Rabelais: Gargantua and Pantagruel
(Eight translations of a chapter)
The original French:
Comment Pantagruel de sa langue couvrit toute une armée,
et de ce que lauteur veit dedans sa bouche
Ainsi que Pantagruel avecques toute sa bande entrèrent ès terres des Dipsodes, tout le monde en estoit joyeux, et incontinent se rendirent à luy, et de leur franc vouloir luy apportèrent les clefz de toutes les villes où il alloit, exceptéz les Almyrodes, qui voulurent tenir contre luy, et feirent response à ses héraulx quilz ne se renderoyent point, sinon à bonnes enseignes.
Quoy! (dict Pantagruel) en demandent-ilz meilleures que la main au pot et le verre au poing? Allons, et quon me les mette à sac.
Adonc tous se mirent en ordre, comme délibéréz de donner lassault.
Mais au chemin passant une grande campaigne, furent saisiz dun grosse housée de pluye à quoy commencèrent à se tresmousser et se serrer lun laultre. Ce que voyant, Pantagruel leur fist dire par les capitaines que ce nestoit riens et quil véoit bien au-dessus des nuées que ce ne seroit quune petite rousée, mais à toutes fins quilz se missent en ordre et quil les vouloit couvrir. Lors se mirent en bon ordre et bien serréz, et Pantagruel tira la langue seulement à demy, et les en couvrit comme une géline faictz ses poulletz.
Cependant je qui vous fais ces tant véritables contes, mestois caché dessoubz une feuille de bardane, qui nestoit moins large que larche du pont de Monstrible; mais, quand je les veiz ainsi bien couvers ie men allay à eulx rendre à labrit, ce que je ne peux, tant ilz estoient, comme lon dit: au bout de laulne fault le drap. Doncques, le mieux que je peuz montay par-dessus, et cheminay bien deux lieues sus sa langue, tant que entray dedans sa bouche.
Mais, ô dieux et déesses, que veiz-je là? Juppiter me confonde de sa fouldre trisulque si jen mens. Je y cheminoys comme lon faict en Sophie à Constantinople, et y veiz de grands rochiers comme les mons des Dannoys (je croy que cestoient ces dentz) et de grands préz, de grandes forestz, de fortes et grosses villes, non moins grandes que Lyon ou Poictiers.
Le premier que y trouvay, ce fut un bonhomme qui plantoit des choulx. Dont, tout esbahy, luy demanday:
Mon amy, que fais-tu icy?
Je plante (dist-il) des choulx.
Et à quoy ny comment? dis-je.
Ha, monsieur (dist-il), chascun ne peut avoir les couillons aussi pesant qun mortier, et ne pouvons estre tous riches. Je gaigne ainsi ma vie, et les porte vendre au marché en la cité qui est icy derrière.
Jésus! (dis-je) il y a icy un nouveau monde?
Certes (dist-il) il nest mie nouveau; mais lon dist bien que hors dicy y a une terre neufve où ilz ont et soleil et lune, et tout plain de belles besoignes; mais cestuy-cy est plus ancien.
Voire, mais (dis-je), mon amy, comment a nom ceste ville où tu portes vendre tes choulx?
Elle a (dist-il) nom Aspharage, et sont christians, gens de bien, et vous feront grande chère.
Bref, je délibéray dy aller.
Or, en mon chemin, je trouvay ung compaignon, qui tendoit aux pigeons, auquel je demanday:
Mon amy, dont vous viennent ces pigeons icy?
Cyre (dist-il), ils viennent de laultre monde.
Lors je pensay que, quand Pantagruel basloit, les pigeons à pleines volées entroyent dedans sa gorge, pensans que feust un colombier.
Puis entray en la ville, laquelle je trouvay belle, bien forte et en bel air; mais à lentrée les portiers me demandèrent mon bulletin, de quoy je fuz fort esbahy, et leur demanday:
Messieurs, y a-il icy dangier ici de peste?
O seigneur (dirent-ilz), lon se meurt icy auprès tant que le charriot court par les rues.
Vray Dieu! (dis-je) et où?
A quoy me dirent que cestoit en Laryngues et Pharingues, qui sont deux grosses villes telles que Rouen et Nantes, riches et bien marchandes, et la cause de la peste a esté pour une puante et infecte exhalation qui est sortie des abysmes despuis naguères, dont ilz sont mors plus de vingt et deux cens soixante mille et seize personnes despuis huict jours. Lors je pensé et calculé, et trouvé que cestoit une puante halaine qui estoit venue de lestomach de Pantagruel alors quil mangea tant daillade, comme nous avons dict dessus.
De là partant, passay entre les rochiers qui estoient ses dentz, et feis que je montay sus une, et là trouvay les plus beaulx lieux du monde, beaulx grands jeux de paulme, belles galeries, belles praries, force vignes et une infinité de cassines à la mode italicques par les champs pleins de délices, et là demouray bien quatre moys et ne feis oncques telle chère pour lors.
Puis descendis par les dentz du derrière pour venir aux baulièvres; mais en passant je fuz destroussé des brigans par une grande forest, qui est vers la partie des oreilles.
