Gargantua and Pantagruel eBook

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

Well, I will despatch, and tell you that, if you take of this celestial Pantagruelion so much as is needful to cover the body of the defunct, and after that you shall have enwrapped and bound therein as hard and closely as you can the corpse of the said deceased persons, and sewed up the folding-sheet with thread of the same stuff, throw it into the fire, how great or ardent soever it be it matters not a straw, the fire through this Pantagruelion will burn the body and reduce to ashes the bones thereof, and the Pantagruelion shall be not only not consumed nor burnt, but also shall neither lose one atom of the ashes enclosed within it, nor receive one atom of the huge bustuary heap of ashes resulting from the blazing conflagration of things combustible laid round about it, but shall at last, when taken out of the fire, be fairer, whiter, and much cleaner than when you did put it in at first.  Therefore it is called Asbeston, which is as much to say as incombustible.  Great plenty is to be found thereof in Carpasia, as likewise in the climate Dia Sienes, at very easy rates.  O how rare and admirable a thing it is, that the fire which devoureth, consumeth, and destroyeth all such things else, should cleanse, purge, and whiten this sole Pantagruelion Carpasian Asbeston!  If you mistrust the verity of this relation, and demand for further confirmation of my assertion a visible sign, as the Jews and such incredulous infidels use to do, take a fresh egg, and orbicularly, or rather ovally, enfold it within this divine Pantagruelion.  When it is so wrapped up, put it in the hot embers of a fire, how great or ardent soever it be, and having left it there as long as you will, you shall at last, at your taking it out of the fire, find the egg roasted hard, and as it were burnt, without any alteration, change, mutation, or so much as a calefaction of the sacred Pantagruelion.  For less than a million of pounds sterling, modified, taken down, and amoderated to the twelfth part of one fourpence halfpenny farthing, you are able to put it to a trial and make proof thereof.

Do not think to overmatch me here, by paragoning with it in the way of a more eminent comparison the Salamander.  That is a fib; for, albeit a little ordinary fire, such as is used in dining-rooms and chambers, gladden, cheer up, exhilarate, and quicken it, yet may I warrantably enough assure that in the flaming fire of a furnace it will, like any other animated creature, be quickly suffocated, choked, consumed, and destroyed.  We have seen the experiment thereof, and Galen many ages ago hath clearly demonstrated and confirmed it, Lib. 3, De temperamentis, and Dioscorides maintaineth the same doctrine, Lib. 2.  Do not here instance in competition with this sacred herb the feather alum or the wooden tower of Pyraeus, which Lucius Sylla was never able to get burnt; for that Archelaus, governor of the town for Mithridates, King of Pontus, had plastered it all over on the outside with the said alum. 

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Gargantua and Pantagruel from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.