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

Chapter 5.IX.

How we arrived at the island of Tools.

Having well ballasted the holds of our human vessels, we weighed anchor, hoised up sail, stowed the boats, set the land, and stood for the offing with a fair loom gale, and for more haste unpareled the mizen-yard, and launched it and the sail over the lee-quarter, and fitted gyves to keep it steady, and boomed it out; so in three days we made the island of Tools, that is altogether uninhabited.  We saw there a great number of trees which bore mattocks, pickaxes, crows, weeding-hooks, scythes, sickles, spades, trowels, hatchets, hedging-bills, saws, adzes, bills, axes, shears, pincers, bolts, piercers, augers, and wimbles.

Others bore dags, daggers, poniards, bayonets, square-bladed tucks, stilettoes, poniardoes, skeans, penknives, puncheons, bodkins, swords, rapiers, back-swords, cutlasses, scimitars, hangers, falchions, glaives, raillons, whittles, and whinyards.

Whoever would have any of these needed but to shake the tree, and immediately they dropped down as thick as hops, like so many ripe plums; nay, what’s more, they fell on a kind of grass called scabbard, and sheathed themselves in it cleverly.  But when they came down, there was need of taking care lest they happened to touch the head, feet, or other parts of the body.  For they fell with the point downwards, and in they stuck, or slit the continuum of some member, or lopped it off like a twig; either of which generally was enough to have killed a man, though he were a hundred years old, and worth as many thousand spankers, spur-royals, and rose-nobles.

Under some other trees, whose names I cannot justly tell you, I saw some certain sorts of weeds that grew and sprouted like pikes, lances, javelins, javelots, darts, dartlets, halberds, boar-spears, eel-spears, partizans, tridents, prongs, trout-staves, spears, half-pikes, and hunting-staves.  As they sprouted up and chanced to touch the tree, straight they met with their heads, points, and blades, each suitable to its kind, made ready for them by the trees over them, as soon as every individual wood was grown up, fit for its steel; even like the children’s coats, that are made for them as soon as they can wear them and you wean them of their swaddling clothes.  Nor do you mutter, I pray you, at what Plato, Anaxagoras, and Democritus have said.  Ods-fish! they were none of your lower-form gimcracks, were they?

Those trees seemed to us terrestrial animals, in no wise so different from brute beasts as not to have skin, fat, flesh, veins, arteries, ligaments, nerves, cartilages, kernels, bones, marrow, humours, matrices, brains, and articulations; for they certainly have some, since Theophrastus will have it so.  But in this point they differed from other animals, that their heads, that is, the part of their trunks next to the root, are downwards; their hair, that is, their

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