Gargantua and Pantagruel, by Francois Rabelais

Chapter 24

How Panurge was said to have been afraid without reason during the storm.

Good morrow, gentlemen, said Panurge; good morrow to you all; you are in very good health, thanks to heaven and yourselves; you are all heartily welcome, and in good time. Let us go on shore. — Here, coxswain, get the ladder over the gunnel; man the sides; man the pinnace, and get her by the ship’s side. Shall I lend you a hand here? I am stark mad for want of business, and would work like any two yokes of oxen. Truly this is a fine place, and these look like a very good people. Children, do you want me still in anything? do not spare the sweat of my body, for God’s sake. Adam — that is, man — was made to labour and work, as the birds were made to fly. Our Lord’s will is that we get our bread with the sweat of our brows, not idling and doing nothing, like this tatterdemalion of a monk here, this Friar Jack, who is fain to drink to hearten himself up, and dies for fear.--Rare weather. — I now find the answer of Anacharsis, the noble philosopher, very proper. Being asked what ship he reckoned the safest, he replied: That which is in the harbour. He made a yet better repartee, said Pantagruel, when somebody inquiring which is greater, the number of the living or that of the dead, he asked them amongst which of the two they reckoned those that are at sea, ingeniously implying that they are continually in danger of death, dying alive, and living die. Portius Cato also said that there were but three things of which he would repent: if ever he had trusted his wife with his secret, if he had idled away a day, and if he had ever gone by sea to a place which he could visit by land. By this dignified frock of mine, said Friar John to Panurge, friend, thou hast been afraid during the storm without cause or reason; for thou wert not born to be drowned, but rather to be hanged and exalted in the air, or to be roasted in the midst of a jolly bonfire. My lord, would you have a good cloak for the rain; leave me off your wolf and badger-skin mantle; let Panurge but be flayed, and cover yourself with his hide. But do not come near the fire, nor near your blacksmith’s forges, a God’s name; for in a moment you will see it in ashes. Yet be as long as you please in the rain, snow, hail, nay, by the devil’s maker, throw yourself or dive down to the very bottom of the water, I’ll engage you’ll not be wet at all. Have some winter boots made of it, they’ll never take in a drop of water; make bladders of it to lay under boys to teach them to swim, instead of corks, and they will learn without the least danger. His skin, then, said Pantagruel, should be like the herb called true maiden’s hair, which never takes wet nor moistness, but still keeps dry, though you lay it at the bottom of the water as long as you please; and for that reason is called Adiantos.

Friend Panurge, said Friar John, I pray thee never be afraid of water; thy life for mine thou art threatened with a contrary element. Ay, ay, replied Panurge, but the devil’s cooks dote sometimes, and are apt to make horrid blunders as well as others; often putting to boil in water what was designed to be roasted on the fire; like the head-cooks of our kitchen, who often lard partridges, queests, and stock-doves with intent to roast them, one would think; but it happens sometimes that they e’en turn the partridges into the pot to be boiled with cabbages, the queests with leek pottage, and the stock-doves with turnips. But hark you me, good friends, I protest before this noble company, that as for the chapel which I vowed to Mons. St. Nicholas between Quande and Montsoreau, I honestly mean that it shall be a chapel of rose-water, which shall be where neither cow nor calf shall be fed; for between you and I, I intend to throw it to the bottom of the water. Here is a rare rogue for you, said Eusthenes; here is a pure rogue, a rogue in grain, a rogue enough, a rogue and a half. He is resolved to make good the Lombardic proverb, Passato el pericolo, gabbato el santo.

The devil was sick, the devil a monk would be;

The devil was well, the devil a monk was he.

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