“What giants?” said Sancho Panza.
“Those you see there,” answered his master, “with the long arms, and some have them nearly two leagues long.”
“Look, your worship,” said Sancho. “What we see there are not giants but windmills, and what seem to be their arms are the vanes that turn by the wind and make the millstone go.”
“It is easy to see,” replied Don Quixote, “that you are not used to this business of adventures.”
– Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote (1605)
Outwardly we laugh at the absurdity of a man jousting with windmills, thinking them to be giants. But inwardly we crave his sense of mission and purpose, his dedication to a cause, his willingness to pay any price to achieve the honor of his beloved.
So who is the silly one? He, for seeing beyond what is, to serve a beauty that could be, should be, ought to be? Or me, for remaining trapped in a black and white world where little men hide behind technicalities?
“Her name is Dulcinea, her kingdom, Toboso, which is in La Mancha, her condition must be that of princess, at the very least, for she is my queen and lady, and her beauty is supernatural, for in it one finds the reality of all the impossible.” – Don Quixote
The following video clip introduces young Lydia Holly, whom you’ll meet again on the next page. It’s from South Riding, part of the Masterpiece Classics series on PBS. If memory serves, South Riding was hosted by Laura Linney.