When it gets dark, Sancho and his donkey fall into a wide pit on the side of the road. They spend the night stuck inside. In the morning, Sancho notices a gap in the side of the pit, and he and his donkey crawl through it into a large cavern. Meanwhile, Don Quixote rides out that same morning to practice for his duel. He rides by the pit and faintly hears a voice shouting for help. At first he thinks it’s Sancho’s ghost, but soon he realizes it’s Sancho himself and leaves to get help from the castle. When Sancho is out, the two friends return to the castle and Sancho explains to the Duke and Duchess that the governorship was too much for him, and that he wants to become Quixote’s squire once again.
Sancho’s fall into the pit echoes Quixote’s descent into the cave of Montesinos. But his fall is accidental, and the pit is dark and empty, with no hint of imagination or adventure. Symbolically, it is another moment of disenchantment for Quixote. But at the same time, Sancho is showing his loyalty to both Quixote and knight-errantry by quitting his post. The two friends are slightly at cross-purposes.