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CHAPTER XXV. (CONT'D)
The whole story came to be known and spread abroad through the villages of the neighbourhood; and the devil, who never sleeps, with his love for sowing dissensions and scattering discord everywhere, blowing mischief about and making quarrels out of nothing, contrived to make the people of the other towns fall to braying whenever they saw anyone from our village, as if to throw the braying of our regidors in our teeth. Then the boys took to it, which was the same thing for it as getting into the hands and mouths of all the devils of hell; and braying spread from one town to another in such a way that the men of the braying town are as easy to be known as blacks are to be known from whites, and the unlucky joke has gone so far that several times the scoffed have come out in arms and in a body to do battle with the scoffers, and neither king nor rook, fear nor shame, can mend matters.
To-morrow or the day after, I believe, the men of my town, that is, of the braying town, are going to take the field against another village two leagues away from ours, one of those that persecute us most; and that we may turn out well prepared I have bought these lances and halberds you have seen. These are the curious things I told you I had to tell, and if you don't think them so, I have got no others;" and with this the worthy fellow brought his story to a close.
Just at this moment there came in at the gate of the inn a man entirely clad in chamois leather, hose, breeches, and doublet, who said in a loud voice, "Senor host, have you room? Here's the divining ape and the show of the Release of Melisendra just coming."
"Ods body!" said the landlord, "why, it's Master Pedro! We're in for a grand night!" I forgot to mention that the said Master Pedro had his left eye and nearly half his cheek covered with a patch of green taffety, showing that something ailed all that side. "Your worship is welcome, Master Pedro," continued the landlord; "but where are the ape and the show, for I don't see them?" "They are close at hand," said he in the chamois leather, "but I came on first to know if there was any room." "I'd make the Duke of Alva himself clear out to make room for Master Pedro," said the landlord; "bring in the ape and the show; there's company in the inn to-night that will pay to see that and the cleverness of the ape." "So be it by all means," said the man with the patch; "I'll lower the price, and be well satisfied if I only pay my expenses; and now I'll go back and hurry on the cart with the ape and the show;" and with this he went out of the inn.
Don Quixote at once asked the landlord what this Master Pedro was, and what was the show and what was the ape he had with him; which the landlord replied, "This is a famous puppet-showman, who for some time past has been going about this Mancha de Aragon, exhibiting a show of the release of Melisendra by the famous Don Gaiferos, one of the best and best-represented stories that have been seen in this part of the kingdom for many a year; he has also with him an ape with the most extraordinary gift ever seen in an ape or imagined in a human being; for if you ask him anything, he listens attentively to the question, and then jumps on his master's shoulder, and pressing close to his ear tells him the answer which Master Pedro then delivers. He says a great deal more about things past than about things to come; and though he does not always hit the truth in every case, most times he is not far wrong, so that he makes us fancy he has got the devil in him.
He gets two reals for every question if the ape answers; I mean if his master answers for him after he has whispered into his ear; and so it is believed that this same Master Pedro is very rich. He is a 'gallant man' as they say in Italy, and good company, and leads the finest life in the world; talks more than six, drinks more than a dozen, and all by his tongue, and his ape, and his show."
Master Pedro now came back, and in a cart followed the show and the ape--a big one, without a tail and with buttocks as bare as felt, but not vicious-looking. As soon as Don Quixote saw him, he asked him, "Can you tell me, sir fortune-teller, what fish do we catch, and how will it be with us? See, here are my two reals," and he bade Sancho give them to Master Pedro; but he answered for the ape and said, "Senor, this animal does not give any answer or information touching things that are to come; of things past he knows something, and more or less of things present."
"Gad," said Sancho, "I would not give a farthing to be told what's past with me, for who knows that better than I do myself? And to pay for being told what I know would be mighty foolish. But as you know things present, here are my two reals, and tell me, most excellent sir ape, what is my wife Teresa Panza doing now, and what is she diverting herself with?"
Master Pedro refused to take the money, saying, "I will not receive payment in advance or until the service has been first rendered;" and then with his right hand he gave a couple of slaps on his left shoulder, and with one spring the ape perched himself upon it, and putting his mouth to his master's ear began chattering his teeth rapidly; and having kept this up as long as one would be saying a credo, with another spring he brought himself to the ground, and the same instant Master Pedro ran in great haste and fell upon his knees before Don Quixote, and embracing his legs exclaimed, "These legs do I embrace as I would embrace the two pillars of Hercules, O illustrious reviver of knight-errantry, so long consigned to oblivion! O never yet duly extolled knight, Don Quixote of La Mancha, courage of the faint-hearted, prop of the tottering, arm of the fallen, staff and counsel of all who are unfortunate!"
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