Whilst he was thus vaulting, the rogues in great astonishment said to one another, By cock’s death, he is a goblin or a devil thus disguised. Ab hoste maligno libera nos, Domine, and ran away in a full flight, as if they had been routed, looking now and then behind them, like a dog that carrieth away a goose-wing in his mouth. Then Gymnast, spying his advantage, alighted from his horse, drew his sword, and laid on great blows upon the thickset and highest crested among them, and overthrew them in great heaps, hurt, wounded, and bruised, being resisted by nobody, they thinking he had been a starved devil, as well in regard of his wonderful feats in vaulting, which they had seen, as for the talk Tripet had with him, calling him poor devil. Only Tripet would have traitorously cleft his head with his horseman’s sword, or lance-knight falchion; but he was well armed, and felt nothing of the blow but the weight of the stroke. Whereupon, turning suddenly about, he gave Tripet a home-thrust, and upon the back of that, whilst he was about to ward his head from a slash, he ran him in at the breast with a hit, which at once cut his stomach, the fifth gut called the colon, and the half of his liver, wherewith he fell to the ground, and in falling gushed forth above four pottles of pottage, and his soul mingled with the pottage.
This done, Gymnast withdrew himself, very wisely considering that a case of great adventure and hazard should not be pursued unto its utmost period, and that it becomes all cavaliers modestly to use their good fortune, without troubling or stretching it too far. Wherefore, getting to horse, he gave him the spur, taking the right way unto Vauguyon, and Prelinguand with him.
How Gargantua demolished the castle at the ford of Vede, and how they passed the ford.
As soon as he came, he related the estate and condition wherein they had found the enemy, and the stratagem which he alone had used against all their multitude, affirming that they were but rascally rogues, plunderers, thieves, and robbers, ignorant of all military discipline, and that they might boldly set forward unto the field; it being an easy matter to fell and strike them down like beasts. Then Gargantua mounted his great mare, accompanied as we have said before, and finding in his way a high and great tree, which commonly was called by the name of St. Martin’s tree, because heretofore St. Martin planted a pilgrim’s staff there, which in tract of time grew to that height and greatness, said, This is that which I lacked; this tree shall serve me both for a staff and lance. With that he pulled it up easily, plucked off the boughs, and trimmed it at his pleasure. In the meantime his mare pissed to ease her belly, but it was in such abundance that it did overflow the country seven leagues, and all the piss of that urinal flood ran glib away towards the ford of Vede, wherewith the