Book II: Chapter LXIV - Chapter LXVI Summaries
A man from the Turkish boat is going to Algiers with a crew of six men to rescue Don Gaspar Gregorio. When Don Quixote insists that he can do this job himself and Don Antonio consoles the knight, telling him that he can make an attempt is the crew is unsuccessful. One morning, Don Quixote perceives a knight riding towards him. This knight is called the Knight of the White Moon. He tells Quixote to admit that the lady of the Knight of the White Moon is more beautiful than Dulcinea; He challenges Quixote to combat saying that if Quixote loses he must go home for one full year of peace without using his sword. The knight tells Quixote to quickly determine what he will do because "this business must be dispatched this very day."
Don Quixote agrees to the battle and the viceroy and Don Antonio come to the scene. Don Antonio states that this is not a joke he is aware of and the viceroy hesitates to allow the battle to proceed. The viceroy considers that the battle must be somebody's joke, if not Don Antonio's. The knight of the White Moon knocks Don Quixote down easily. Quixote says he would rather die than discredit the truth of Dulcinea's beauty. The Knight of the White Moon says that he will not kill Quixote, but the knight must return home or one year. Quixote agrees. Quixote and Rocinante are both wounded and out of sorts. Sancho does not know what to say, for he has seen a host of future glories go up in smoke.
The viceroy instructs Don Antonio to follow the Knight of the White Moon and discover this knight's identity. It turns out to be Sampson Carassco who has performed this service as a means of getting Quixote to return home where he may recover of his imagination. He asks Don Antonio not to reveal this to Quixote as this would only give the old man more worries.
Don Gaspar Gregorio has been rescued and Don Quixote is depressed that he is not the one who has won victory. Sancho tries to make Quixote feel better.
They leave some days later, Quixote in traveling clothes, and Sancho on foot because Dapple is loaded with Quixote's armor. On the road, Quixote and Sancho see Tosilos, the lackey who sought to marry Doña Rodriguez's daughter. He invites the two men to the castle, but the offer is not accepted. Tosilos did not marry the duenna's daughter, as he was beaten as a punishment, and the daughter joined a convent. Doña Rodriguez ended up in Castile.
In Book II, Chapter III, Sampson Carrasco discusses Book I with Don Quixote. He tells Quixote that some readers would have enjoyed the book more if "the authors thereof had forgot some of those numberless drubbings given to Señor Don Quixote in different encounters." They discuss whether it is important to tell the truth or glorify the hero. Sancho argues for preserving these details: "Therein consists the truth of the history." On the other hand, Quixote defends his own ego and the rights of heroes: "They might, indeed, as well have omitted them, since there is no necessity of recording those actions, which do not change nor alter the truth of the story, and especially if they redound to the discredit of the hero." In Book II, Chapter LXIV, this aesthetic argument has been resolved in several ways.
First, Sampson Carrasco, long foreshadowed to be up to no good, has partially redeemed himself. On one hand, Sampson is quite treacherous: he has provoked the aesthetic discussion of fame and glory, yet he is the one to destroy Don Quixote's ego. Sampson's pride was bruised when he failed as the Knight of the Looking-Glasses, but Sampson ultimately sought to bring Quixote home. He takes no liberties with Don Quixote and has no intention of abusing the knight. He simply wants Quixote to come home for a year - he does not disabuse the knight of his fantasies (for example, admitting that Dulcinea does not exist).
Second, it is clear where Cervantes and Cid Hamet stand on the issue - they stand with Sancho. Quixote argues for hero-worship but Cervantes has soundly rejected the aesthetic of chivalry, opting for realism instead. Like Carrasco, Cervantes seeks to up-end an established figure, but for the greater good. Literature is better when the modern goes forward and the medieval retires. Throughout both Books, Don Quixote has commented on what is meet and proper for the historians to record. Cervantes and Cid Hamet give us the story with all of its details: the authors refuse to paper over Quixote's sorrow. Indeed, it is the climax and resolution of the novel. Quixote must now go home.
Third, Cervantes is able to distinguish his story from Avellaneda's. Recall that Sampson Carrasco did not appear in Book I. Thus, Avellaneda had no access to this peripheral character, a young man who becomes terribly important. It is impossible to separate Quixote's story from the fact of Sampson Carrasco for it is Carrasco who first tells us the details of the published book. Avellaneda's competing story gets locked out of the narrative because it offered no pre-response to Carrasco's character. Avellaneda tried to re-write the knight and squire, but it did not occur to him that Cervantes intended something other than hero-worship. Avellaneda's Second Part was supposed to dismount Cervantes by altering Don Quixote, and this would be done by throwing Don Quixote to the ground. When Cervantes uses Sampson Carrasco to achieve this purpose, Avellaneda becomes irrelevant. If Cervantes were writing along the lines of Don Quixote's preferred histories of heroes (Aeneas, Ulysses, and Amadis of Gaul) Avellaneda might have been effective.