According to the laws of the genre picaresque, the novel begins with a description of the hero’s childhood years. Pablos’s parents – a witch mother, a thief-father – are always arguing, whose profession is better. “Theft, son, this is not a simple craft, but an elegant art,” assures the father. But the boy already cherishes noble dreams from his childhood, rejects the parents’ proposals to master their “art” and only because of his perseverance goes to school. At school, Pablos met Don Diego Coronel, the son of noble hidalgo, he sincerely loves his new friend and gladly teaches him various games. But the stay of our hero in the school was short, since the following happened to him. During the carnival, the skinny nag on which Pablos was
The merchants raised a cry, began to throw Pablos and his schoolmates with trousseau, eggplants and other vegetables; schoolchildren, not lost, were stocked with stones, and a real battle began. Servants of justice interrupted the battle, but still there were losses. Don Diego had a head broken and his parents decided not to let his son go to school anymore. Pablos’s parents were also furious, blaming everything for their careless son. Pablos decides to leave his father’s house, drop out of school and stay with Don Diego as a servant. The boys are sent to the boarding school, but it soon becomes clear that the Cabra librarian, who is engaged in the upbringing of noble children, because of greed, starves the inmates.
The only way out for children is to steal, and Pablos becomes a professional in the thieves’ business, realizing that this is his vocation. When one of the inmates dies of hunger, the father of Don Diego takes his son and Pablos from the boarding house and sends them to the university in Alcalá, where Don Diego must study grammar sciences. Pablos soon becomes a well-known “hero” because of his cunning and resourcefulness, while his master remains, living among knave rogues, hitting a variety of intrigues
In Alcala long wondered this trick of Pablos, although they had already heard that he had paid tribute to all the surrounding vegetable gardens and vineyards, and turned the city market into a place “so unsafe for traders, as if it was a dense forest.” All these “feats” got our hero the glory of the cleverest and most sneaky bastard. And many caballeros sought to entice Pablos into his service, but he remained faithful to Don Diego. And yet fate would have liked to separate the master from the servant.
Don Pablos receives a letter from his uncle, the executioner, who informs the sad news. His father was hanged for stealing, and his uncle, who carried out the sentence, is proud of his relative, since he “hung so sedately that it was impossible to demand anything better.” My mother was sentenced by the Inquisition to four hundred deadly lashes for sorcery. Uncle asks Pablos to come for a legacy of 400 ducats and advises him to think about the profession of the executioner, since with his knowledge of Latin and rhetoric, he will be unsurpassed in this art.
Don Diego was saddened by his separation, Pablos lamented even more, but when he parted with his master, he said: “I became another, señor… I’m aiming higher, for if my father was on the frontal place, then I want to try to jump above my forehead “.
The next day Pablos goes to Segovia to his uncle and receives the money that his relative has not yet had time to drink. Uncle is talking silly conversations, constantly applying to the bottle, and the nephew decides to run away from his house as soon as possible.
The next morning Pablos hires a donkey driver and begins a long-awaited journey to the capital, Madrid, as he is confident that he will be able to live there thanks to his resourcefulness and dexterity. On the road, an unexpected acquaintance begins. Don Toribio, a poor hidalgo, who lost his father’s property due to the fact that it was not redeemed on time, dedicates Pablos to the laws of the capital’s life. Don Toribio is one of the members of a gang of an amazing kind of fraudsters: their whole life is a deception aimed at not being accepted for what they really are. So, at night they gather on the streets lamb and bird bones, fruit peels, old wine bellows and scatter all this in their rooms.
If someone comes to visit in the morning, then the prepared phrase is immediately pronounced: “Sorry for the mess, your ladyship, there was a dinner party, and these servants…”, although, of course, there are no servants in sight. A duped visitor takes all this rubbish for the remains of a dinner party and believes that he has wealthy hidalgo before him. Every morning begins with a careful study of their own clothes, since it’s not so easy to let people catch dust: pants wear out very quickly, so different ways of sitting and standing against the light are invented, each thing has its long history, and, for example, a jacket can to be the granddaughter of a cape and the great-granddaughter of a great cloak-the tricks of numbers. There are also a million ways to dine in someone else’s house. Suppose, having talked with someone for two minutes, the whisperers will find out where the stranger lives,
These young people can not afford to fall in love disinterestedly, and it happens only when necessary. They are dragging for innkeepers – for lunch, for the mistress of the house – for the sake of the premises, in a word, the nobleman is theirs if he can dodge – “the king himself, though he owns but little.” Pablos is delighted with such an extraordinary way of existence and declares Don Toribio of his decision to join their brotherhood. Upon arriving in Madrid, Pablos lives with one of Don Toribib’s friends, whom he employs as a servant. There is a paradoxical situation: firstly, the rogue feeds his master, and secondly, the rogue does not leave the poor hidalgo. This confirms the true kindness of Pablos, and he evokes sympathy, although we understand that there is really nothing to admire. Pablos spends a month in the company of knights of easy profit, studying all their thieves’ tricks. But once, having got on the sale of stolen dress, the whole “fraudulent collegium” goes to prison. But Pablos has an advantage – he is new to this company, therefore, giving a bribe, goes free. Meanwhile, all the other members of the gang are sent from Madrid for six years.