Gargantua and Pantagruel, by Francois Rabelais

Chapter 32

How we came in sight of Lantern-land.

Having been but scurvily entertained in the land of Satin, we went o’ board, and having set sail, in four days came near the coast of Lantern-land. We then saw certain little hovering fires on the sea.

For my part, I did not take them to be lanterns, but rather thought they were fishes which lolled their flaming tongues on the surface of the sea, or lampyrides, which some call cicindelas, or glowworms, shining there as ripe barley does o’ nights in my country.

But the skipper satisfied us that they were the lanterns of the watch, or, more properly, lighthouses, set up in many places round the precinct of the place to discover the land, and for the safe piloting in of some outlandish lanterns, which, like good Franciscan and Jacobin friars, were coming to make their personal appearance at the provincial chapter.

However, some of us were somewhat suspicious that these fires were the forerunners of some storm, but the skipper assured us again they were not.

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