The group of men goes to see who this new person sending out complaints is. They eventually come upon the source of the noises, which is a young man dressed in the style of a country person. But as they get closer, they notice that the young man has beautiful, smooth legs, and can't imagine that these are the legs of some peasant.
The men decide to watch this person some more by hiding behind some rocks.
The young man takes off his cap to wash his hair, and all sorts of beautiful curls come tumbling over his shoulders. It turns out that the young man is actually a young woman, and one of the most beautiful that any of the men have ever seen (in this book, women tend to be either really ugly or the most beautiful woman ever).
When she sees the men watching her, the woman starts to run away; but the curate asks her to stay so they can help her with her problems.
With that, the young woman offers to tell her story:
She is the daughter of a wealthy farmer. It turns out that one day, the son of a duke fell in love with her because of her intense beauty and did everything he could to get her into bed with him. He even promised her marriage (hey, doesn't this sound kind of familiar?).
Well, eventually, this Don Fernando guy (gasp, same dude that Cardenio hates) paid off one of her housekeepers to let him into her bedroom. There, with promises of marriage, he had sex with her. This is the exact same story we heard Cardenio talk about only a few chapters ago, and it seems like this young woman is the unfortunate beauty whom Fernando promised to marry then dumped after he'd had sex with her.
While she's telling this story, you can tell that Cardenio's blood boils every time she mentions Fernando's name.
At the end of her account, she reveals that her name is Dorotea, and this tells Cardenio that without doubt, she must be the same woman Fernando always spoke to him about.
Soon after Fernando betrayed her, Dorotea heard the story of how Fernando had betrayed another friend named Cardenio by stealing his fiancée, Lucinda. Dorotea also heard the story about everything that happened at the wedding.
Soon after, Dorotea decided to leave her house to search for Fernando. But when she heard her name being called out as a missing person in the street, she came to the Sierra Morena to hide and plan her next move. Now she spends her time running away from shepherds who pursue her and try to court her.
Part 1, Book 4, Chapter 2
When she's finished, Dorotea tells the crowd of men that the best thing they can do for her is go to her parents' house and inquire into whether her parents would ever be willing to have her back, now that she feels like she's disgraced herself.
The curate starts trying to comfort her, but Cardenio butts in and says that he knows who she is, because he is none other than Cardenio, the other dude who has been cheated by Don Fernando. Dorotea looks him up and down (because you know, he still looks like a weird mountain man).
Dorotea and Cardenio are both like, hey, what a coincidence that we came to hide in the same mountains after our misfortunes.
At this point, Cardenio swears that somehow, he'll force Fernando to marry Dorotea.
Now that that's all nice and figured out, the group's attention turns back to Don Quixote, who is still out in the mountains somewhere half-killing himself with his make-believe torture. Both Dorotea and Cardenio express interest in his situation and are willing to help out.
Meanwhile, Sancho comes back (he's gone ahead to look for Don Quixote). When he comes back, he asks who the beautiful lady is, since Dorotea has now put on a rich-looking dress from her bag. The curate replies that Dorotea is actually the princess of the kingdom of Micomicon, which the curate just made up. It turns out that she's looking for Don Quixote to help her fight a giant that has taken over her kingdom. This is exactly the kind of gig that Sancho wants for his master; so he's all for it and leads them to where he found the Don.
When the group finds Don Quixote, he's in a really sorry state. Dorotea approaches him and asks him for his help as a knight. Don Quixote proudly agrees to help her.
Meanwhile, Sancho is disappointed to find out that the princess's imaginary kingdom is in Africa, because he's a pretty racist dude and wishes he could become the governor of white people instead. Nonetheless, he looks forward to being rich, either way.
There's a problem in the fact that Dorotea keeps forgetting where the curate said she was from, but the gang does a good job of covering up this fact by saying that she's forgetful due to the terrible stress she's been through.
Now, of course, Don Quixote would like to know where the curate has come from. The curate says that he was travelling on the highway and suddenly got himself robbed by a bunch of robbers who'd just been set free by some lunatic. He knows the story of how Don Quixote let the convicts go and is trying to test him by showing him how his actions have affected others.
On this note, the chapter ends.
Part 1, Book 4, Chapter 3
Sancho butts in and says that it was Don Quixote himself who set the convicts loose. The Don tells him to shut his mouth unless he's spoken to. He then goes on to sort of apologize for what he did, but he also says that everything he does is in the interest of righting the world's wrongs—in which case, he doesn't apologize at all. He's about to browbeat Sancho when Dorotea reminds him that he can't engage in any combat until he's finished with his duty to her.
