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Rinconete and Cortadillo – Miguel Cervantes (1547-1616)
Cervantes’ is the most brilliant name in all Spanish literature. He lived a life of romance and adventure and misery. Author of one of the greatest of all romances, Don Quixote, he also wrote satires and plays and a particular sort of long-short story, which he called the Exemplary Novel. In his preface to the collection of the twelve tales that compose it, he says:

“I have bestowed on them the name of Exemplary, and if thou dost look well to it, there is not one of them from which thou couldst not derive a profitable example.” But this was surely the same sort of excuse made by latter-day writers of pornography who declare that they depict vice in order to render it odious. It is more likely that Cervantes felt it incumbent upon him to excuse the short story form by endowing it with a moral purpose. The time was not yet ripe for an artist to set his story down for the simple reason that it was amusing, or beautiful, or true.

Rinconete and Cortadillo – Rinconete and Cortadillo is one of the finest of the collection “in virtue of which Cervantes is acknowledged as the prince of story-tellers in the Spanish language.” (Prof. J. D. M. Ford.)

The present version is reprinted from Thomas Roscoe’s Spanish Novelists, London, no date. The translation is by Thomas Roscoe.
Rinconete and Cortadillo
On the confines of Alcudia, between the provinces of Castile and Andalusia, might be seen a notable house of entertainment for travelers, called the Little Windmill. On one of the hottest days of summer, two boys were seen loitering about this place; one was about fourteen years of age, and the other might perhaps have attained his seventeenth year. They were both good looking, though in a sadly destitute condition; coats they had none; their trousers were of coarse linen, and, for want of better stockings, they were obliged to be contented with their bare skin.

Rinconete and Cortadillo part 20

“Memorandum of common business,” such as “blacking the face with a bottle of ink”—“nailing a horn over the doors of cuckolds”— “pretenses at assassination”—“false alarms.” “That is enough,” said Monipodio; “I undertake all that...

Rinconete and Cortadillo part 19

“Well, with this promise,” said the cavalier, “take this chain for the twenty ducats owing, and forty on account of the business you have in hand. It is worth a thousand reals; but I...

Rinconete and Cortadillo part 18

“Ah! I watched for him last night at the very door of his house,” rejoined the bravo, “and when he came I looked him full in the face, which I found to be so...

Rinconete and Cortadillo part 17

She had hardly spoken these words, when a boy entered, bearing a large basket covered with a sheet. The good people seemed all very much delighted with the appearance of Silvatillo; and Monipodio, taking...

Rinconete and Cortadillo part 16

“I was there,” replied the guide. “Then how is it that you have not given notice of a purse, which you took there, containing fifteen gold crowns, two reals, and some quartos,” asked Monipodio....

Rinconete and Cortadillo part 15

“Sir,” replied he, “I possess a little spice of art; I can handle cards well, know how to turn an ace to a king, and little maneuvers of that sort. I know the table...

Rinconete and Cortadillo part 14

Monipodio, having made the tour of the courtyard to see his visitors, then asked the newcomers their profession, name, and country. Rincon answered that their profession did not need much explanation; and as to...

Rinconete and Cortadillo part 13

An old woman next arrived, who immediately on her entrance went to the image of the Virgin, and having taken the holy water with great devotion, prostrated herself before the image. Having indulged in...

Rinconete and Cortadillo part 12

“Indeed! this is most exemplary conduct,” said Cortado; “but pray do not the priests sometimes order these religious persons to make restitution or penance?”“No,” returned the other, “because they never go to confession; and...

Rinconete and Cortadillo part 11

“I always thought,” said Cortado, “that thieving was a free trade, without any duty or impost; and if the professors paid at all, it was only at the stocks, or over the back and...

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