I saw some manticores, a most strange sort of creatures, which have the body of a lion, red hair, a face and ears like a man’s, three rows of teeth which close together as if you joined your hands with your fingers between each other; they have a sting in their tails like a scorpion’s, and a very melodious voice.
I saw some catablepases, a sort of serpents, whose bodies are small, but their heads large, without any proportion, so that they’ve much ado to lift them up; and their eyes are so infectious that whoever sees ’em dies upon the spot, as if he had seen a basilisk.
I saw some beasts with two backs, and those seemed to me the merriest creatures in the world. They were most nimble at wriggling the buttocks, and more diligent in tail-wagging than any water-wagtails, perpetually jogging and shaking their double rumps.
I saw there some milched crawfish, creatures that I never had heard of before in my life. These moved in very good order, and ’twould have done your heart good to have seen ’em.
How in the land of Satin we saw Hearsay, who kept a school of vouching.
We went a little higher up into the country of Tapestry, and saw the Mediterranean Sea open to the right and left down to the very bottom; just as the Red Sea very fairly left its bed at the Arabian Gulf to make a lane for the Jews when they left Egypt.
There I found Triton winding his silver shell instead of a horn, and also Glaucus, Proteus, Nereus, and a thousand other godlings and sea monsters.
I also saw an infinite number of fish of all kinds, dancing, flying, vaulting, fighting, eating, breathing, billing, shoving, milting, spawning, hunting, fishing, skirmishing, lying in ambuscado, making truces, cheapening, bargaining, swearing, and sporting.
In a blind corner we saw Aristotle holding a lantern in the posture in which the hermit uses to be drawn near St. Christopher, watching, prying, thinking, and setting everything down.
Behind him stood a pack of other philosophers, like so many bums by a head-bailiff, as Appian, Heliodorus, Athenaeus, Porphyrius, Pancrates, Arcadian, Numenius, Possidonius, Ovidius, Oppianus, Olympius, Seleucus, Leonides, Agathocles, Theophrastus, Damostratus, Mutianus, Nymphodorus, Aelian, and five hundred other such plodding dons, who were full of business, yet had little to do; like Chrysippus or Aristarchus of Soli, who for eight-and-fifty years together did nothing in the world but examine the state and concerns of bees.
I spied Peter Gilles among these, with a urinal in his hand, narrowly watching the water of those goodly fishes.
When we had long beheld everything in this land of Satin, Pantagruel said, I have sufficiently fed my eyes, but my belly is empty all this while, and chimes to let me know ’tis time to go to dinner. Let’s take care of the body lest the soul abdicate it; and to this effect let’s taste some of these anacampserotes (’An herb, the touching of which is said to reconcile lovers.’—Motteux.) that hang over our heads. Psha, cried one, they are mere trash, stark naught, o’ my word; they’re good for nothing.