As they travel, Don Quixote asks Dorotea to tell him the whole story of how she came to be exiled from her own country. Dorotea realizes she'll have to make something up on the spot, so she answers with the following lie:
Basically, she lived in the kingdom of Micomicon with her parents. But then her parents both died within a year of one another, leaving her an orphan. This left the kingdom vulnerable to attack, and who was there to take advantage but the evil giant Pandalfino, who lived in a neighboring kingdom.
The last thing Dorotea's father told her before he died (she says) was that she would have to seek out a man called Don Gigote. She has forgotten Don Quixote's name and needs to be corrected on this, but she just chalks it up to stress again and apologizes.
Dorotea also makes a few other mistakes, like saying that her boat landed in Spain at the town of Ossuna, which is a landlocked town. But with the help of the curate, she continues to make excuses for herself and satisfies the Don.
Dorotea says she'll also marry Don Quixote once he kills the giant (this is a lie, but she thinks it'll get him home more quickly). Don Quixote, though, remains strong and says he can't marry anyone when he's in love with Dulcinea del Toboso. Sancho pulls his hair out and says, 'Are you crazy?"—but Don Quixote resists.
On top of that, Sancho is worried that he'll never get a kingdom to govern if Don Quixote doesn't marry this woman.
Don Quixote has a moment alone with Sancho and asks him how things went with his letter to Dulcinea. Sancho doesn't answer right away because he's tired of the Don treating him like dirt. While they argue, a man on a mule approaches them on the road. It turns out to be that base criminal, Ginés de Passamonte. They recognize him and call him out. Seeing himself outnumbered, Ginés jumps off the donkey he's riding and runs away on foot.
Sancho is overjoyed to have his beloved donkey, Dapple, back in his hands. It's a very cute reunion, and everyone is happy about it.
When all is settled, Don Quixote asks Sancho again about how things went with Dulcinea. Sancho admits that he forgot the letter but says that he told Dulcinea the thing from memory anyway. You know, like a liar.
Part 1, Book 4, Chapter 4
Don Quixote wants to know if Sancho found the damsel Dulcinea holding beautiful pearls in her castle. But Sancho, knowing who Dulcinea actually is, says he found her working with a bunch of wheat from the fields.
Don Quixote doesn't like this answer but moves on and asks other things about Dulcinea. Sancho answers all of the questions by basically saying, "Hey, she's just a normal country girl. Not too pretty, not too fragrant. What do you expect?" But there's no overcoming Don Quixote's fantasies, which he keeps layering over everything Sancho says.
When Don Quixote asks how Dulcinea responded to his letter, Sancho takes the opportunity to say that Dulcinea has asked him to come immediately home to see her. Don Quixote, though, feels that he can't do this until he's fulfilled his promise to the princess of Micomicon (a.k.a. Dorotea in disguise).
Don Quixote also realizes around this time that Sancho Panza must have travelled with supernatural speed to get to Toboso and back to the Sierra Morenas as quickly as he did. Sancho just sort of shrugs and says it must have been a wizard.
As they continue on the road, they run into a boy named Andrés. We soon find out that this kid is the same one whose boss whipped him brutally after Don Quixote tried to help him. The boy tells Don Quixote about what happened and says that in the future, the Don should just mind his own business.
Don Quixote offers to go beat the boss up, but Dorotea reminds him that he can't until he's fulfilled his promise to her.
The best the group can do is offer Andrés some bread and cheese to eat. He just snatches it and walks away in a huff.
Part 1, Book 4, Chapter 5
Once again, there's only one option on the road as far as inns go. You guessed it: Don Quixote and his crew have to stay at the same place where he and Sancho got beaten up last time. The Don isn't happy about it, but there are no other options out in the sticks.
Don Quixote goes straight to bed. At this point, the barber decides to take off his disguise and decides to pretend that he just stumbled upon the inn by chance.
The group sits around the dinner table at the inn and discusses Don Quixote's madness. The innkeeper is a big fan of the same knight books that Don Quixote likes; but the curate insists that they're all terrible and that they should be burned.
The innkeeper insists, though, that the books of adventure are the only things that can lift him out of the boredom of his day-to-day life. In a way, he says, his books have kept him alive.