Puis trouvay une petite bourgade à la dévallée (jay oublié son nom), où je feiz encore meilleure chère que jamais, et gaignay quelque peu dargent pour vivre. Sçavez-vous comment? A dormir: car lon loue les gens à journée pour dormir et gaignent cinq et six solz par jour; mais ceulx qui ronflent bien fort gaignent bien sept solz et demy. Et contois aux sénateurs comment on mavoit destroussé par la valée, lesquelz me dirent que, pour tout vray les gens de delà estoient mal vivans et brigans de nature, à quoy je congneu que, ainsi comme nous avons les contrées de deçà et delà les montz, aussi ont-ilz deçà et delà les dentz; mais il fait beaucoup meilleur deçà, et il y a meilleur air.
Là commençay penser quil est bien vray ce que lon dit que la moitié du monde ne sçait comment laultre vit, veu que nul navoit encores escrit de ce païs-là, auquel sont plus de xxv royaulmes habitéz, sans les désers et un gros bras de mer, mais jen ay composé un grand livre intitulé lHistoire des Gorgias, car ainsi les ay-je nomméz parce quilz demourent en la gorge de mon maistre Pantagruel.
Finablement vouluz retourner, et, passant par sa barbe, me gettay sus ses épaulles, et de là me dévallé en terre et tumbé devant luy.
Quand il me apperceut, il me demanda:
Dont viens-tu, Alcofribas?
Je luy responds:
De vostre gorge, Monsieur.
Et despuis quand y es-tu? dist-il.
Despuis (dis-je) que vous alliez contre les Almyrodes.
Il y a (dist-il) plus de six moys. Et de quoy vivois-tu? Que beuvoys-tu?
Seigneur, de mesmes vous, et des plus frians morceaulx qui passoient par vostre gorge jen prenois le barraige.
Voire, mais (dist-il) où chioys-tu?
En vostre gorge, Monsieur, dis-je.
Ha, ha, tu es gentil compaignon! (dist-il). Nous avons, avecques layde de Dieu, conquesté tout le pays des Dipsodes; je te donne la châtellenie de Salmigondin.
Grand mercy (dis-je), Monsieur. Vous me faictes du bien plus que nay déservy envers vous.
Gargantua et Pantagruel, Book II, Chapter 32 (ca. 1532)
How Pantagruel with His
Tongue Covered a Whole Army,
and What the Author Saw in His
Thus as Pantagruel with all his Army had entered into the Countrey of the Dipsodes, every one was glad of it, and incontinently rendered themselves unto him, bringing him out of their own good wills the Keyes of all the Cities where he went, the Almirods only excepted, who, being resolved to hold out against him, made answer to his Heraulds that they would not yield but upon very honourable and good conditions.
What? (said Pantagruel) do they ask any better termes, then the hand at the pot, and the glasse in their fist? Come let us go sack them, and put them all to the sword. Then did they put themselves in good order, as being fully determined to give an assault, but by the way passing through a large field, they were overtaken with a great shower of raine, whereat they began to shiver and tremble, to croud, presse and thrust close to one another. When Pantagruel saw that, he made their Captains tell them, that it was nothing, and that he saw well above the clouds, that it would be nothing but a little dew; but howsoever, that they should put themselves in order, and he would cover them. Then did they put themselves in a close order, and stood as near to each other as they could: and Pantagruel drew out his tongue only half-wayes and covered them all, as a hen doth her chickens. In the mean time I, who relate to you these so veritable stories, hid my self under a burdock-leafe, which was not much lesse in largenesse then the arch of the bridge of Montrible; but when I saw them thus covered, I went towards them to shelter my self likewise, which I could not do; for that they were so (as the saying is) At the yards end there is no cloth left. Then as well as I could, I got upon it, and went along full two leagues upon his tongue, and so long marched, that at last I came into his mouth. But oh gods and goddesses, what did I see there? Jupiter confound me with his trisulk lightning if I lie: I walked there as they do in Sophie at Constantinople, and saw there great rocks like the mountains in Denmark, I beleeve that those were his teeth, I saw also faire meddows, large forrests, great and strong Cities, not a jot lesse than Lyons or Poictiers. The first man I met with there was a good honest fellow planting coleworts, whereat being very much amazed, I asked him, My friend, what dost thou make here? I plant coleworts, said he. But how, and wherewith? said I. Ha, Sir, said he, every one cannot have his ballocks as heavy as a mortar, neither can we be all rich: thus do I get my poor living, and carry them to the market to sell in the City which is here behinde. Jesus! (said I) is there here a new world? Sure (said he) it is never a jot new, but it is commonly reported, that without this there is an earth, whereof the inhabitants enjoy the light of a Sunne and a Moone, and that it is full of, and replenished with very good commodities; but yet this is more ancient then that. Yea, but (said I) my friend, what is the name of that City, whither thou carriest thy Coleworts to sell? It is called Alpharage, (said he) and all the indwellers are Christians, very honest men, and will make you good chear. To be brief, I resolved to go thither. Now in my way, I met with a fellow that was lying in wait to catch pigeons, of whom I asked, My friend, from whence come these pigeons? Sir, (said he) they come from the other world. Then I thought, that when Pantagruel yawned, the pigeons went into his mouth in whole flocks, thinking that it had been a pigeon-house.
