Introduction  pp. xxiii-xxiv

Introduction

By Antonio Culebras

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After a long day roaming the hot plains of Castille, Don Quixote and his faithful squire Sancho Panza decided to call the day off and rest under a lone tree. They shared a meager supper of stale bread, musty cheese from La Mancha and rancid red wine. A few grapes found at the bottom of their satchel topped the repast. Despite the frugality of the meal, Sancho felt the customary post-prandial slumber coming and without further ado fell asleep. It displeased Don Quixote, perpetual insomniac, that Sancho had only but one sleep that lasted him from night till morning. “Look how serene the night is, and how lonely is this place, which invites us to vary one slumber with a little watching. Get up, in Heavens name!” exclaimed Don Quixote. Alarmed, Sancho responded, “I only know that while I sleep I have neither fear, nor hope, nor trouble, nor glory. Good luck to him who invented sleep, the cloak that covers all of man's thoughts, the food that takes away all hunger, the water that quenches all thirst, the fire that warms the cold, the cold that cools the heat, the general coin, in short, with which all things are bought, the balance and weight that levels the shepherd with the king and the fool with the wise man. There is only one bad thing about sleep, as I have heard say, and it is that it looks like death, for between one sleeping and one dead there's mighty little difference.”

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