The manure that has fallen on the barren soil of my dry wits

From chapter 12 of the second part of Don Quixote:

“That’s a fine comparison,” said Sancho, “though not so new that I haven’t heard it many times before, like the one about chess: as long as the game lasts, each piece has its particular rank and position, but when the game’s over they’re mixed and jumbled and thrown together in a bag, just the way life is tossed into the grave.”

“Every day, Sancho,” said Don Quixote, “you are becoming less simple and more intelligent.”

“Yes, some of your grace’s intelligence has to stick to me,” responded Sancho, “for lands that are barren and dry on their own can produce good fruits if you spread manure on them and till them; I mean to say that your grace’s conversation has been the manure that has fallen on the barren soil of my dry wits; the time I have served you and talked to you has been the tilling; and so I hope to produce fruits that are a blessing and do not go to seed or stray from the paths of good cultivation that your grace has made in my parched understanding.”


— ¡Brava comparación! —dijo Sancho—, aunque no tan nueva que yo no la haya oído muchas y diversas veces, como aquella del juego del ajedrez, que, mientras dura el juego, cada pieza tiene su particular oficio; y, en acabándose el juego, todas se mezclan, juntan y barajan, y dan con ellas en una bolsa, que es como dar con la vida en la sepultura.

— Cada día, Sancho —dijo don Quijote—, te vas haciendo menos simple y más discreto.

— Sí, que algo se me ha de pegar de la discreción de vuestra merced — respondió Sancho—; que las tierras que de suyo son estériles y secas, estercolándolas y cultivándolas, vienen a dar buenos frutos: quiero decir que la conversación de vuestra merced ha sido el estiércol que sobre la estéril tierra de mi seco ingenio ha caído; la cultivación, el tiempo que ha que le sirvo y comunico; y con esto espero de dar frutos de mí que sean de bendición, tales, que no desdigan ni deslicen de los senderos de la buena crianza que vuesa merced ha hecho en el agostado entendimiento mío.

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