Gargantua and Pantagruel eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,126 pages of information about Gargantua and Pantagruel.

Meanwhile it turned about to and fro, staggering and straying like one stunned, blinded, and taking his leave of the world.  Pantagruel, not satisfied with this, let fly another dart, which took the monster under the tail likewise sloping; then with three other on the chine, in a perpendicular line, divided its flank from the tail to the snout at an equal distance.  Then he larded it with fifty on one side, and after that, to make even work, he darted as many on its other side; so that the body of the physeter seemed like the hulk of a galleon with three masts, joined by a competent dimension of its beams, as if they had been the ribs and chain-wales of the keel; which was a pleasant sight.  The physeter then giving up the ghost, turned itself upon its back, as all dead fishes do; and being thus overturned, with the beams and darts upside down in the sea, it seemed a scolopendra or centipede, as that serpent is described by the ancient sage Nicander.

Chapter 4.XXXV.

How Pantagruel went on shore in the Wild Island, the ancient abode of the Chitterlings.

The boat’s crew of the ship Lantern towed the physeter ashore on the neighbouring shore, which happened to be the Wild Island, to make an anatomical dissection of its body and save the fat of its kidneys, which, they said, was very useful and necessary for the cure of a certain distemper, which they called want of money.  As for Pantagruel, he took no manner of notice of the monster; for he had seen many such, nay, bigger, in the Gallic ocean.  Yet he condescended to land in the Wild Island, to dry and refresh some of his men (whom the physeter had wetted and bedaubed), at a small desert seaport towards the south, seated near a fine pleasant grove, out of which flowed a delicious brook of fresh, clear, and purling water.  Here they pitched their tents and set up their kitchens; nor did they spare fuel.

Everyone having shifted as they thought fit, Friar John rang the bell, and the cloth was immediately laid, and supper brought in.  Pantagruel eating cheerfully with his men, much about the second course perceived certain little sly Chitterlings clambering up a high tree near the pantry, as still as so many mice.  Which made him ask Xenomanes what kind of creatures these were, taking them for squirrels, weasels, martins, or ermines.  They are Chitterlings, replied Xenomanes.  This is the Wild Island of which I spoke to you this morning; there hath been an irreconcilable war this long time between them and Shrovetide, their malicious and ancient enemy.  I believe that the noise of the guns which we fired at the physeter hath alarmed them, and made them fear their enemy was come with his forces to surprise them, or lay the island waste, as he hath often attempted to do; though he still came off but bluely, by reason of the care and vigilance of the Chitterlings, who (as Dido said to Aeneas’s companions that would have landed at Carthage without her leave or knowledge) were forced to watch and stand upon their guard, considering the malice of their enemy and the neighbourhood of his territories.

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Gargantua and Pantagruel from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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