When the creature was free from any fear or affection, the colour of its hair was just such as you see that of the asses of Meung.
How Pantagruel received a letter from his father Gargantua, and of the strange way to have speedy news from far distant places.
While Pantagruel was taken up with the purchase of those foreign animals, the noise of ten guns and culverins, together with a loud and joyful cheer of all the fleet, was heard from the mole. Pantagruel looked towards the haven, and perceived that this was occasioned by the arrival of one of his father Gargantua’s celoces, or advice-boats, named the Chelidonia; because on the stern of it was carved in Corinthian brass a sea-swallow, which is a fish as large as a dare-fish of Loire, all flesh, without scale, with cartilaginous wings (like a bat’s) very long and broad, by the means of which I have seen them fly about three fathom above water, about a bow-shot. At Marseilles ’tis called lendole. And indeed that ship was as light as a swallow, so that it rather seemed to fly on the sea than to sail. Malicorne, Gargantua’s esquire carver, was come in her, being sent expressly by his master to have an account of his son’s health and circumstances, and to bring him credentials. When Malicorne had saluted Pantagruel, before the prince opened the letters, the first thing he said to him was, Have you here the Gozal, the heavenly messenger? Yes, sir, said he; here it is swaddled up in this basket. It was a grey pigeon, taken out of Gargantua’s dove-house, whose young ones were just hatched when the advice-boat was going off.
If any ill fortune had befallen Pantagruel, he would have fastened some black ribbon to his feet; but because all things had succeeded happily hitherto, having caused it to be undressed, he tied to its feet a white ribbon, and without any further delay let it loose. The pigeon presently flew away, cutting the air with an incredible speed, as you know that there is no flight like a pigeon’s, especially when it hath eggs or young ones, through the extreme care which nature hath fixed in it to relieve and be with its young; insomuch that in less than two hours it compassed in the air the long tract which the advice-boat, with all her diligence, with oars and sails, and a fair