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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 952 pages of information about Gargantua and Pantagruel.

Chapter 3.L.

How the famous Pantagruelion ought to be prepared and wrought.

The herb Pantagruelion, in September, under the autumnal equinox, is dressed and prepared several ways, according to the various fancies of the people and diversity of the climates wherein it groweth.  The first instruction which Pantagruel gave concerning it was to divest and despoil the stalk and stem thereof of all its flowers and seeds, to macerate and mortify it in pond, pool, or lake water, which is to be made run a little for five days together (Properly—­’lake water, which is to be made stagnant, not current, for five days together.’—­M.) if the season be dry and the water hot, or for full nine or twelve days if the weather be cloudish and the water cold.  Then must it be parched before the sun till it be drained of its moisture.  After this it is in the shadow, where the sun shines not, to be peeled and its rind pulled off.  Then are the fibres and strings thereof to be parted, wherein, as we have already said, consisteth its prime virtue, price, and efficacy, and severed from the woody part thereof, which is unprofitable, and serveth hardly to any other use than to make a clear and glistering blaze, to kindle the fire, and for the play, pastime, and disport of little children, to blow up hogs’ bladders and make them rattle.  Many times some use is made thereof by tippling sweet-lipped bibbers, who out of it frame quills and pipes, through which they with their liquor-attractive breath suck up the new dainty wine from the bung of the barrel.  Some modern Pantagruelists, to shun and avoid that manual labour which such a separating and partitional work would of necessity require, employ certain cataractic instruments, composed and formed after the same manner that the froward, pettish, and angry Juno did hold the fingers of both her hands interwovenly clenched together when she would have hindered the childbirth delivery of Alcmena at the nativity of Hercules; and athwart those cataracts they break and bruise to very trash the woody parcels, thereby to preserve the better the fibres, which are the precious and excellent parts.  In and with this sole operation do these acquiesce and are contented, who, contrary to the received opinion of the whole earth, and in a manner paradoxical to all philosophers, gain their livelihoods backwards, and by recoiling.  But those that love to hold it at a higher rate, and prize it according to its value, for their own greater profit do the very same which is told us of the recreation of the three fatal sister Parcae, or of the nocturnal exercise of the noble Circe, or yet of the excuse which Penelope made to her fond wooing youngsters and effeminate courtiers during the long absence of her husband Ulysses.

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