toros de guisando


This week I´ve been in Madrid doing the final fieldwork for my PhD. On our Quixotic travels to interview local stakeholders about the credibility of the output from my model (more on that another time), we came across el Toros de Guisando. These guys have been here for over 2,500 years (though moved from their original scattered locations by the Romans) and have been characters in many a contested story…

CHAPTER XIV

WHEREIN IS CONTINUED THE ADVENTURE OF THE KNIGHT OF THE GROVE

Among the things that passed between Don Quixote and the Knight of the Wood, the history tells us he of the Grove said to Don Quixote, “In fine, sir knight, I would have you know that my destiny, or, more properly speaking, my choice led me to fall in love with the peerless Casildea de Vandalia. I call her peerless because she has no peer, whether it be in bodily stature or in the supremacy of rank and beauty.

Another time I was ordered to lift those ancient stones, the mighty bulls of Guisando, an enterprise that might more fitly be entrusted to porters than to knights. Again, she bade me fling myself into the cavern of Cabra – an unparalleled and awful peril – and bring her a minute account of all that is concealed in those gloomy depths. I stopped the motion of the Giralda, I lifted the bulls of Guisando, I flung myself into the cavern and brought to light the secrets of its abyss; and my hopes are as dead as dead can be, and her scorn and her commands as lively as ever.

To be brief, last of all she has commanded me to go through all the provinces of Spain and compel all the knights-errant wandering therein to confess that she surpasses all women alive to-day in beauty, and that I am the most valiant and the most deeply enamoured knight on earth; in support of which claim I have already travelled over the greater part of Spain, and have there vanquished several knights who have dared to contradict me; but what I most plume and pride myself upon is having vanquished in single combat that so famous knight Don Quixote of La Mancha, and made him confess that my Casildea is more beautiful than his Dulcinea

Don Quixote was amazed when he heard the Knight of the Grove, and was a thousand times on the point of telling him he lied, and had the lie direct already on the tip of his tongue; but he restrained himself as well as he could, in order to force him to confess the lie with his own lips; so he said to him quietly, “As to what you say, sir knight, about having vanquished most of the knights of Spain, or even of the whole world, I say nothing; but that you have vanquished Don Quixote of La Mancha I consider doubtful; it may have been some other that resembled him, although there are few like him.”

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