hearted welcome by the people. He is given the keys to the city and made the governor. Not everyone is in on the secret, but all are surprised by his appearance.

He is placed on a throne, and a steward tells him it is the custom of the new governor to be posed some difficult questions. His answers will either assure his people of his wisdom or make them regret his coming.

Sancho asks what is written on the wall. It is an inscription about when he took control of the island. Sancho objects to the “Don” title. He was never a Don, nor were any of his family.

The first case, a man tells Sancho he lent an elderly man 10 crowns of gold with the idea that they were to be repaid when asked for. He waited a while before asking the old man to repay them. He has asked many times. The man doesn’t remember the debt or claims he has already paid it. There are no witnesses to his loan nor to the man’s claims it was paid. The man asks for Sancho to to put the man under oath. If the man swears he returned the money, he’ll forgive the debt.

The old man says the other man did lend him the money. He asks for the plaintiff to hold his cane, and then he swears he has given the money back to him. The plaintiff gives the cane back, looking resigned. Sancho asks for the cane. He gives it to the plaintiff and says he has just been paid. When they split the cane, they find the ten crowns in it. Sancho realized the money was in the cane because the old man gave the cane to the plaintiff to hold when he swore he gave the money back to him. The people are impressed. Sancho remarks that he might be a blockhead, but God helps him with his judgments.

The next case, a woman accuses a rich man of raping her. The man claims he went into town to sell four pigs for less than what they were worth. When he returned, he made love to the woman. When he paid her, she cursed at him and accused him of raping her.

Sancho asks the man if he has money on him. He then orders the man, who has 20 ducats of silver, to give them to the woman. The woman curtseys and leaves. The man starts crying. Sancho then orders him to retrieve the purse. The two return, struggling over the purse. The man can’t get it away from her. Sancho asks for the purse and returns it to the man. He tells the woman she could not have been raped if she had defended her virtue as well as she defends her purse. He exiles her from the town. He advises the man to avoid prostitutes if he doesn’t want to ruin himself.

The last people to come before him are a country fellow and a tailor. The tailor complains the man asked how many caps could be made from a piece of cloth. The tailor said he could make five caps, which he did make. The man refuses to pay and wants his cloth back. The countryman admits this is true, but he wishes for the caps to be presented to show why he objects to them. The tailor presents the five caps on the ends of his fingers. Sancho decides that the tailor doesn’t get paid, but the countryman doesn’t get his cloth back. The caps are to be given to the prisoners in jail.

The people are astonished by Sancho’s wisdom. A report is sent back to the duke.

Miguel de Cervantes