The captain afterwards took us to the queen’s palace, leading us silently with great formality. Pantagruel would have said something to him, but the other, not being able to come up to his height, wished for a ladder or a very long pair of stilts; then said, Patience, if it were our sovereign lady’s will, we would be as tall as you; well, we shall when she pleases.
In the first galleries we saw great numbers of sick persons, differently placed according to their maladies. The leprous were apart; those that were poisoned on one side; those that had got the plague on another; those that had the pox in the first rank, and the rest accordingly.
How the Quintessence cured the sick with a song.
The captain showed us the queen, attended with her ladies and gentlemen, in the second gallery. She looked young, though she was at least eighteen hundred years old, and was handsome, slender, and as fine as a queen, that is, as hands could make her. He then said to us: It is not yet a fit time to speak to the queen; be you but mindful of her doings in the meanwhile.
You have kings in your world that fantastically pretend to cure some certain diseases, as, for example, scrofula or wens, swelled throats, nicknamed the king’s evil, and quartan agues, only with a touch; now our queen cures all manner of diseases without so much as touching the sick, but barely with a song, according to the nature of the distemper. He then showed us a set of organs, and said that when it was touched by her those miraculous cures were performed. The organ was indeed the strangest that ever eyes beheld; for the pipes were of cassia fistula in the cod; the top and cornice of guiacum; the bellows of rhubarb; the pedas of turbith, and the clavier or keys of scammony.
While we were examining this wonderful new make of an organ, the leprous were brought in by her abstractors, spodizators, masticators, pregustics, tabachins, chachanins, neemanins, rabrebans, nercins, rozuins, nebidins, tearins, segamions, perarons, chasinins, sarins, soteins, aboth, enilins, archasdarpenins, mebins, chabourins, and other officers, for whom I want names; so she played ’em I don’t know what sort of a tune or song, and they were all immediately cured.
Then those who were poisoned were had in, and she had no sooner given them a song but they began to find a use for their legs, and up they got. Then came on the deaf, the blind, and the dumb, and they too were restored to their lost faculties and senses with the same remedy; which did so strangely amaze us (and not without reason, I think) that down we fell on our faces, remaining prostrate, like men ravished in ecstasy, and were not able to utter one word through the excess of our admiration, till she came, and having touched Pantagruel with a fine fragrant nosegay of white roses which she held in her hand, thus made us recover our senses and get up. Then she made us the following speech in byssin words, such as Parisatis desired should be spoken to her son Cyrus, or at least of crimson alamode: