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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 952 pages of information about Gargantua and Pantagruel.

However, said he, as hornets and drones will get among the bees, and there do nothing but buzz, eat, and spoil everything; so, for these last three hundred years, a vast swarm of bigottelloes flocked, I do not know how, among these goodly birds every fifth full moon, and have bemuted, berayed, and conskited the whole island.  They are so hard-favoured and monstrous that none can abide them.  For their wry necks make a figure like a crooked billet; their paws are hairy, like those of rough-footed pigeons; their claws and pounces, belly and breech, like those of the Stymphalid harpies.  Nor is it possible to root them out, for if you get rid of one, straight four-and-twenty new ones fly thither.

There had been need of another monster-hunter such as was Hercules; for Friar John had like to have run distracted about it, so much he was nettled and puzzled in the matter.  As for the good Pantagruel, he was even served as was Messer Priapus, contemplating the sacrifices of Ceres, for want of skin.

Chapter 5.III.

How there is but one pope-hawk in the Ringing Island.

We then asked Master Aedituus why there was but one pope-hawk among such venerable birds multiplied in all their species.  He answered that such was the first institution and fatal destiny of the stars that the clerg-hawks begot the priest-hawks and monk-hawks without carnal copulation, as some bees are born of a young bull; the priest-hawks begat the bish-hawks, the bish-hawks the stately cardin-hawks, and the stately cardin-hawks, if they live long enough, at last come to be pope-hawk.

Of this last kind there never is more than one at a time, as in a beehive there is but one king, and in the world is but one sun.

When the pope-hawk dies, another arises in his stead out of the whole brood of cardin-hawks, that is, as you must understand it all along, without carnal copulation.  So that there is in that species an individual unity, with a perpetuity of succession, neither more or less than in the Arabian phoenix.

’Tis true that, about two thousand seven hundred and sixty moons ago, two pope-hawks were seen upon the face of the earth; but then you never saw in your lives such a woeful rout and hurly-burly as was all over this island.  For all these same birds did so peck, clapperclaw, and maul one another all that time, that there was the devil and all to do, and the island was in a fair way of being left without inhabitants.  Some stood up for this pope-hawk, some for t’other.  Some, struck with a dumbness, were as mute as so many fishes; the devil a note was to be got out of them; part of the merry bells here were as silent as if they had lost their tongues, I mean their clappers.

During these troublesome times they called to their assistance the emperors, kings, dukes, earls, barons, and commonwealths of the world that live on t’other side the water; nor was this schism and sedition at an end till one of them died, and the plurality was reduced to a unity.

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