Gargantua and Pantagruel, by Francois Rabelais

Chapter 41

How Pantagruel broke the Chitterlings at the knees.

The Chitterlings advanced so near that Pantagruel perceived that they stretched their arms and already began to charge their lances, which caused him to send Gymnast to know what they meant, and why they thus, without the least provocation, came to fall upon their old trusty friends, who had neither said nor done the least ill thing to them. Gymnast being advanced near their front, bowed very low, and said to them as loud as ever he could: We are friends, we are friends; all, all of us your friends, yours, and at your command; we are for Carnival, your old confederate. Some have since told me that he mistook, and said cavernal instead of carnival.

Whatever it was, the word was no sooner out of his mouth but a huge little squab Sausage, starting out of the front of their main body, would have griped him by the collar. By the helmet of Mars, said Gymnast, I will swallow thee; but thou shalt only come in in chips and slices; for, big as thou art, thou couldst never come in whole. This spoke, he lugs out his trusty sword, Kiss-mine-arse (so he called it) with both his fists, and cut the Sausage in twain. Bless me, how fat the foul thief was! it puts me in mind of the huge bull of Berne, that was slain at Marignan when the drunken Swiss were so mauled there. Believe me, it had little less than four inches’ lard on its paunch.

He lugs out his trusty sword, with both his fists, and cut the Sausage in twain.

The Sausage’s job being done, a crowd of others flew upon Gymnast, and had most scurvily dragged him down when Pantagruel with his men came up to his relief. Then began the martial fray, higgledy-piggledy. Maul-chitterling did maul chitterlings; Cut-pudding did cut puddings; Pantagruel did break the Chitterlings at the knees; Friar John played at least in sight within his sow, viewing and observing all things; when the Pattipans that lay in ambuscade most furiously sallied out upon Pantagruel.

Friar John, who lay snug all this while, by that time perceiving the rout and hurlyburly, set open the doors of his sow and sallied out with his merry Greeks, some of them armed with iron spits, others with andirons, racks, fire-shovels, frying-pans, kettles, grid-irons, oven forks, tongs, dripping pans, brooms, iron pots, mortars, pestles, all in battle array, like so many housebreakers, hallooing and roaring out all together most frightfully, Nabuzardan, Nabuzardan, Nabuzardan. Thus shouting and hooting they fought like dragons, and charged through the Pattipans and Sausages. The Chitterlings perceiving this fresh reinforcement, and that the others would be too hard for ‘em, betook themselves to their heels, scampering off with full speed, as if the devil had come for them. Friar John, with an iron crow, knocked them down as fast as hops; his men, too, were not sparing on their side. Oh, what a woeful sight it was! the field was all over strewed with heaps of dead or wounded Chitterlings; and history relates that had not heaven had a hand in it, the Chitterling tribe had been totally routed out of the world by the culinary champions. But there happened a wonderful thing, you may believe as little or as much of it as you please.

From the north flew towards us a huge, fat, thick, grizzly swine, with long and large wings, like those of a windmill; its plumes red crimson, like those of a phenicoptere (which in Languedoc they call flaman); its eyes were red, and flaming like a carbuncle; its ears green, like a Prasin emerald; its teeth like a topaz; its tail long and black, like jet; its feet white, diaphanous and transparent like a diamond, somewhat broad, and of the splay kind, like those of geese, and as Queen Dick’s used to be at Toulouse in the days of yore. About its neck it wore a gold collar, round which were some Ionian characters, whereof I could pick out but two words, (Greek), hog-teaching Minerva.

The sky was clear before; but at that monster’s appearance it changed so mightily for the worse that we were all amazed at it. As soon as the Chitterlings perceived the flying hog, down they all threw their weapons and fell on their knees, lifting up their hands joined together, without speaking one word, in a posture of adoration. Friar John and his party kept on mincing, felling, braining, mangling, and spitting the Chitterlings like mad; but Pantagruel sounded a retreat, and all hostility ceased.

The monster having several times hovered backwards and forwards between the two armies, with a tail-shot voided above twenty-seven butts of mustard on the ground; then flew away through the air, crying all the while, Carnival, Carnival, Carnival.

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