Thus did the avarice of a renegade save the future author of Don Quixote from being strangled with the bowstring.
In fine, he gave himself up so wholly to the reading of romances, that at night he would pore on until it was day, and would read on all day until it was night; and thus a world of extraordinary notions, picked out of his books, crowded into his imagination; now his head was full of nothing but enchantments, quarrels, battles, challenges, wounds, complaints, love-passages, torments, and abundance of absurd impossibilities; insomuch that all the fables and fantastical tales which he read seemed to him now as true as the most authentic histories.
Don Quixote's mind being disturbed with that thought, he abridged even his short supper; and as soon as he had done, he called his host, then shut him and himself up in the stable, and falling at his feet, "I will never rise from this place," cried he, "most valorous knight, till you have graciously vouchsafed to grant me a boon, which I will now beg of you, and which will redound to your honour and the good of mankind." The innkeeper, strangely at a loss to find his guest at his feet, and talking at this rate, endeavoured to make him rise; but all in vain, till he had promised to grant him what he asked. "I expected no less from your great magnificence, noble sir," replied Don Quixote; "and therefore I make bold to tell you, that the boon which I beg, and you generously condescend to grant me, is, that to-morrow you will be pleased to bestow the honour of knighthood upon me. This night I will watch my armour in the chapel of your castle, and then in the morning you shall gratify me, that I may be duly qualified to seek out adventures in every corner of the universe, to relieve the distressed, according to the laws of chivalry and the inclinations of knights-errant like myself." The innkeeper, who, as I said, was a sharp fellow, and had already a shrewd suspicion of his guest's disorder, was fully convinced of it when he heard him talk in this manner; and, to make sport he resolved to humour him, telling him he was much to be commended for his choice of such an employment, which was altogether worthy a knight of the first order,