The first time that Sansón Carrasco tries to provoke his neighbor Alonso Quijano into abandoning his knightly adventure as “Don Quixote,” he poses as the Caballero del Bosque [Knight of the Woods] (II.12-15). In that guise, Sansón boasts that the greatest feat of his career had been to defeat the famous knight Don Quixote in combat: “But what gratifies me the most and makes me proudest is having conquered in single combat the most famous knight, Don Quixote of La Mancha […]; and since I conquered him, his glory, fame, and honor have passed and been transferred to my person.”2 An astute reader of Part I of the novel (1605), Sansón Carrasco understands that Don Quixote’s madness feeds on his appetite for fame. To extract from Don Quixote a pledge to return home, Sansón had decided that the easiest course of action would be to goad him into defending his fame in a mounted duel, and then topple him from Rocinante. At lance-point, he would then
spare Don Quixote’s life in return for promising to desist from knight errantry. But when Don Quixote unexpectedly emerges victorious from the skirmish, Sansón must retreat until he can provoke a second face-off, this time as the Caballero de la Blanca Luna [Knight of the White Moon] in chapter 64 of Part II. Carrasco’s botched challenge as the Knight of the Woods frees Don Quixote to pursue his headlong quest for glory for 48 additional chapters.