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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 952 pages of information about Gargantua and Pantagruel.
over them upon the face of the whole earth; and, in pursuit of this their resolution, promised, confirmed, swore, and covenanted amongst them all, by the pure faith they owe to the nocturnal Sanct Rogero.  But O the vain enterprises of women!  O the great fragility of that sex feminine!  They did begin to flay the man, or peel him (as says Catullus), at that member which of all the body they loved best, to wit, the nervous and cavernous cane, and that above five thousand years ago; yet have they not of that small part alone flayed any more till this hour but the head.  In mere despite whereof the Jews snip off that parcel of the skin in circumcision, choosing far rather to be called clipyards, rascals, than to be flayed by women, as are other nations.  My wife, according to this female covenant, will flay it to me, if it be not so already.  I heartily grant my consent thereto, but will not give her leave to flay it all.  Nay, truly will I not, my noble king.

Yea but, quoth Epistemon, you say nothing of her most dreadful cries and exclamations when she and we both saw the laurel-bough burn without yielding any noise or crackling.  You know it is a very dismal omen, an inauspicious sign, unlucky indice, and token formidable, bad, disastrous, and most unhappy, as is certified by Propertius, Tibullus, the quick philosopher Porphyrius, Eustathius on the Iliads of Homer, and by many others.  Verily, verily, quoth Panurge, brave are the allegations which you bring me, and testimonies of two-footed calves.  These men were fools, as they were poets; and dotards, as they were philosophers; full of folly, as they were of philosophy.

Chapter 3.XIX.

How Pantagruel praiseth the counsel of dumb men.

Pantagruel, when this discourse was ended, held for a pretty while his peace, seeming to be exceeding sad and pensive, then said to Panurge, The malignant spirit misleads, beguileth, and seduceth you.  I have read that in times past the surest and most veritable oracles were not those which either were delivered in writing or uttered by word of mouth in speaking.  For many times, in their interpretation, right witty, learned, and ingenious men have been deceived through amphibologies, equivoques, and obscurity of words, no less than by the brevity of their sentences.  For which cause Apollo, the god of vaticination, was surnamed Loxias.  Those which were represented then by signs and outward gestures were accounted the truest and the most infallible.  Such was the opinion of Heraclitus.  And Jupiter did himself in this manner give forth in Ammon frequently predictions.  Nor was he single in this practice; for Apollo did the like amongst the Assyrians.  His prophesying thus unto those people moved them to paint him with a large long beard, and clothes beseeming an old settled person of a most posed, staid, and grave behaviour; not naked, young, and beardless, as he was portrayed most usually amongst the Grecians.  Let us make trial of this kind of fatidicency; and go you take advice of some dumb person without any speaking.  I am content, quoth Panurge.  But, says Pantagruel, it were requisite that the dumb you consult with be such as have been deaf from the hour of their nativity, and consequently dumb; for none can be so lively, natural, and kindly dumb as he who never heard.

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