Gargantua and Pantagruel eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,126 pages of information about Gargantua and Pantagruel.
of all the winds that blow from the thirty-two points of the compass, will in the midst of a hurricane make you the biggest first-rate remain stock still, as if she were becalmed or the blustering tribe had blown their last.  Nay, and with the flesh of that fish, preserved with salt, you may fish gold out of the deepest well that was ever sounded with a plummet; for it will certainly draw up the precious metal, since Democritus affirmed it.  Theophrastus believed and experienced that there was an herb at whose single touch an iron wedge, though never so far driven into a huge log of the hardest wood that is, would presently come out; and it is this same herb your hickways, alias woodpeckers, use, when with some mighty axe anyone stops up the hole of their nests, which they industriously dig and make in the trunk of some sturdy tree.  Since stags and hinds, when deeply wounded with darts, arrows, and bolts, if they do but meet the herb called dittany, which is common in Candia, and eat a little of it, presently the shafts come out and all is well again; even as kind Venus cured her beloved byblow Aeneas when he was wounded on the right thigh with an arrow by Juturna, Turnus’s sister.  Since the very wind of laurels, fig-trees, or sea-calves makes the thunder sheer off insomuch that it never strikes them.  Since at the sight of a ram, mad elephants recover their former senses.  Since mad bulls coming near wild fig-trees, called caprifici, grow tame, and will not budge a foot, as if they had the cramp.  Since the venomous rage of vipers is assuaged if you but touch them with a beechen bough.  Since also Euphorion writes that in the isle of Samos, before Juno’s temple was built there, he has seen some beasts called neades, whose voice made the neighbouring places gape and sink into a chasm and abyss.  In short, since elders grow of a more pleasing sound, and fitter to make flutes, in such places where the crowing of cocks is not heard, as the ancient sages have writ and Theophrastus relates; as if the crowing of a cock dulled, flattened, and perverted the wood of the elder, as it is said to astonish and stupify with fear that strong and resolute animal, a lion.  I know that some have understood this of wild elder, that grows so far from towns or villages that the crowing of cocks cannot reach near it; and doubtless that sort ought to be preferred to the stenching common elder that grows about decayed and ruined places; but others have understood this in a higher sense, not literal, but allegorical, according to the method of the Pythagoreans, as when it was said that Mercury’s statue could not be made of every sort of wood; to which sentence they gave this sense, that God is not to be worshipped in a vulgar form, but in a chosen and religious manner.  In the same manner, by this elder which grows far from places where cocks are heard, the ancients meant that the wise and studious ought not to give their minds to trivial or vulgar music, but to that which is celestial, divine, angelical, more abstracted, and brought from remoter parts, that is, from a region where the crowing of cocks is not heard; for, to denote a solitary and unfrequented place, we say cocks are never heard to crow there.

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Gargantua and Pantagruel from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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