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What I've always said is true.

I liked him.

I never said that I believed in him. Never.

Of course I didn't believe! Don't be foolish!

I'm just a poor peasant lad who'd rather tag along after a madman who manages to keep us both fed than be one more mouth to burden my parents' far from plentiful provisions. It's better than being sent out to war, or off to the monastery, or stinking and sweating all day in the fields or in a blacksmith's forge, or apprenticed to a theater and having all manner of rotten fruit - or worse, rocks! - thrown at me.

I knew I had a good deal with him, and I certainly could never fault the man's generosity in payment of his alleged squire. That didn't take believing in him. How could I? Really, how could anyone who wasn't a madman himself, or a simpleton? And I know a lot of people thought I must be one or the other, to follow him at all, but I'm not.

...the girl believed in him, you say? Do you really think she did? I don't think she ever truly believed in him herself. She didn't have to believe him to love him. It worked the other way 'round - he believed in her when nobody else did. She had a hard life, you know. Not something she likes to talk about. I don't blame her! But see, it's because this crazy man decided she was a lovely and virtuous lady that she became one. I'd say she got lucky but well, the poor girl's had such bad luck all her life that it didn't even begin to settle accounts.

As for anyone else? Well, it's better to humor the crazy guy than to have him decide that you came from The Enemy and attack you for it. I've seen him hit pretty hard, even though it was things instead of people. Do you want to be on the bad side of a crazy man who believes he has a God-given quest to right the wrongs of the world?

And you know, as long as folks played along with his craziness, he wasn't half-bad to work for. We always had enough food and wine and clothes to wear and beds to sleep in. More than a lot of folks had back home, it was. Even if most of the time the beds were in old rundown taverns that he insisted were glorious castles. Better than sleeping on the ground.

Even if he had to wear beat-up pieces of junk that he insisted were his knightly armor and go on ranting about all the ideas from all his old books, and act like he was one of the heroes from those ancient tales. And his talk was crazy talk, but...harmless.

No, not harmless. Can there ever be such a thing as harmless disturbance? Even if it was the reactions of others to him that caused the harm, still it was the effect of the lovely mad dream he lived in crashing into this all-too-real world. People started to talk. They said they were embarrassed by his mad behavior. I wonder if they were actually embarrassed by how cruel their so-called sane world looks. They tried to take the dream away, to drive him sane. If he'd stayed a madman, he might have stayed alive.

He wasn't a hero. He wasn't a "real" knight - but he was my master, and he was my friend.

I...I can't believe he's gone.

And yet the girl reminds me of something important. The man may not have been a hero. Still, he was a good man, and it is right to mourn his passing.

But Don Quixote is not dead, must not die. To let him die is to let Dulcinea die, and leave in her place a kitchen-girl forever the victim of the very worst that men can do.

Is Alonso Quijana's Quest mine, now? And must I undertake it in the same way, and either feign insanity or become insane?

Yes. And, God willing, no.

I never believed a shaving-basin was an ancient Golden Helmet, or that windmills were giants in clever disguise.

But I don't have to. I can still believe in the Quest.

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Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
solstice_singer
May. 1st, 2011 01:36 pm (UTC)
I loved this! Very well-written and poignant. Good luck!
cheshire23
May. 3rd, 2011 02:02 am (UTC)
Thanks! I am glad you enjoyed it.
basric
May. 1st, 2011 11:58 pm (UTC)
Very well done, you know you have my vote.
cheshire23
May. 3rd, 2011 02:02 am (UTC)
Thank you so much. I'm just glad I was able to come up with something.
locknkey
May. 3rd, 2011 01:52 am (UTC)
nicely done - i like the POV. :)
cheshire23
May. 3rd, 2011 02:02 am (UTC)
Sancho Panza needs more love! :)
beeker121
May. 3rd, 2011 05:31 am (UTC)
"drive him sane" what a great phrase. I was humming the song in the link halfway through the piece - heh.
cheshire23
May. 3rd, 2011 05:32 pm (UTC)
I was originally trying to write something suitable for my "subtle fanfic" tag, but WHAT about Man of La Mancha is subtle at all?? Couldn't do it. :)
nyxocity
May. 3rd, 2011 07:04 pm (UTC)
I really loved the way this is written :)
angelic_mystic
May. 4th, 2011 12:16 am (UTC)
This was great. I've honestly never seen anything from Sancho's point of view.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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