He told us at random of the attack on the windmills and the flocks of sheep, of the night in the valley of the fulling-mills with their trip-hammers, of the inn and the muleteers, of the tossing of Sancho in the blanket, of the island that was given him to govern, and of all the merry pranks at the duke's and duchess's, of the liberation of the galley-slaves, of the capture of Mambrino's helmet
, and of Sancho's invention of the enchanted Dulcinea, and whatever else there was wonderful and delightful in the most wonderful and delightful book in the world.
Don Quixote is convinced that he had encountered an illustrious knight, who is wearing Mambrino's helmet and does not hesitate to violently attack the barber and take his shaving basin, while screaming: "'Defend thyself, miserable being, or yield me of thine own accord that which is so reasonably my due.
All the defenders of Charles the Great were looking for Mambrino's helmet, as it was golden and protected his possessor; that is why many wanted to have it.
Significantly, as Edward Dudley has observed, the most complex series of intercalated tales in the Quixote (which become concentrated in the inn) takes place between the two "yelmo de Mambrino" episodes, Mambrino's helmet being a coveted object in the Furioso as well and therefore a textual marker of Ariostan influence.
The link between this narrative ir y venir, inspired by Lope's desire for Torralba and representative of chivalric romance structures, and the appearance of Mambrino's helmet in the subsequent chapter should not be overlooked.
As much as we need to think that the windmills are warriors and that the barber's bowl is Mambrino's helmet
, "utopia on its own is pitiful and dangerous" (12) unless it is balanced by down-to-earth factuality.
Further evidence of Don Quixote's erudition is his ready knowledge of the rules of knight-errantry and his recalling the legend of Mambrino's helmet
in connection with his oath of knighthood as well as elsewhere in the novel.
Regarding Mambrino's helmet
, on a perfectly sunny day, the barber travels with the basin on his head, as if it was a normal thing to do.