Then I went into the City, which I found faire, very strong, and seated in a good air; but at my entry the guard demanded of me my passe or ticket: whereat I was much astonished, and asked them, My Masters, is there any danger of the plague here? O Lord, (said they) they die hard by here so fast, that the cart runs about the streets. Good God! (said I) and where? Whereunto they answered that it was in Larinx and Phaerinx, which are two great Cities, such as Rouen and Nantes, rich and of great trading: and the cause of the plague was by a stinking and infectious exhalation, which lately vapoured out of the abismes, whereof there have died above two and twenty hundred and threescore thousand and sixteen persons within this sevennight. Then I considered, calculated and found, that it was a rank and unsavoury breathing, which came out of Pantagruels stomack, when he did eat so much garlick, as we have aforesaid.
Parting from thence, I past amongst the rocks, which were his teeth, and never left walking till I got up on one of them; and there I found the pleasantest places in the world, great large tennis-Courts, faire galleries, sweet meddows, store of Vines, and an infinite number of banqueting summer out-houses in the fields, after the Italian fashion, full of pleasure and delight, where I stayed full foure moneths, and never made better cheer in my life as then. After that I went down by the hinder teeth to come to the chaps; but in the way I was robbed by thieves in a great forrest, that is in the territory towards the eares: then (after, a little further travelling) I fell upon a pretty petty village, (truly I have forgot the name of it) where I was yet merrier then ever, and got some certain money to live by. Can you tell how? By sleeping; for there they hire men by the day to sleep, and they get by it six pence a day, but they that can snore hard get at least nine pence. How I had been robbed in the valley I informed the Senators, who told me that in very truth the people of that side were bad livers, and naturally theevish, whereby I perceived well, that as we have with us the Countreys cisalpin and transalpine, that is, behither and beyond the mountains, so have they there the Countreys cidentine and tradentine, that is, behither and beyond the teeth: but it is farre better living on this side, and the aire is purer. There I began to think, that it is very true which is commonly said, that the one half of the world knoweth not how the other half liveth; seeing none before my self had ever written of that Countrey, wherein are above five and twenty Kingdomes inhabited, besides deserts, and a great arme of the sea: concerning which purpose, I have composed a great book intituled The History of the Throatians, because they dwell in the throat of my Master Pantagruel.
At last I was willing to return, and passing by his beard, I cast my self upon his shoulders, and from thence slid down to the ground, and fell before him. As soon as I was perceived by him, he asked me, Whence comest thou, Alcofribas? I answered him, Out of your mouth, my Lord. And how long hast thou been there? said he. Since the time (said I) that you went against the Almirods. That is about six moneths ago, said he, and wherewith didst thou live? what didst thou drink? I answered, My Lord, of the same that you did, and of the daintiest morsels that past through your throat I took toll. Yea, but, said he, where didst thou shite? In your throat, my Lord, said I. Ha, ha, thou art a merry fellow, said he. We have with the help of God conquered all the land of the Dipsodes, I will give thee the Chastelleine, or Lairdship of Salmigondin. Grammercy, my Lord, said I, you gratifie me beyond all that I have deserved of you.
Translated by Sir Thomas Urquhart (1653)
How Pantagruel with His Tongue Covered a Whole Army,
and What the Author Saw in His Mouth
So when Pantagruel and all his Band entered the Land of the Dipsodes, everybody was joyous thereat, and they incontinently surrendered themselves to him, and of their free Goodwill brought him the Keys of all the Cities where he went; except the Almyrods, who wished to hold out against him, and made Answer to his Heralds that they would not yield save on good Terms.
What, said Pantagruel, do they ask for better Terms than the Hand on the Pot and the Glass in their Fist? Come, let us sack them.
Then they all put themselves in Order, as being resolved to deliver an Assault. But on the Way, as they were passing a great Plain, they were overtaken by a great Storm of Rain, whereupon they began to be in a Flutter and to pack close to one another.
On seeing this, Pantagruel had them told through their Captains that it was all nothing, and that he could see well above the Clouds that it would be nothing but a little Dew, but as best they could they should put themselves in Order and he would cover them.
Then they put themselves in Order, with serried Ranks, and Pantagruel put out his Tongue, but only half-way, and covered them as a Hen does her Chickens.
Meanwhile I, who am relating to you these most veritable Stories, had hid myself under a Burdock Leaf, which was no less across it than the Arch of the Bridge of Monstrible; but when I saw them so well covered I went off to them to shelter myself. This I could not do for their great Number; as the saying goes. At the Yards End there is no Cloth. Then I clambered upon his Tongue, as best I could, and made my way full two Leagues thereon, so that at last I came into his Mouth.