With this, the innkeeper goes over to his bookcase and takes out some books for the group to look at. The curate just looks them over and tut-tuts nearly every one, saying they should all be burned and kept away from Don Quixote at all costs.
The innkeeper, though, will not let them burn the books he loves so much. If anything, he shows us that it's possible to love adventure stories without going crazy like Don Quixote.
That said, even though the innkeeper doesn't think he's a knight, he does actually believe the stories of knight-errantry to be historically accurate. That's kind of like saying you think that The Lord of the Rings is historically accurate (which some Larpers might actually believe).
While the curate criticizes knight-errantry as being out of fashion, Sancho gets concerned about hearing his master called a fool. Still, he remains committed to Don Quixote, despite what people say.
Meanwhile, the curate keeps looking over the books in the innkeeper's cabinet, and he eventually comes across eight large sheets of paper with a story written out by hand. The story seems to be titled "The Novel of the Curious Impertinent." The innkeeper says that the manuscript was left behind in the suitcases of one of his guests, but he's never been able to track down the owner.
So the curate picks the thing up and starts reading.
Part 1, Book 4, Chapter 6
Now it's time to hear the story of "the Curious Impertinent."
Once upon a time, there were two dudes, Anselmo and Lothario. They were the best of buds and would never do anything to harm one another.
But one day, Anselmo gets married to a beautiful and accomplished woman. Lothario is totally happy for both of them.
But as time goes on, Anselmo has a tough time believing his good luck. So he decides that the only thing he can do is test his wife's loyalty. So he asks Lothario to make a pass at his wife and to see if she'll go for it.
Lothario thinks this is a dumb idea and that there's nothing to be gained by it. After all, even if the plan succeeds, Lothario will be too ashamed to ever show his face around Anselmo's house again. And if it fails and the wife goes for it, Anselmo will be miserable. The risk is way too great compared to the meager reward.
Just to get Anselmo off his back, Lothario agrees to go through with the plan. Anselmo leaves him alone with his wife, but Lothario doesn't do anything.
The narrator promises to tell us the rest of the story in the next chapter.
Part 1, Book 4, Chapter 7
Anselmo receives a letter from his wife saying how angry she is that he has left her alone with his best friend, which would be improper enough even if Lothario weren't hitting on her. Anselmo is happy with the letter, though, since it proves that Lothario is actually taking his part in the scheme seriously.
The next time around, Lothario actually does make a move on the wife. She resists at first, but eventually, the two of them have sex. They carry on an affair behind Anselmo's back for the next little while.
Meanwhile, one of Camilla's (the wife's) servants finds out about what's going on, and uses the knowledge to blackmail Camilla into letting her (the servant's) lover come to the house to have sex whenever she wants.
One day, Lothario sees this other lover leaving the house and figures that Camilla is having affairs with other men besides him. This, of course, makes him super jealous. So he tells Anselmo that Camilla is ready to give in to his advances (he neglects to mention that she already has). He tells Anselmo to hide behind a curtain and to watch as the whole thing plays out.
But Camilla knows Anselmo is hiding, and she gives a dramatic performance with her servant about how she'll take a dagger and murder Lothario the moment he enters her room.
At this point, Anselmo wants to pop out to protect his friend's life. But morbid curiosity also keeps him behind the curtain.
When Lothario comes in, Camilla pretends to attack him with a knife. Then she breaks away and pretends to mortally stab herself.
Lothario runs to her, terrified. But seeing that she's not badly hurt, he sends out a wailing speech about her death.
At this point, Anselmo wants to go over to Lothario's house to celebrate what a great, loyal wife he has. Even though she's still bleeding on the floor, it looks from his vantage point like she'll be okay.
For months after that, Camilla and Lothario continue to get it on behind Anselmo's back. Ask and you shall receive, buddy.
Part 1, Book 4, Chapter 8
The novel is just about to end when Sancho Panza comes running into the kitchen screaming about how his master is locked in mortal combat with a whole gang of giants in his bedroom. Sancho says it's true, because he has seen the giants' blood flowing over the floor with his own eyes.
The group can all hear Don in the next room crying out at the giants as he swings his sword around.
Immediately, the innkeeper cries out that Don Quixote must be attacking his wineskins, which are huge bags of wine that have been hanging near the Don's bed.
The whole company runs into Don Quixote's bedroom and confirms the innkeeper's fears. Don Quixote is totally fighting a bunch of lifeless bags of wine hanging around him. The Don isn't even awake for this one: he's fighting in his sleep.
Sancho Panza continues searching the room for a giant's head, since he's still certain that he saw Don Quixote decapitate a monster.
The whole staff of the inn is in a fury at the loss of all their wine. But the curate promises them that he'll compensate them for all of their losses, which calms them down a bit.
When everything has settled down, the group gets Don Quixote back to bed and returns to the "Novel of the Curious Impertinent" to find out how the story ends.
Here goes. One day, Camilla gets sick of always having to sneak around with Lothario, and she asks him to run away with her. Lothario is surprised, but he eventually sends Camilla to a convent to wait for him while he leaves the city at a different time to avoid suspicion.
Meanwhile, Anselmo has caught his wife's servant in bed with her lover and is about to throw her out of his house. But the servant promises to tell him secrets about his wife if he forgives her. He agrees and asks her to let him have it the next morning.
The next morning, he goes to his servant's room to find out the truth but discovers a rope of bed sheets hanging out the window. Confused, he goes to his wife's room to find out the truth but discovers that she's vanished, too.
Left alone in his house and not knowing what to do, Anselmo goes to his friend Lothario's house to ask for advice. But when he gets there, he realizes that Lothario is gone, too. Eventually, he puts two and two together and realizes that his best friend has run off with his wife.
Anselmo is so brokenhearted that he immediately takes ill. He goes to another friend's house and gets into bed, asking for pen and paper. Once he has it, he apologizes for his stupid plan and tells the entire truth about his scheme and what it's led to. With that done, he dies.
Meanwhile, Camilla gets word of her husband's death. She's dying with grief herself, because news has reached her that her lover Lothario has also died in a fight in Italy.
Then Camilla dies with grief. The end.
Sitting around the dinner table, the curate says that he thinks that story is decent enough, though he doubts that it's true. After all, he doubts that there could ever be a husband so foolish and vain to try something like that (right… heh heh).
Part 1, Book 4, Chapter 9
While everyone's hanging around, the innkeeper sees more people coming into his establishment, which of course means more moolah for him.
They seem to be an odd bunch, though, for while they appear very rich, they're travelling with a young woman who's dressed like a nun and who keeps sighing with sadness.
The women in the inn offer to help the lady with whatever's wrong, but she just keeps moping.
From the next room, Cardenio hears the woman say a few words and recognizes her voice. He runs into the room, and when she sees him, the woman jumps toward him. She's held back by a man in a mask, though, and during their struggle, his mask falls off.
It turns out that the dude is Fernando and that the girl is Lucinda, the same girl Cardenio loves.
When Dorotea sees Fernando, she also falls into a swoon and faints. All four of them face each other and are totally dumbfounded.
Dorotea totally pledges her love and forgiveness to Fernando and begs him to take her back. She gives a nice big speech that makes everyone in the inn sympathize with her. Finally, Fernando gives in and lets Lucinda go to Cardenio. He promises that he'll fulfill his promise to marry Dorotea.
All four lovers are reunited, and everyone around is happy. Sancho Panza even weeps for joy, because he can be the sentimental type sometimes.
Part 1, Book 4, Chapter 10
Now that the lovers have what they want, Sancho is destroyed to find out that Dorotea isn't actually a princess, but just a farmer's daughter.
Sancho slips into Don Quixote's bedroom and tells him he doesn't need to worry about killing any giants anymore. Don Quixote agrees, since he has had a dream in which he killed over a dozen of them (he's thinking about his battle with the wineskins).
Sancho just up and informs him, though, that he's been fighting with wineskins all night. And of course, the Don thinks that they are staying in an enchanted place and that some wizard must have changed the giants into wineskins.
Outside the room, everyone decides that they will continue with the princess fantasy in order to get Don Quixote home.
Don Quixote comes out and tells everyone what Sancho Panza has been saying about the princess. Dorotea denies it and tells him she's every bit the princess she's always been. This just makes Don Quixote mad at Sancho for being such a little troublemaker.
While all of this is going on, another person shows up at the inn. This time it's a Spanish-looking guy who's wearing Moorish (African) clothing and travelling with a Moorish woman.
Now before anything more can happen, people want to know what this couple's deal is.
Don Quixote gives the newcomers a fancy greeting that makes everyone look at him as if he's crazy. Don Quixote decides to go on a huge rant about the merits of the scholar versus the merits of a soldier or a warrior. And that leads us to the next chapter.