Gargantua and Pantagruel, by Francois Rabelais

Chapter 49

How Picrochole in his flight fell into great misfortunes, and what Gargantua did after the battle.

Picrochole thus in despair fled towards the Bouchard Island, and in the way to Riviere his horse stumbled and fell down, whereat he on a sudden was so incensed, that he with his sword without more ado killed him in his choler; then, not finding any that would remount him, he was about to have taken an ass at the mill that was thereby; but the miller’s men did so baste his bones and so soundly bethwack him that they made him both black and blue with strokes; then stripping him of all his clothes, gave him a scurvy old canvas jacket wherewith to cover his nakedness. Thus went along this poor choleric wretch, who, passing the water at Port-Huaulx, and relating his misadventurous disasters, was foretold by an old Lourpidon hag that his kingdom should be restored to him at the coming of the Cocklicranes, which she called Coquecigrues. What is become of him since we cannot certainly tell, yet was I told that he is now a porter at Lyons, as testy and pettish in humour as ever he was before, and would be always with great lamentation inquiring at all strangers of the coming of the Cocklicranes, expecting assuredly, according to the old woman’s prophecy, that at their coming he shall be re-established in his kingdom. The first thing Gargantua did after his return into the town was to call the muster-roll of his men, which when he had done, he found that there were very few either killed or wounded, only some few foot of Captain Tolmere’s company, and Ponocrates, who was shot with a musket-ball through the doublet. Then he caused them all at and in their several posts and divisions to take a little refreshment, which was very plenteously provided for them in the best drink and victuals that could be had for money, and gave order to the treasurers and commissaries of the army to pay for and defray that repast, and that there should be no outrage at all nor abuse committed in the town, seeing it was his own. And furthermore commanded, that immediately after the soldiers had done with eating and drinking for that time sufficiently and to their own hearts’ desire, a gathering should be beaten for bringing them altogether, to be drawn up on the piazza before the castle, there to receive six months’ pay completely. All which was done. After this, by his direction, were brought before him in the said place all those that remained of Picrochole’s party, unto whom, in the presence of the princes, nobles, and officers of his court and army, he spoke as followeth.

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:59