But, ye Gods and Goddesses, what did I see there? May Jupiter confound me with his three-forked Lightning if I lie therein. I walked there as men do in Sophia at Constantinople, and there I saw huge Rocks like the Danish Mountains; I believe they were his Teeth: I saw wide Meadows, huge Forests, strong and great Cities, not smaller than Lyons or Poictiers.
The first Man I met was an honest Fellow planting Cabbages. Whereat being quite amazed, I asked him:
My Friend, what are you doing here?
I am planting Cabbages, he said.
But to what Purpose, and how? said I.
Ha, Sir, said he, every one cannot have his Cods as heavy as a Mortar, and we cannot all be rich. I gain my Living in this way, and carry them to Market to sell in the City which is behind here.
Jesus! said I, is there here a new World?
Certes, said he, tis never a Jot new, but it is commonly reported that outside this, there is a new Earth, where they have both Sun and Moon, and everything full of fine Commodities; but this one here is older.
Yea, but, my Friend, said I, what is the Name of this Town where you carry your Cabbages to sell?
It is called Aspharage, said he, and the People are Christians, honest Folk, and will make you good Cheer.
In brief, I resolved to go thither. Now on my way, I found a Fellow who was setting Nets for Pigeons, from whom I asked:
My Friend, whence come these Pigeons here for you?
Sir, said he, they come from the other World.
Then I bethought me, that when Pantagruel yawned, the Pigeons in large Flocks flew into his Mouth, thinking it was a Dove-cote.
After that I went into the City, which I found handsome, very strong and good in Climate; but at the Going-in the Porters asked me for my Certificate of Health; whereat I was much astonished, and asked them:
My Masters, is there Danger of the Plague here?
O, Sir, said they, men die near here so fast that the Cart runs about the Streets.
Good God! said I, and where?
Whereupon they told me that it was in Larynx and Pharynx, which are two great Towns such as Rouen and Nantes, rich and with great Trading; and the Cause of the Plague has been through a stinking and infectious Exhalation, which has proceeded lately from the Abyss, whereof have died more than twenty-two hundred and sixty thousand and sixteen Persons the last eight Days. Then I considered and calculated, and found that it was a rank Breath that had come from the Stomach of Pantagruel, when he did eat so much Garlic-sauce, as we have said a above.
Setting out from thence I passed among the Rocks, which were his Teeth, and went on so far that I climbed on one, and there I found the most beautiful Places in the World, large Tennis Courts, fine Galleries, fair Meadows, Store of Vines, and an infinite Number of Casinos in the Italian fashion, by Fields full of Delights, and there I stayed full four Months, and never made such Cheer as I did then.
After that I went down by the back Teeth to come to the Chaps; but, on the way, I was rifled by Brigands in a great Forest, which is towards the Side of the Ears. Then I found a little Village as I came down (I have forgotten its Name), where I made better Cheer than ever, and gained a little Money to live by. Do you know how? By sleeping; for there they hire men by the Day to sleep, and they gain five or six Sous a day; but those who snore very hard gain full seven Sous and a half.
And I informed the Senators how I had been robbed in the Valley, and they told me that in very truth, the People on the far Side were evil Livers and Brigands by Nature, whereby I learned that just as we have Countries Cismontane and Ultramontane, so they have Cidentine and Ultradentine; but it is far better on this side, and there is better Air.
It was there I began to think that it is very true what men say: that one Half of the World knoweth not how the other Half liveth; considering that no one had yet written of that Country, in which there are more than five-and-twenty Kingdoms inhabited, without counting the Deserts, and a great Arm of the Sea; but I have composed a great Book thereon entitled the History of the Gorgians, for so have I called them, because they dwell in the Gorge of my Master Pantagruel.
At last I wished to return, and passing by his Beard I threw myself on to his Shoulders, and from there I slid down to the Ground and fell before him.
When he perceived me he asked me: Whence comest thou, Alcofribas?
I answered him: From your Throat, my Lord.
And since when hast thou been there? said he.
I said : Since the Time when you went against the Almyrods.
Why, that is more than six Months. And on what didst thou live? What didst thou eat? What didst thou drink?
I replied: My Lord, on the same that you did, and I took Toll of the daintiest Morsels that passed down your Throat.
Yea, but, said he, where didst thou s?
In your Throat, my Lord, said I.
Ha, ha, thou art a merry Fellow, said he. We have by the Help of God conquered all the Land of the Dipsodes; I give thee the Castle-wick of Salmigondin.
Grammercy, my Lord, I said. You do good to me beyond my Deserts towards you.
Translated by W.F. Smith (1893)
How Pantagruel with His Tongue Covered an Entire Army,
and What the Author
Saw in His Mouth
When Pantagruel, with all his followers, entered the land of the Dipsodes, everybody was very glad, and at once surrendered to him. Of their own free will they brought him the keys to all the cities wherever he went, with the exception of the Almyrodes, who were inclined to hold out against him. The latter informed his heralds that they would not surrender except on favorable conditions.
What! exclaimed Pantagruel, do they ask for any better than a hand on the jug and glass in the fist? Come on, let us sack them.
