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WE have all of us admired in our youth the notable judicial decisions of Sancho Pancha in his government, without being at all disposed to question their claims to originality. One of them, however, may be traced as far back as the Golden Legend. By placing both passages before him, the reader will be able to determine for himself.

“There was a man y had borrowed of a Jewe a somme of money, and sware upon the awter of saynt Nycolas that he wolde rendre and paye it agayne as soone as he myght, and gave none other pledge.

And this man helde this money so longe that the iewe demanded and asked his money. And he sayd that he had payed him. Than, the iewe made hym to come before the lawe in judgement, and the othe was gyven to y dettour, & he brought with hym an holowe staffe, in whiche he had put the money in golde, and he lente upon y® staffe. And whan he shulde make his othe & swere, he delyvered his staffe to ye iewe to kepe and holde whyles he sware, and than sware y' he had delyvered to him more than he ought to hym. And whā he had made the othe he demanded his staffe agayn


of the iewe, & he nothynge knowing of his malice delivered it to him. Than this deceyvour went his waye & layd him in the way & a cart with foure wheles came with grete force & slewe him, and brake the staff with golde, that it spred abrode. And whan the iewe herde this, he came thyder sore moved, & sawe the fraude. And many sayd to him that he should take to him the golde. And he refused it sayinge. But yf he ye was deed were not raysed agayne to lyfe by yê merites of saynt Nicolas, he wolde not receyve it. And yf he came agayne to lyfe he wolde receyve baptysm and become chrysten.

Than he that was deed arose, & the iewe was chrystened.


JARVIS'S TRANSLATION OF Don Quixote. Svo. edit. 1749. Vol. 11. 257.

The next that presented themselves before him were two ancient men, the one with a cane in his hand for a staff; and he without a staff said : My lord, some time ago I lent this man ten crowns of gold, to oblige and serve him, upon condition he should return them on demand. I let him alone a good while, without asking for them, because I was loth to put him to a greater 8


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strait to pay me, than he was in when I lent them. But at length, thinking he was negligent of the payment, I asked him, more than once or twice, for my money, and he not only refuses payment, but denies the debt, and says, I never lent him any such sum, and, if I did, that he has already paid me: and I having no witnesses of the loan, or he of the payment, I intreat your worship will take his oath; and if he will swear he has returned me the money, I acquit him from this minute before God and the world. you to this, old gentleman with the staff? quoth Sancho. To which the old fellow replied : I confess, my lord, he did lend me the money; and if your worship pleases to hold down your wand of justice, since he leaves it to my oath, I will swear I have really and truly returned it him. The governor held down the wand, and the old fellow gave the staff to his creditor to hold, while he was swearing, as if it encumbered him; and presently laid his hand upon the cross of the wand, and said it was true indeed, he had lent him those ten crowns he asked for; but that he had restored them to him into his own hand ; and because, he supposed, he had forgot it, he was every moment asking him for them. Which the great governor seeing, he asked the creditor what he had to answer to what his antagonist had alledged. He replied, he did not doubt but his debtor had said the truth, for he took him



to be an honest man and a good christian; and that he himself must have forgot, when and where, the money was returned; and that from thenceforward, he would never ask him for it again. The debtor took his staff again, and bowing his head, went out of court. Sancho seeing this, and that he was gone without more ado, and observing also the patience of the creditor, he inclined his head upon his breast, and laying the fore finger of his right hand upon his eyebrows and nose, he continued, as it were, full of thought, a short space, and then lifting up his head, he ordered the old man with the staff, who was already gone, to be called back. He was brought back accordingly, and Sancho seeing him, said: Give me that staff, honest friend; for I have occasion for it. With all my heart, answered the old fellow, and delivered it into his hand. Sancho took it, and giving it to the other old man, said: Go about your business, in God's name, for you are paid. I, my lord ? answered the old myn: what! is this cane worth ten golden crowns? Yes, quoth the governor, or I am the greatest dunce in the wotld; and now it shall appear whether I have a head to govern a whole kingdom. Straight he commanded the cane to be broken before them all. Which being done there were found in the hollow of it ten crowns in gold. All were struck with admiration, and took their new governor for a second Solomon. They asked hin, whence he had collected, that the ten crowns were in the cane. He answered that, upon seeing the old man give it his adversary, while he was taking the oath and swearing that he had really and truly restored them into his own hands, and when he had done, ask for it again, it came into his imagination, that the money in dispute must be in the hollow of the cane. Whence it may be gathered that God Almighty often directs the judgments of those who govern, though otherwise mere blockheads : besides he had heard the priest of his parish tell a like case.

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