This week it is being reported that the lost tomb of Miguel de Cervantes has been discovered in Madrid. Cervantes, who died in 1616, is considered “the father of the novel.” The news reminded me of a passage from The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha that inspires me to look at my own life as an adventure and to take those leaps of faith, to keep my dreams alive:
For come, tell me, can there be anything more delightful than to see, as it were, here now displayed before us a vast lake of bubbling pitch with a host of snakes and serpents and lizards, and ferocious and terrible creatures of all sorts swimming about in it, while from the middle of the lake there comes a plaintive voice saying:
‘Knight, whosoever thou art who beholdest this dread lake, if thou wouldst win the prize that lies hidden beneath these dusky waves, prove the valour of thy stout heart and cast thyself into the midst of its dark burning waters, else thou shalt not be worthy to see the mighty wonders contained in the seven castles of the seven Fays that lie beneath this black expanse;’
and then the knight, almost ere the awful voice has ceased, without stopping to consider, without pausing to reflect upon the danger to which he is exposing himself, without even relieving himself of the weight of his massive armour, commending himself to God and his lady, plunges into the midst of the boiling lake, and when he little looks for it, or knows what his fate is to be, he finds himself among the flowery meadows, with which the Elysian fields are not to be compared.
— Miguel de Cervantes, through his character Don Quixote in the Spanish novel The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha, published in two volumes, in 1605 and 1615.