At once, they all fell into ranks, ready for an attack. But on the way as they were proceeding through a large stretch of open country, they were caught in a great downpour of rain. At this, they began to shiver and huddle up against one another. Perceiving this, Pantagruel had their captains tell them that this was nothing at all, that he could see over the clouds, and that it would be nothing more than a light fall of dew; let them keep ranks, and he would see to it that they were sheltered. The men at once dressed ranks. And Pantagruel thrust his long tongue only half way out and covered them as a hen does her chicks.
While all this was taking place, I, who am telling you these very true stories, was hid under a burdock-leaf, no bigger than the bridge of Mantrible; but when I saw them all so well covered, I went to take shelter with them, which I was not able to do; for as the saying is, There’s no cloth left at the end of the yardstick. And so, I climbed up, the best way I could, and traveled a good two leagues over his tongue before entering his mouth. But O ye gods and goddesses! What do you think I saw there? May Jupiter strike me with his three-pointed thunderbolt, if I’m lying! I strolled around there, as one does in St. Sophie’s at Constantinople, and I saw rocks as big as the Danish mountains (I suppose they must have been his teeth), and great prairies, and big forests, and huge, strong cities, fully as large as Lyon or Poitiers.
The first person I met was a chap planting cabbages. I inquired of him, in astonishment: My friend, what are you doing there?
I’m planting cabbages, he said.
But why, I said, and how?
Ha! sir, he said, we can’t all have balls as heavy as a mortar, and we can’t all be rich. This is the way I earn my living. I take them and sell them at the market in the city, which is just back there.
Jesus! I said. Is this a new world I’m living in?
Nothing of the sort, said he, it’s not new at all; though they do say that outside there’s a new land, where they have a sun and a moon and a lot of fine things; but this one is much older.
Well, my friend, I said, but what’s the name of this city where you take your cabbages?
It is called Aspharage, he said, and they are good Christian folks, and will treat you very nicely.
The short of it was, I made up my mind to go there.
On my way, I came upon a fellow trapping pigeons, and I said to him: My, friend, where do your pigeons come from?
They come, sir, he said, from the other world.
And then I reflected that, when Pantagruel yawned, the pigeons must fly straight down his throat, thinking it a dovecot.
I then entered the city, which I found to be a charming one, strongly fortified and very pleasantly situated. But as I came in, the gate-keepers demanded my health-certificate, at which I was very much astonished; and so, I asked them:
Gentlemen, is there danger of the plague here?
Oh! my lord, they told me, they’re dying all around here, as fast as the cart can travel through the streets.
Good God! I said, and where’s all that?
Then, they informed me that it was in Larynx and Pharynx, which are two great cities, like Rouen and Nantes, rich and very prosperous. And the cause of the plague was a certain stinking and infectious exhalation which had recently issued from the abysses, as a result of which more than two-million-two-hundred-sixty-two-thousand-sixteen persons had died during the last eight days.
I stopped, then, to do a little figuring, and discovered that it must be the stinking breath that came from Pantagruel’s stomach, from his having eaten so much garlic stew, as related above.
Going on from there, I made my way between the rocks, which were his teeth, and even climbed one of them, where I found the prettiest spot in the world, with fine large tennis-courts, handsome promenades, beautiful meadows, many vineyards, and an endless number of Italian summer-houses, scattered through delightful fields. I remained there four months, and never was better off in my life. Then I climbed down the teeth from behind, in the direction of the lips; but on my way, I fell into the hands of brigands, as I was passing through a large forest which is in the neighborhood of the ears. After that, on the slope I came upon a tiny little town (I have forgotten its name), where I had a better time than ever, and earned a little money to live on. Do you want to know how? By sleeping, for they hire people there to sleep by the day, and you can earn five or six sous a day at it; while those that snore loudly enough get as much as seven sous and a half. There I told the senators how I had been robbed, as I was going through the valley, and they assured me that the folks down that way were a villainous lot and natural-born brigands. From this, I learned that, just as we have a country on this side and one on the other side of the mountains, so they have one on this side and that side of the teeth. But it was much more pleasant where I was, and a lot better climate.
I thereupon fell to thinking that it is very true, what they say, that half the world does not know how the other half lives, seeing that no one has as yet written anything about this country, which contains more than twenty-five inhabited realms, not counting the deserts and a great arm of the sea. But I have already composed a large volume, entitled The History of the Throatians; for that is the name I have given them, since they dwell in the throat of my master, Pantagruel.
At last, when I was ready to go back, I shinned down his beard, leaped onto his shoulders and, from there, slid to the ground and lay sprawling before him. When he saw me, he said:
Where do you come from, Alcofribas?
I replied: From your, throat, sir.
And since when have you been down there? said he.
Ever since you set out against the Almyrodes, I told him.
That’s been more than six months now. And what did you live on? What did you have to drink?
I replied: The same as you, my Lord. I took toll on the daintiest bits that went down your throat.
Well, he said, but where did you defecate?
In your throat, sir, I said.
