How Picrochole stormed and took by assault the rock Clermond, and of Grangousier’s unwillingness and aversion from the undertaking of war.
Whilst the monk did thus skirmish, as we have said, against those which were entered within the close, Picrochole in great haste passed the ford of Vede — a very especial pass — with all his soldiers, and set upon the rock Clermond, where there was made him no resistance at all; and, because it was already night, he resolved to quarter himself and his army in that town, and to refresh himself of his pugnative choler. In the morning he stormed and took the bulwarks and castle, which afterwards he fortified with rampiers, and furnished with all ammunition requisite, intending to make his retreat there, if he should happen to be otherwise worsted; for it was a strong place, both by art and nature, in regard of the stance and situation of it. But let us leave them there, and return to our good Gargantua, who is at Paris very assiduous and earnest at the study of good letters and athletical exercitations, and to the good old man Grangousier his father, who after supper warmeth his ballocks by a good, clear, great fire, and, waiting upon the broiling of some chestnuts, is very serious in drawing scratches on the hearth, with a stick burnt at the one end, wherewith they did stir up the fire, telling to his wife and the rest of the family pleasant old stories and tales of former times.
Whilst he was thus employed, one of the shepherds which did keep the vines, named Pillot, came towards him, and to the full related the enormous abuses which were committed, and the excessive spoil that was made by Picrochole, King of Lerne, upon his lands and territories, and how he had pillaged, wasted, and ransacked all the country, except the enclosure at Seville, which Friar John des Entoumeures to his great honour had preserved; and that at the same present time the said king was in the rock Clermond, and there, with great industry and circumspection, was strengthening himself and his whole army. Halas, halas, alas! said Grangousier, what is this, good people? Do I dream, or is it true that they tell me? Picrochole, my ancient friend of old time, of my own kindred and alliance, comes he to invade me? What moves him? What provokes him? What sets him on? What drives him to it? Who hath given him this counsel? Ho, ho, ho, ho, ho, my God, my Saviour, help me, inspire me, and advise me what I shall do! I protest, I swear before thee, so be thou favourable to me, if ever I did him or his subjects any damage or displeasure, or committed any the least robbery in his country; but, on the contrary, I have succoured and supplied him with men, money, friendship, and counsel, upon any occasion wherein I could be steadable for the improvement of his good. That he hath therefore at this nick of time so outraged and wronged me, it cannot be but by the malevolent and wicked spirit. Good God, thou knowest my courage, for nothing can be hidden from thee. If perhaps he be grown mad, and that thou hast sent him hither to me for the better recovery and re-establishment of his brain, grant me power and wisdom to bring him to the yoke of thy holy will by good discipline. Ho, ho, ho, ho, my good people, my friends and my faithful servants, must I hinder you from helping me? Alas, my old age required hence-forward nothing else but rest, and all the days of my life I have laboured for nothing so much as peace; but now I must, I see it well, load with arms my poor, weary, and feeble shoulders, and take in my trembling hand the lance and horseman’s mace, to succour and protect my honest subjects. Reason will have it so; for by their labour am I entertained, and with their sweat am I nourished, I, my children and my family. This notwithstanding, I will not undertake war, until I have first tried all the ways and means of peace: that I resolve upon.
Then assembled he his council, and proposed the matter as it was indeed. Whereupon it was concluded that they should send some discreet man unto Picrochole, to know wherefore he had thus suddenly broken the peace and invaded those lands unto which he had no right nor title. Furthermore, that they should send for Gargantua, and those under his command, for the preservation of the country, and defence thereof now at need. All this pleased Grangousier very well, and he commanded that so it should be done. Presently therefore he sent the Basque his lackey to fetch Gargantua with all diligence, and wrote him as followeth.
Last updated Monday, December 22, 2014 at 10:54