After supper we withdrew to take some rest, and the next day the queen made us choose one of the most illustrious lanterns to guide us; after which we took our leave.
How we arrived at the Oracle of the Bottle.
Our glorious lantern lighting and directing us to heart’s content, we at last arrived at the desired island where was the Oracle of the Bottle. As soon as friend Panurge landed, he nimbly cut a caper with one leg for joy, and cried to Pantagruel, Now we are where we have wished ourselves long ago. This is the place we’ve been seeking with such toil and labour. He then made a compliment to our lantern, who desired us to be of good cheer, and not be daunted or dismayed whatever we might chance to see.
To come to the Temple of the Holy Bottle we were to go through a large vineyard, in which were all sorts of vines, as the Falernian, Malvoisian, the Muscadine, those of Taige, Beaune, Mirevaux, Orleans, Picardent, Arbois, Coussi, Anjou, Grave, Corsica, Vierron, Nerac, and others. This vineyard was formerly planted by the good Bacchus, with so great a blessing that it yields leaves, flowers, and fruit all the year round, like the orange trees at Suraine.
Our magnificent lantern ordered every one of us to eat three grapes, to put some vine-leaves in his shoes, and take a vine-branch in his left hand.
At the end of the close we went under an arch built after the manner of those of the ancients. The trophies of a toper were curiously carved on it.
First, on one side was to be seen a long train of flagons, leathern bottles, flasks, cans, glass bottles, barrels, nipperkins, pint pots, quart pots, pottles, gallons, and old-fashioned semaises (swingeing wooden pots, such as those out of which the Germans fill their glasses); these hung on a shady arbour.
On another side was store of garlic, onions, shallots, hams, botargos, caviare, biscuits, neat’s tongues, old cheese, and such like comfits, very artificially interwoven, and packed together with vine-stocks.
On another were a hundred sorts of drinking glasses, cups, cisterns, ewers, false cups, tumblers, bowls, mazers, mugs, jugs, goblets, talboys, and such other Bacchic artillery.
On the frontispiece of the triumphal arch, under the zoophore, was the following couplet:
You who presume to move this way,
Get a good lantern, lest you stray.
We took special care of that, cried Pantagruel when he had read them; for there is not a better or a more divine lantern than ours in all Lantern-land.
This arch ended at a fine large round alley covered over with the interlaid branches of vines, loaded and adorned with clusters of five hundred different colours, and of as many various shapes, not natural, but due to the skill of agriculture; some were golden, others bluish, tawny, azure, white, black, green, purple, streaked with many colours, long, round, triangular, cod-like, hairy, great-headed, and grassy. That pleasant alley ended at three old ivy-trees, verdant, and all loaden with rings. Our enlightened lantern directed us to make ourselves hats with some of their leaves, and cover our heads wholly with them, which was immediately done.