Ha! ha! said he, you are a good fellow. Since you have been down there, we, with God’s help, have conquered the entire country of the Dipsodes. I hereby make you a present of the castellany of Salmagundi.
Many thanks, sir, I said. You are a good deal better to me than I deserve.
Translated by Samuel Putnam (1929); reissued in The Portable Rabelais (1946)
How Pantagruel Covered a Whole Army with His Tongue,
and What the Author Saw in His Mouth
Pantagruels progress through Dipsody was one continuous triumph, the inhabitants greeting him joyfully and surrendering on the spot. Of their own accord, the citizens would come out to meet him bearing the keys of the city he was approaching. The Almyrodes or Dirtyones alone sought to resist, replying to his heralds that they would surrender only on the best terms.
What better terms could we have been on than sitting together with my hand on the pot and their glasses in their fists? Pantagruel grumbled. Oh, well, come along, let us go sock them.
So he drew up his army in battle formation, and they proceeded against the enemy. As they were passing by extensive meadowlands, suddenly they were caught by a heavy rain, which made them shiver, worry, and crowd together. Pantagruel bade their captains assure them it was nothing serious. Could he not see over the top of the clouds? He could, he did and all he made out up there was a little dew. At all events, let them draw up in close order and be would shelter them. So they formed a serried line and Pantagruel, putting out his tongue, covered them as a hen covers her chicks.
Meanwhile, I, who am simply reporting cold fact, had sought cover under a burdock leaf almost as large as the arch of the Montrible Bridge. When I saw Pantagruels men in their snug refuge, I decided to join them. But they were too numerous; there was no room for me. After all, a foot is a foot and not thirteen inches, as the saying goes. The best I could do, therefore, was to climb on to Pantagruels tongue and make for his mouth, which I finally reached after a two leagues journey.
But O gods and goddesses of high heaven, what did I behold? May Jupiter confound me with his three-pronged lightning if I lie!
I walked in there as people walk into the church of St. Sophia in Constantinople. And I saw tall rocks looming up like the mountains of Scandinavia (his teeth, I fancy) . . . endless green fields . . . extensive forests . . . massive cities, fortified, and no less populous than Lyons or Poitiers. . . .
The first person I met was a goodman planting cabbages. Amazed, I asked:
What are you doing here, friend?
Faith, sir, we cant all sport ballocks as heavy as mortars and we cant all be rich. I earn my living planting cabbages here and selling them in market in the city yonder.
Good Lord, is this a new world?
No, no, theres nothing new about this place. Though they do say there is a world beyond here somewhere — a new world too — with a sun and a moon in it and all sorts of fine jobs for a man. Maybe so, maybe not. At any rate, this is the old world.
Really? I pondered the question a moment. Then: This city where you sell your cabbages — what do they call it?
Its called Aspharage, the citizens are good Christians and friendly souls. They will give you a rousing welcome.”
On his recommendation, I decided to go. On my way, I came upon a man lying in wait for pigeons.
Good morning, friend. Those pigeons you get — where do they come from?
From the other world.
I concluded that when Pantagruel yawned, the pigeons, believing his throat to be a dovecote, doubtless flew in in flocks. Presently I reached the city which I found to be picturesque, strongly fortified and prosperous in appearance. At the gate, the sentries stopped me for my pass. Amazed, I cried:
What is the matter, gentlemen? Is there an epidemic of the plague?
My Lord! they groaned. Weve had so many deaths hereabouts that the tumbrils drive through incessantly.
Hereabouts, you say? Where?
They told me the plague was raging in Larynx and Pharynx, large and bustling cities like Rouen and Nantes. It was due, apparently, to a noxious, malodorous and infectious exhalation which had been rising out of the abyss for some time now. Within seven days, more than twenty-two hundred and seventy-six thousand and sixteen people had perished. As I thought back, reckoning the dates, I realized that it was the unsavory breath emanating from Pantagruels belly, since he had eaten the garlic-strewn stews that illustrated King Anarchus wedding.
Leaving hastily, I passed among the rocks of his teeth and kept walking until I got to the top of one. Here I found the fairest pleasure resort in the world, with large tennis courts, galleries, sweet meadows, plentiful vines and an infinity of pretty houses, built Italian-fashion in the midst of delightful verdure. Here I spent a good four months and never fared better in my life.
Then I went down by the back teeth towards the jaws, but I was robbed by footpads in a great forest near the ears. Coming down again, I stopped at a small village the name of which I have forgotten. Here I did even better than before, I actually managed to make a little money to live on. Do you know how? By sleeping.
I am not lying: in this extraordinary place, the inhabitants hire people to sleep and pay them five or six sous a day. Heavy snorers get as much as seven and a half.
I told the senators how I had been robbed in the valley. They explained that the folk in those parts were lowlifes and by nature inclined to brigandry. From which I concluded, just as we have countries Cisalpine and Transalpine, they have countries Cidentine and Tradentine. But it is better living on this side because the air is purer.
