Dapple’s Physical and Mental Qualities– In general, Dapple is a highly strung, jittery donkey that is frightened easily.
Dapple’s Injuries– The first instance of Dapple’s injuries comes when he is pelted by a hailstorm of rocks thrown by a group of recently freed convicts. So intense is the unprovoked stoning, that Dapple hears concussion aftershocks in his head throughout the day. Again, when Sancho Panza and Dapple fall in a hole together, his Donkey is so bruised and battered by the gravity drop that he moans and groans in pained and piteous tones.
Dapple’s Gait– When Sancho Panza and Don Quixote ride a wooden steed that the Duke and the Duchess of Aragon pretend can fly, Sancho Panza claims that though his donkey cannot sprout wings and soar as Clavileno the Swift can, for a smooth and easy ride, his dun is unparalleled, on land, as a first rate ambler.
Sancho Panza’s Relationship with Dapple– Sancho Panza often talks to dapple when he is traveling. In fact, Sancho Panza values Dapple’s company so much that when his donkey is stolen by a picaroon named Gines de Pasamonte, Sancho Panza is grieved to the depths of
his soul, sometimes waking Don Quixote with his doleful laments of sorrow. In fact he waxes poetic, in his simple rustic way, by calling Dapple the child of his bowels, a treasure to his children, a delight to his wife, the ease of his burdens―a source of well-needed income since his Donkey earns him twenty-six maravedis a day, a sum that covers half his daily expenses. During his travels Sancho Panza even caresses Dapple as is if his mule is a human being. He hugs his Dun, gives it kisses on its forehead and even feels pangs of conscience when he leaves his donkey alone. Even though Sancho Panza is offered a faster, swifter, horse, twice, Sancho Panza insists that he will not trade Dapple for sir Lancelot’s trusty steed itself. Since Dapple is the light of Sancho Panza’s life, he beseeches the Duchess to make sure his donkey is adequately fed and stabled at the Duke’s castle. Indeed, when Sancho Panza first reaches the Duke and Duchess’s country seat, he feels such pangs of conscience at leaving his donkey all by itself that he asks a venerable household duenna to kindly take his ass to the stables herself, since it is a rather jittery animal, and will not feel happy on its own. So great is Sancho Panza’s fondness for his donkey that he asks Dona Rodriguez to stable Dapple, since, he thinks that there isn’t any kindlier person to entrust his valued ass to than Duchess’s Doyenne. Later, when Sancho Panza goes hunting with the Duke, the Duchess, and Don Quixote, he does not dismount Dapple to take position to ambush a boar by a game trail, since he does not want his precious donkey to be gored. In reciprocity, when Sancho Panza dangles head down from an evergreen oak during this scene, his dun sticks beside him, and refuses to abandon him in his plight. In fact, people are so used to seeing Sancho Panza and Dapple riding together as one that they are dubbed the inseperables. At times Sancho Panza even rides his ass as if he is a conquering patriarch. For example, when he travels to a hypothetical town called Barataria, he rides atop dapple in accoutrements of flaming silk.
Dapple and Sancho Panza’s Family– Dapple is so beloved by Sancho Panza’s wife, daughter, and son, that he is treated as if he is a member of their nuclear family. For example, after Sancho Panza returns home from his second sally the first thing that Teresa Panza asks her husband is if the donkey is well, or not. Moreover, during one of Sancho Panza’s many speeches about dapple, he describes his donkey as his children’s treasure and his wife’s delight since he was born in their very house.
Dapple Carries Don Quixote– After Don Quixote is beaten to a bloody pulp by a group of muleteers he slings Don Quixote across Dapples back until he is well enough to walk on his own power.