Gargantua and Pantagruel, by Francois Rabelais

Chapter 32

How Grangousier, to buy peace, caused the cakes to be restored.

With that the good man Gallet held his peace, but Picrochole to all his discourse answered nothing but Come and fetch them, come and fetch them — they have ballocks fair and soft — they will knead and provide some cakes for you. Then returned he to Grangousier, whom he found upon his knees bareheaded, crouching in a little corner of his cabinet, and humbly praying unto God that he would vouchsafe to assuage the choler of Picrochole, and bring him to the rule of reason without proceeding by force. When the good man came back, he asked him, Ha, my friend, what news do you bring me? There is neither hope nor remedy, said Gallet; the man is quite out of his wits, and forsaken of God. Yea, but, said Grangousier, my friend, what cause doth he pretend for his outrages? He did not show me any cause at all, said Gallet, only that in a great anger he spoke some words of cakes. I cannot tell if they have done any wrong to his cake-bakers. I will know, said Grangousier, the matter thoroughly, before I resolve any more upon what is to be done. Then sent he to learn concerning that business, and found by true information that his men had taken violently some cakes from Picrochole’s people, and that Marquet’s head was broken with a slacky or short cudgel; that, nevertheless, all was well paid, and that the said Marquet had first hurt Forgier with a stroke of his whip athwart the legs. And it seemed good to his whole council, that he should defend himself with all his might. Notwithstanding all this, said Grangousier, seeing the question is but about a few cakes, I will labour to content him; for I am very unwilling to wage war against him. He inquired then what quantity of cakes they had taken away, and understanding that it was but some four or five dozen, he commanded five cartloads of them to be baked that same night; and that there should be one full of cakes made with fine butter, fine yolks of eggs, fine saffron, and fine spice, to be bestowed upon Marquet, unto whom likewise he directed to be given seven hundred thousand and three Philips (that is, at three shillings the piece, one hundred five thousand pounds and nine shillings of English money), for reparation of his losses and hindrances, and for satisfaction of the chirurgeon that had dressed his wound; and furthermore settled upon him and his for ever in freehold the apple-orchard called La Pomardiere. For the conveyance and passing of all which was sent Gallet, who by the way as they went made them gather near the willow-trees great store of boughs, canes, and reeds, wherewith all the carriers were enjoined to garnish and deck their carts, and each of them to carry one in his hand, as himself likewise did, thereby to give all men to understand that they demanded but peace, and that they came to buy it.

Being come to the gate, they required to speak with Picrochole from Grangousier. Picrochole would not so much as let them in, nor go to speak with them, but sent them word that he was busy, and that they should deliver their mind to Captain Touquedillon, who was then planting a piece of ordnance upon the wall. Then said the good man unto him, My lord, to ease you of all this labour, and to take away all excuses why you may not return unto our former alliance, we do here presently restore unto you the cakes upon which the quarrel arose. Five dozen did our people take away: they were well paid for: we love peace so well that we restore unto you five cartloads, of which this cart shall be for Marquet, who doth most complain. Besides, to content him entirely, here are seven hundred thousand and three Philips, which I deliver to him, and, for the losses he may pretend to have sustained, I resign for ever the farm of the Pomardiere, to be possessed in fee-simple by him and his for ever, without the payment of any duty, or acknowledgement of homage, fealty, fine, or service whatsoever, and here is the tenour of the deed. And, for God’s sake, let us live henceforward in peace, and withdraw yourselves merrily into your own country from within this place, unto which you have no right at all, as yourselves must needs confess, and let us be good friends as before. Touquedillon related all this to Picrochole, and more and more exasperated his courage, saying to him, These clowns are afraid to some purpose. By G — Grangousier conskites himself for fear, the poor drinker. He is not skilled in warfare, nor hath he any stomach for it. He knows better how to empty the flagons — that is his art. I am of opinion that it is fit we send back the carts and the money, and, for rest, that very speedily we fortify ourselves here, then prosecute our fortune. But what! Do they think to have to do with a ninnywhoop, to feed you thus with cakes? You may see what it is. The good usage and great familiarity which you have had with them heretofore hath made you contemptible in their eyes. Anoint a villain, he will prick you: prick a villain, and he will anoint you (Ungentem pungit, pungentem rusticus ungit.).

Sa, sa, sa, said Picrochole, by St. James you have given a true character of them. One thing I will advise you, said Touquedillon. We are here but badly victualled, and furnished with mouth-harness very slenderly. If Grangousier should come to besiege us, I would go presently, and pluck out of all your soldiers’ heads and mine own all the teeth, except three to each of us, and with them alone we should make an end of our provision but too soon. We shall have, said Picrochole, but too much sustenance and feeding-stuff. Came we hither to eat or to fight? To fight, indeed, said Touquedillon; yet from the paunch comes the dance, and where famine rules force is exiled. Leave off your prating, said Picrochole, and forthwith seize upon what they have brought. Then took they money and cakes, oxen and carts, and sent them away without speaking one word, only that they would come no more so near, for a reason that they would give them the morrow after. Thus, without doing anything, returned they to Grangousier, and related the whole matter unto him, subjoining that there was no hope left to draw them to peace but by sharp and fierce wars.

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Last updated Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 15:33