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Year 6 Language and Literature

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An extract from Don Quixote

adapted from the original story by Miguel de Cervantes

The novel Don Quixote was written during the Renaissance by the Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes. The main character, Don Quixote, is a man with a fantastic imagination, who confuses his own experiences with the adventures of a bold and brave knight. Today, if a person believes in things most people view as impossible, we say the person is ‘quixotic’.

Once upon a time, in a village in La Mancha, there lived a lean, thin-faced old gentleman whose favourite pastime was to read books about knights in armour. He loved to read about their daring exploits, strange adventures, bold rescues of damsels in distress, and intense devotion to their ladies. In fact, he became so caught up in the subject of chivalry that he neglected every other interest and even sold many acres of good farmland so that he might buy all the books he could get on the subject. He would lie awake at night, absorbed in every detail of these fantastic adventures. He often argued with the village priest or the barber over who was the greatest knight of all time. Was it Amadis of Gaul or Palmerin of England? Or was it perhaps the Knight of the Sun?

As time went on, the old gentleman crammed his head so full of these stories and lost so much sleep from reading through the night that he lost his wits completely. He began to believe that all these fantastic tales, full of enchantments, challenges, battles, wounds and wooings, were true histories. At last he resolved to become a knight-errant himself, to travel through the world in search of adventures.


This extract is from Don Quixote and you can read the rest of the story in the Language and Literature chapter of What Your Year 6 Child Needs to Know.