Gargantua and Pantagruel, by Francois Rabelais

Chapter 42

How Pantagruel held a treaty with Niphleseth, Queen of the Chitterlings.

The monster being out of sight, and the two armies remaining silent, Pantagruel demanded a parley with the lady Niphleseth, Queen of the Chitterlings, who was in her chariot by the standards; and it was easily granted. The queen alighted, courteously received Pantagruel, and was glad to see him. Pantagruel complained to her of this breach of peace; but she civilly made her excuse, telling him that a false information had caused all this mischief; her spies having brought her word that Shrovetide, their mortal foe, was landed, and spent his time in examining the urine of physeters.

She therefore entreated him to pardon them their offence, telling him that sir-reverence was sooner found in Chitterlings than gall; and offering, for herself and all her successors, to hold of him and his the whole island and country; to obey him in all his commands, be friends to his friends, and foes to his foes; and also to send every year, as an acknowledgment of their homage, a tribute of seventy-eight thousand royal Chitterlings, to serve him at his first course at table six months in the year; which was punctually performed. For the next day she sent the aforesaid quantity of royal Chitterlings to the good Gargantua, under the conduct of young Niphleseth, infanta of the island.

The good Gargantua made a present of them to the great King of Paris. But by change of air, and for want of mustard (the natural balsam and restorer of Chitterlings), most of them died. By the great king’s particular grant they were buried in heaps in a part of Paris to this day called La Rue pavee d’Andouilles, the street paved with Chitterlings. At the request of the ladies at his court young Niphleseth was preserved, honourably used, and since that married to heart’s content; and was the mother of many children, for which heaven be praised.

Pantagruel civilly thanked the queen, forgave all offences, refused the offer she had made of her country, and gave her a pretty little knife. After that he asked several nice questions concerning the apparition of that flying hog. She answered that it was the idea of Carnival, their tutelary god in time of war, first founder and original of all the Chitterling race; for which reason he resembled a hog, for Chitterlings drew their extraction from hogs.

Pantagruel asking to what purpose and curative indication he had voided so much mustard on the earth, the queen replied that mustard was their sanc-greal and celestial balsam, of which, laying but a little in the wounds of the fallen Chitterlings, in a very short time the wounded were healed and the dead restored to life. Pantagruel held no further discourse with the queen, but retired a-shipboard. The like did all the boon companions, with their implements of destruction and their huge sow.

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