I began to appreciate the truth of the axiom Not half the world knows how the other half lives. Imagine: no one has yet described this country though it includes more than twenty-five populous kingdoms, vast stretches of desert and a great arm of the sea. But I have written a voluminous book upon the subject. The title is History of the Gorgians. I named them so because they live in the throat of my master Pantagruel.
At last I returned via the beard, cast myself on his shoulders and thence made my way to terra firma. I fell right in front of him. Seeing me:
Where the devil have you been, Alcofribas? he asked.
In your throat, sir.
How long, may I ask?
Ever since you set out against the Almyrodes.
That was six months ago, he said. And how did you live?
Handsomely, I thank you.
What did you find to eat?
My Lord, I ate and drank just as you did, for I took my toll of the daintiest morsels and most toothsome wines that passed through your throat.
Indeed, indeed. . . . But where did you cack?
Down your throat, My Lord.
Ha, ha, what a wag you are! he roared. Well, since you left, with Gods help we conquered all of Dipsody. I will give you the domain of Salmagundi for your part.
I thank you, My Lord, you reward me beyond my deserts.
Translated by Jacques LeClercq (1936)
How Pantagruel Covered a Whole Army with His Tongue,
and What the Author Saw in His Mouth
So when Pantagruel with all his company entered the land of the Dipsodes everyone was delighted, and immediately surrendered to him. Of their own free will they brought him the keys of all the towns where he went; except the Almyrods, who tried to hold out against him, and replied to his heralds that they would not surrender except on good terms.
What, exclaimed Pantagruel, do they ask for better terms than hand on pot and glass in fist? Come, lets put them to the sack. Then all lined up in their ranks, as if resolved to deliver an attack. But on the way, as they were passing over a great plain, they were overtaken by a huge storm of rain. Whereupon they began to shiver and bunch close together. When he saw this, Pantagruel sent them a message by his captains that it was nothing. For he could see above the clouds that it would be no more than a little dew. But anyhow, they must put themselves in good order, and he would cover them. So they drew themselves up in good order, and close together, and Pantagruel, putting his tongue only half out, covered them as a hen does her chickens.
Meanwhile I, who am telling you this most authentic tale, had hidden myself under a burdock leaf, which was quite as wide as the arch of the Bridge of Monstrible. But when I saw them so well protected I went off to shelter with them. This I could not do, there were so many of them. For, as the saying goes, At the yards end theres no cloth left. So I clambered on his tongue as best I could, and travelled for quite six miles over it before I came to his mouth. But, oh ye gods and goddesses, what did I see there? Jupiter confound me with his three-forked lightning if I lie. I walked over it as one does in Santa Sophia at Constantinople, and there I saw huge rocks like the Dental Mountains I think they must have been his teeth and large meadows, wide forests and great, strong cities, every bit as large as Lyons or Poitiers. The first man I met was a good fellow planting cabbages, and in my amazement I asked him: What are you doing here, my friend? Im planting cabbages, he said. But how and what for? I asked. Ah, sir, said he: not everyone can have his ballocks as heavy as a mortar, and we cant all be rich. I earn my living this way, and take them to sell in the market, in the city, which is further in here. Jesus! I said. Is there a new world here? Of course, said he. But it isnt in the least new. They do say, indeed, that outside there is a new earth, where they have both Sun and Moon, and that its packed full of fine things. But this one here is the older. Oh yes, said I. But, my friend, whats the name of this town where you take your cabbages to sell? lts called Gullettown, said he, and theyre Christians there, excellent people wholl give you a good welcome. To be brief, I decided to go there.
Now on the road I met a fellow who was setting nets for pigeons, and I asked him: My friend, where do these pigeons of yours come from? Sir, said he, they come from the other world. Then it occurred to me that when Pantagruel yawned the pigeons flew into his mouth in great flocks, thinking it was a dovecot.
After that I went into the town, which I found a fine one, very strong and in a good climate. But at the gate the keepers asked me for my bill of health, at which I was greatly astonished and asked them: Sirs, is there risk of the plague here? Oh, my lord, said they. They die so fast not far away that the carts always running about the streets. Good God, said I, and where? They answered me that it was in Larynx and Pharynx, which are two large cities like Rouen and Nantes, rich. places with a great trade. And the cause of the plague was a stinking and infectious exhalation, which had recently been rising from the abyss, and of which more than twenty-two hundred and sixty thousand and sixteen people had died in the last eight days. Then I considered and calculated, and decided that it was a rank breath which had been coming from Pantagruels stomach, since he ate so much garlic sauce, as has been mentioned above.
Departing from there, I passed between the rocks which were his teeth, and went so far as to climb one. And there I found the most beautiful spots in the whole world, fine great tennis-courts, magnificent galleries, beautiful meadows, plenty of vines, and an abundance of summer-houses in the Italian fashion, scattered through fields full of delights. And there I stayed for quite four months and never enjoyed myself as much as I did then.
