Paladin receives a telegram from the heirs to the Caloca fortune requesting he come and help retrieve their father before he is injured or worse, killed. What he hasn't been told is the son...
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Paladin receives a telegram from the heirs to the Caloca fortune requesting he come and help retrieve their father before he is injured or worse, killed. What he hasn't been told is the son hopes he will kill him, one knight to another, as their father believes he is Don Quixote himself whose only wish is to achieve knighthood. Written by
More evidence that this series wasn't afraid to take chances with "unconventional" material.
When the family Patriarch man puts on antique armour, commandeers an old nag as a Charger, and gallops alarmingly around the countryside seeking monsters to slay and a fair maiden to champion, what should you do with him?
To Don Esteban Gutierrez Caloca's daughter, her eccentric father is a continuing source of worry and concern; to his son, Don Esteban is an embarrassment, a danger to himself and to the locals, best disposed of --permanently -- by a hired "outsider".
But to Paladin, who has read, and probably re-read, Miguel de Cervantes' epic "Don Quixote" to the point where he can quote passages verbatim, Don Esteban is a tragic figure, preferring a world of pure fantasy characterized by valorous acts and ruled by courtly love to the dreary one he actually inhabits.
Paladin, ostensibly assigned to bring Don Esteban back from his latest "Adventure", indulges the old man's delusions, tries to keep him from getting hurt, and finally grants Don Esteban the one thing he yearns for more than anything else. (Ironically, the true "monster" in this piece is slain by Paladin himself.)
What saves this episode from degenerating into slapstick is the fact that only one other person shares Paladin's respect for the old man -- a lonely, laconic individual who may well remember a time when heroes of his own race walked the land performing glorious deeds whose like will never be seen again. He's the man Paladin appoints as Don Esteban's Squire-Custodian, and who takes on the job (and his new "name") very willingly.
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