Course Hero. "Don Quixote Study Guide." Course Hero. 15 Sep. 2016. Web. 20 Sep. 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Don-Quixote/>.
Course Hero. (2016, September 15). Don Quixote Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved September 20, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Don-Quixote/
(Course Hero, 2016)
Course Hero. "Don Quixote Study Guide." September 15, 2016. Accessed September 20, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Don-Quixote/.
Course Hero, "Don Quixote Study Guide," September 15, 2016, accessed September 20, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Don-Quixote/.
Don Quixote tracks down the man from the road and hears his story. The man comes from a village known for two men who do excellent imitations of a donkey's bray. People from the surrounding villages make fun of everyone from the braying village, which has sparked a minor war. The man is bringing weapons to the battle.
A noted puppeteer arrives at the inn with his prophetic monkey. The monkey can see things about the past and present, and whispers his prophecies in Maestro Pedro's ear. Unbeknownst to any of the other characters, Maestro Pedro is actually Ginesillo de Parapilla, one of the galley slaves Don Quixote set free in the Sierra Morena Mountains. He recognizes Don Quixote and Sancho Panza at once and falls to his knees in faux supplication. The lunatic knight asks the monkey whether what he saw in Montesinos's Cave was real, and the monkey relates that it was both real and not real.
The puppet show begins. Maestro Pedro and his assistant reenact the story of how Don Gaiferos, a knight, freed his wife Melisendra from Moor captivity. Don Quixote gets so wrapped up in the story that he tries to free Don Gaiferos and Melisendra himself, slashing at the puppets with his sword. Don Quixote blames the destruction of Maestro Pedro's property on the enchanters who persecute him, explaining that he really thought Don Gaiferos and Melisendra were right in front of him. He repays the puppeteer for all the damage and wonders aloud if the knight and his wife are "already safely back in France."
Don Quixote and Sancho Panza come upon the battleground of the village famous for braying like a donkey. The Don tries to reason with the villagers, telling them there are only a few reasons for which to take up arms and being insulted about donkey imitations isn't one of them. Sancho Panza demonstrates his own braying skills and is whacked to the ground with a long pole. Don Quixote can't get through the crowd—now throwing rocks—to help Sancho Panza, so he hops on Rocinante and leaves. The villagers put a semiconscious Sancho Panza on his donkey, then hang around until nightfall. The rival villagers never show up.
The encounter with Maestro Pedro illustrates one of Cervantes's purpose for writing Don Quixote. Cervantes was frustrated with traditional tales of chivalry because (uneducated) people were so prone to believe that they were true. Don Quixote, Sancho Panza, and everyone else at the inn are unable to see that, despite all logic and reason, monkeys can't really make prophecies, and a human can't understand what a monkey is saying.
Don Quixote, in particular, is completely unable to discern the difference between fact and fiction. It doesn't matter if the story is on the page or being performed by tiny puppets—he thinks everything he sees and reads must actually be true. Even after he destroys the puppets and sees that they aren't real, he worries about the fate of the characters they represent. When he can't explain something, he just blames it on magicians, which, of course, he also thinks are real.
It's worth noting that the person who is punished in this scene is the storyteller himself, not the audience. Cervantes is saying that it is up to writers and storytellers to make it clear up front, as he did in Part 1's Prologue, that the events of fictional stories aren't true.