As soon as the boat had clapped them on board, they all with one voice asked, Have you seen him, good passengers, have you seen him? Who? asked Pantagruel. You know who, answered they. Who is it? asked Friar John. ’Sblood and ’ounds, I’ll thrash him thick and threefold. This he said thinking that they inquired after some robber, murderer, or church-breaker. Oh, wonderful! cried the four; do not you foreign people know the one? Sirs, replied Epistemon, we do not understand those terms; but if you will be pleased to let us know who you mean, we will tell you the truth of the matter without any more ado. We mean, said they, he that is. Did you ever see him? He that is, returned Pantagruel, according to our theological doctrine, is God, who said to Moses, I am that I am. We never saw him, nor can he be beheld by mortal eyes. We mean nothing less than that supreme God who rules in heaven, replied they; we mean the god on earth. Did you ever see him? Upon my honour, replied Carpalin, they mean the pope. Ay, ay, answered Panurge; yea, verily, gentlemen, I have seen three of them, whose sight has not much bettered me. How! cried they, our sacred decretals inform us that there never is more than one living. I mean successively, one after the other, returned Panurge; otherwise I never saw more than one at a time.
O thrice and four times happy people! cried they; you are welcome, and more than double welcome! They then kneeled down before us and would have kissed our feet, but we would not suffer it, telling them that should the pope come thither in his own person, ’tis all they could do to him. No, certainly, answered they, for we have already resolved upon the matter. We would kiss his bare arse without boggling at it, and eke his two pounders; for he has a pair of them, the holy father, that he has; we find it so by our fine decretals, otherwise he could not be pope. So that, according to our subtle decretaline philosophy, this is a necessary consequence: he is pope; therefore he has genitories, and should genitories no more be found in the world, the world could no more have a pope.
While they were talking thus, Pantagruel inquired of one of the coxswain’s crew who those persons were. He answered that they were the four estates of the island, and added that we should be made as welcome as princes, since we had seen the pope. Panurge having been acquainted with this by Pantagruel, said to him in his ear, I swear and vow, sir, ’tis even so; he that has patience may compass anything. Seeing the pope had done us no good; now, in the devil’s name, ’twill do us a great deal. We then went ashore, and the whole country, men, women, and children, came to meet us as in a solemn procession. Our four estates cried out to them with a loud voice, They have seen him! they have seen him! they have seen him! That proclamation being made, all the mob kneeled before us, lifting up their hands towards heaven, and crying, O happy men! O most happy! and this acclamation lasted above a quarter of an hour.