Gargantua and Pantagruel eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,126 pages of information about Gargantua and Pantagruel.
whence he had draw’d it without using his hands, and that whoever refused to do this should presently swing for it and die in his shoes.  Some sturdy fools, standing upon their punctilio, chose honourably to be hanged rather than submit to so shameful and abominable a disgrace; and others, less nice in point of ceremony, took heart of grace, and even resolved to have at the fig, and a fig for’t, rather than make a worse figure with a hempen collar, and die in the air at so short warning.  Accordingly, when they had neatly picked out the fig with their teeth from old Thacor’s snatch-blatch, they plainly showed it the headsman, saying, Ecco lo fico, Behold the fig!

By the same ignominy the rest of these poor distressed Gaillardets saved their bacon, becoming tributaries and slaves, and the name of Pope-figs was given them, because they said, A fig for the pope’s image.  Since this, the poor wretches never prospered, but every year the devil was at their doors, and they were plagued with hail, storms, famine, and all manner of woes, as an everlasting punishment for the sin of their ancestors and relations.  Perceiving the misery and calamity of that generation, we did not care to go further up into the country, contenting ourselves with going into a little chapel near the haven to take some holy water.  It was dilapidated and ruined, wanting also a cover—­like Saint Peter at Rome.  When we were in, as we dipped our fingers in the sanctified cistern, we spied in the middle of that holy pickle a fellow muffled up with stoles, all under water, like a diving duck, except the tip of his snout to draw his breath.  About him stood three priests, true shavelings, clean shorn and polled, who were muttering strange words to the devils out of a conjuring book.

Pantagruel was not a little amazed at this, and inquiring what kind of sport these were at, was told that for three years last past the plague had so dreadfully raged in the island that the better half of it had been utterly depopulated, and the lands lay fallow and unoccupied.  Now, the mortality being over, this same fellow who had crept into the holy tub, having a large piece of ground, chanced to be sowing it with white winter wheat at the very minute of an hour that a kind of a silly sucking devil, who could not yet write or read, or hail and thunder, unless it were on parsley or coleworts, and got leave of his master Lucifer to go into this island of Pope-figs, where the devils were very familiar with the men and women, and often went to take their pastime.

This same devil being got thither, directed his discourse to the husbandman, and asked him what he was doing.  The poor man told him that he was sowing the ground with corn to help him to subsist the next year.  Ay, but the ground is none of thine, Mr. Plough-jobber, cried the devil, but mine; for since the time that you mocked the pope all this land has been proscribed, adjudged, and abandoned to us.  However, to sow

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Gargantua and Pantagruel from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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