Gargantua and Pantagruel eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 952 pages of information about Gargantua and Pantagruel.
wind, could not go through in less than three days and three nights; and was seen as it went into the dove-house in its nest.  Whereupon Gargantua, hearing that it had the white ribbon on, was joyful and secure of his son’s welfare.  This was the custom of the noble Gargantua and Pantagruel when they would have speedy news of something of great concern; as the event of some battle, either by sea or land; the surrendering or holding out of some strong place; the determination of some difference of moment; the safe or unhappy delivery of some queen or great lady; the death or recovery of their sick friends or allies, and so forth.  They used to take the gozal, and had it carried from one to another by the post, to the places whence they desired to have news.  The gozal, bearing either a black or white ribbon, according to the occurrences and accidents, used to remove their doubts at its return, making in the space of one hour more way through the air than thirty postboys could have done in one natural day.  May not this be said to redeem and gain time with a vengeance, think you?  For the like service, therefore, you may believe as a most true thing that in the dove-houses of their farms there were to be found all the year long store of pigeons hatching eggs or rearing their young.  Which may be easily done in aviaries and voleries by the help of saltpetre and the sacred herb vervain.

The gozal being let fly, Pantagruel perused his father Gargantua’s letter, the contents of which were as followeth: 

My dearest Son,—­The affection that naturally a father bears a beloved son is so much increased in me by reflecting on the particular gifts which by the divine goodness have been heaped on thee, that since thy departure it hath often banished all other thoughts out of my mind, leaving my heart wholly possessed with fear lest some misfortune has attended thy voyage; for thou knowest that fear was ever the attendant of true and sincere love.  Now because, as Hesiod saith, A good beginning of anything is the half of it; or, Well begun’s half done, according to the old saying; to free my mind from this anxiety I have expressly despatched Malicorne, that he may give me a true account of thy health at the beginning of thy voyage.  For if it be good, and such as I wish it, I shall easily foresee the rest.

I have met with some diverting books, which the bearer will deliver thee; thou mayest read them when thou wantest to unbend and ease thy mind from thy better studies.  He will also give thee at large the news at court.  The peace of the Lord be with thee.  Remember me to Panurge, Friar John, Epistemon, Xenomanes, Gymnast, and thy other principal domestics.  Dated at our paternal seat, this 13th day of June.

Thy father and friend, Gargantua.

Chapter 4.IV.

How Pantagruel writ to his father Gargantua, and sent him several curiosities.

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Gargantua and Pantagruel from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.