Gargantua and Pantagruel eBook

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

Seeing them then turn about on one foot after they had made their honours, we compared them to your tops or gigs, such as boys use to whip about, making them turn round so swiftly that they sleep, as they call it, and motion cannot be perceived, but resembles rest, its contrary; so that if you make a point or mark on some part of one of those gigs, ’twill be perceived not as a point, but a continual line, in a most divine manner, as Cusanus has wisely observed.

While they were thus warmly engaged, we heard continually the claps and episemapsies which those of the two bands reiterated at the taking of their enemies; and this, joined to the variety of their motions and music, would have forced smiles out of the most severe Cato, the never-laughing Crassus, the Athenian man-hater, Timon; nay, even whining Heraclitus, though he abhorred laughing, the action that is most peculiar to man.  For who could have forborne? seeing those young warriors, with their nymphs and queens, so briskly and gracefully advance, retire, jump, leap, skip, spring, fly, vault, caper, move to the right, to the left, every way still in time, so swiftly, and yet so dexterously, that they never touched one another but methodically.

As the number of the combatants lessened, the pleasure of the spectators increased; for the stratagems and motions of the remaining forces were more singular.  I shall only add that this pleasing entertainment charmed us to such a degree that our minds were ravished with admiration and delight, and the martial harmony moved our souls so powerfully that we easily believed what is said of Ismenias’s having excited Alexander to rise from table and run to his arms, with such a warlike melody.  At last the golden king remained master of the field; and while we were minding those dances, Queen Whims vanished, so that we saw her no more from that day to this.

Then Geber’s michelots conducted us, and we were set down among her abstractors, as her queenship had commanded.  After that we returned to the port of Mateotechny, and thence straight aboard our ships; for the wind was fair, and had we not hoisted out of hand, we could hardly have got off in three quarters of a moon in the wane.

Chapter 5.XXVI.

How we came to the island of Odes, where the ways go up and down.

We sailed before the wind, between a pair of courses, and in two days made the island of Odes, at which place we saw a very strange thing.  The ways there are animals; so true is Aristotle’s saying, that all self-moving things are animals.  Now the ways walk there.  Ergo, they are then animals.  Some of them are strange unknown ways, like those of the planets; others are highways, crossways, and byways.  I perceived that the travellers and inhabitants of that country asked, Whither does this way go?  Whither does that way go?  Some answered, Between Midy and Fevrolles, to the parish church, to the city, to the river, and so forth.  Being thus in their right way, they used to reach their journey’s end without any further trouble, just like those who go by water from Lyons to Avignon or Arles.

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Gargantua and Pantagruel from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.