Read THE WILL OF DON QUIXOTE. of Wit and Wisdom of Don Quixote , free online book, by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, on

“I feel, good sirs,” said Don Quixote, “that death advances fast upon me.  Let us then be serious, and bring me a confessor, and a notary to draw up my will, for a man in my state must not trifle with his soul.  Let the notary be sent for, I beseech you, while my friend here, the priest, is taking my confession.”

The priest, having listened to his dying friend’s confession, came out of the room and told them that the good Alonzo Quixano was near his end, and certainly in his right senses; he therefore advised them to go in, as it was full time that his will should be made.  These tidings gave a terrible stab to the overcharged hearts of the two ladies and his faithful squire, whose eyes overflowed with weeping, and whose bosoms had well-nigh burst with a thousand sighs and groans; for, indeed, it must be owned, as we have somewhere observed, that whether in the character of Alonzo Quixano the Good, or in the capacity of Don Quixote de la Mancha, the poor gentleman had always exhibited marks of a peaceable temper and agreeable demeanor, for which he was beloved, not only by his own family, but also by all those who had the pleasure of his acquaintance.

The notary entering the apartment with the rest of the company, wrote the preamble of the will, in which Don Quixote disposed of his soul in all the necessary Christian forms; then proceeding to the legacies, he said: ­

“Item:  whereas, Sancho Panza, whom, in my madness, I made my squire, has in his hands a certain sum of money for my use; and, as divers accounts, disbursements, and pecuniary transactions have passed between us, it is my will that he shall not be charged or brought to account for the said money; but, if there be any overplus after he has deducted the payment of what I owe him, the said overplus, which must be a mere trifle, shall be his own, and much good may it do him; and as, during my disorder, I contributed to his being made governor of an island, I would now, while I enjoy my perfect senses, confer upon him, were it in my power, a whole kingdom, which he richly deserves for the innocency of his heart and the fidelity of his service.”

Then turning to the disconsolate squire, “Forgive me, friend,” said he, “for having been the cause of thy appearing in the eye of the world a madman like myself, by drawing thee into my erroneous notions concerning the existence and adventures of knights-errant.”

“Gentlemen,” said Don Quixote, “let us proceed fair and softly.  I was mad, I am now sane; I was Don Quixote de la Mancha; I am now, as formerly styled, Alonzo Quixano the Good.  And may my repentance and sincerity restore me to the esteem you once had for me.  Now let the notary proceed.

“Item:  I bequeath to Antonia Quixano, my niece, here present, all my estate, real and personal, after the payment of all my debts and legacies; and the first to be discharged shall be the wages due to my housekeeper for the time she has been in my service, and twenty ducats besides for a suit of mourning.

“I appoint for my executors signor the priest and signor bachelor Sampson Carrasco, here present.

“Item:  It is also my will that, if Antonia Quixano, my niece, should be inclined to marry, it shall be only with a man who, upon the strictest inquiry, shall be found to know nothing of books of chivalry; and, in case it appear that he is acquainted with such books, and that my niece, notwithstanding, will and doth marry him, then shall she forfeit all I have bequeathed her, which my executors may dispose of in pious uses as they think proper.

“And, finally, I beseech the said gentlemen, my executors, that if haply they should come to the knowledge of the author of a certain history dispersed abroad, entitled, ’The Second Part of the Achievements of Don Quixote de la Mancha,’ that they will, in my name, most earnestly entreat him to forgive me for having been the innocent cause of his writing such a number of absurdities as that performance contains; for I quit this life with some scruples of conscience arising from that consideration.”

The will being thus concluded, he was seized with a fainting-fit, and stretched himself at full length in the bed, so that all the company were alarmed and ran to his assistance.  During three days which he lived after the will was signed and sealed, he frequently fainted, and the whole family was in confusion.  Nevertheless, the niece ate her victuals, the housekeeper drank to the repose of his soul, and even Sancho cherished his little carcass; for the prospect of succession either dispels or moderates that affliction which an heir ought to feel at the death of the testator.

At last Don Quixote expired, after having received all the sacraments, and in the strongest terms, pathetically enforced, expressed his abomination against all books of chivalry; and the notary observed, that in all the books of that kind which he had perused, he had never read of any knight-errant who died quietly in his bed as a good Christian, like Don Quixote; who, amidst the tears and lamentations of all present, gave up the ghost, or, in other words, departed this life.  The curate was no sooner certified of his decease, than he desired the notary to make out a testimonial, declaring that Alonzo Quixano the Good, commonly called Don Quixote de la Mancha, had taken his departure from this life, and died of a natural death; that no other author, different from Cid Hamet Benengeli, should falsely pretend to raise him from the dead, and write endless histories of his achievements.

This was the end of that extraordinary gentleman of La Mancha, whose birthplace Cid Hamet was careful to conceal, that all the towns and villages of that province might contend for the honor of having produced him, as did the seven cities of Greece for the glory of giving birth to Homer.  The lamentations of Sancho, the niece and the housekeeper, are not here given, nor the new epitaphs on the tomb of the deceased knight, except the following one, composed by Sampson Carrasco: ­

  Here lies the valiant cavalier,
  Who never had a sense of fear: 
  So high his matchless courage rose,
He reckoned death among his vanquished foes.

  Wrongs to redress, his sword he drew,
  And many a caitiff giant slew;
  His days of life though madness stained,
In death his sober senses he regained.