After that I went down by the back teeth and arrived at the lips. But on the way I was robbed by brigands in a great forest, which lies in the region of the ears. I found a little village on the way down I have forgotten its name where I was better entertained than ever, and earned a little money to live on. Do you know how? By sleeping. For there they hire men by the day as sleepers, and you earn five or six halfpence a time. But those who snore very loud are paid a good seven and a half. I informed the senators there how I had been robbed on the way down, and they told me that the people on that side were evil-livers and robbers by nature. Which taught me that just as we have countries Cismontane and Ultramontane, so they have them Cisdentine and Ultradentine. But it is a great deal better on the first-named side, and the air is purer.
There I began to think how true the saying is that one half of the world doesnt know how the other half lives, seeing that no one had ever written about those countries, in which there are more than twenty-five inhabited kingdoms, not counting the deserts and a broad arm of the sea. But I have made up a great book entitled the History of the Gorgians. For that is what I have called them, since they live in my master Pantagruels gorge.
In the end I decided to return and, passing by his beard, jumped on to his shoulders, from which I slid down to the ground and fell in front of him.
When he noticed me, he asked: Where have you come from, Alcofribas? From your throat, my lord, I replied. And since when were you there? said he. Since the time when you went against the Almyrods, said I. Thats more than six months ago, said he. And what did you live on? What did you drink? My lord, I replied, the same fare as you. I took toll of the tastiest morsels that went down your throat. Indeed, said he, and where did you shit? In your throat, my lord, said I. Ha, ha. Youre a fine.fellow, said he. We have, by Gods help, conquered the whole country of the Dipsodes. I confer on you the Wardenship of Salmagundia. Many thanks, my lord, said I. You reward me beyond my deserts.
Translated by J.M. Cohen (1955)
How Pantagruel Shielded an Entire Army with His Tongue,
and What the Author
Saw in His Mouth
As Pantagruel and all his people entered the land of the Dipsodes, the inhabitants were delighted and immediately surrendered to him, bringing him of their own free will the keys to every city to which he journeyed — all except the Almyrods, who intended to resist him and told his heralds that they refused to surrender, except on good terms.
What! said Pantagruel. They want more than their hand in the pot and a cup in their fist? Lets go, so you can knock down their walls for me.”
So they got themselves ready, as if about to launch their attack.
But as they marched past a huge field, they were struck by a huge downpour, which began to knock their lines about and break up their formation. Seeing this, Pantagruel ordered the captains to assure them that this was nothing and he could see, past the clouds, that it was only a bit of dew. Whatever happened, however, they should maintain military discipline and he would provide them with cover. And when they had restored good marching order, Pantagruel stuck out his tongue, but just barely halfway, and shielded them as a mother hen protects her chicks.
Now I, who report these totally true tales to you, had hidden myself under the leaf of a burdock weed, which was at least as big as the Mantrible Bridge. But when I saw how well they had been shielded, I went to take cover alongside them, but I couldnt, since there were so many of them and (as they say) all things come to an end. So I climbed up as best I could and walked along his tongue for a good six miles, until I got into his mouth.
But, O you gods and goddesses, what did I see there? May Jupiter blow me away with his three-pointed lightning if I tell you a lie. I walked along in there, as you might promenade around Saint Sophias Cathedral in Constantinople, and I saw immense boulders, just like the mountains of Denmark (I think they were his teeth), and great meadows, and huge forests, with castles and large cities, no smaller than Lyons or Poitiers.
The first person I met was an old man planting cabbage. And quite astonished I asked him:
My friend, what are you doing here?”
I, he said, am planting cabbage.
But why, and how? I said.
Oh ho, sir, said he, we cant all walk around with our balls hanging down like mortars and we cant all be rich This is how I earn my living. They take this to the city you see over there, and sell them.
Jesus! I said. Is this a whole new world in here?
Not at all, he said, it isnt completely new, no. But Ive heard that there is a new world outside of here, and that theres a sun and a moon out there, and all kinds of things going on. But this world is older.
Well, my friend, I said, whats the name of that city where they sell your cabbage?
Its called Throattown, he said, and the people are good Christians, and will be pleased to see you.
So, in a word, I decided to go there.
Now, as I walked I found a fellow setting pigeon snares, and I asked him:
My friend, where do these pigeons of yours come from?
Sir, he said, they come from the other world.
And then I realized that, when Pantagruel yawned, pigeons with fully extended wings flew right down his throat, thinking it was a great bird house.
Then I came to the city, which seemed extremely pleasant, well fortified, and nicely located, with a good climate. But at the gates the porters asked for my passport and my certificate of good health, which truly astonished me, so I said to them:
Gentlemen, is there any danger of plague here?
Oh, sir, they said, theyre dying of it so rapidly, not very far from here, that the body wagon is always rattling through the streets.
Good God! I said. And just where is this?
So they informed me that it was in Larynx and Pharynx, which were two cities as big as Rouen and Nantes, rich and doing a fine business, and that the plague was due to a stinking, infectious odor recently flowing up to them from the abysses below. More than twenty-two hundred and seventy-six people had died of it in the last week. So I thought about this, and added up the days, and realized that this was a foul breath from Pantagruels stomach, which had begun after hed eaten so much garlic (at Anarchs wedding feast), as Ive already explained.
Leaving there, I walked between the great boulders that were his teeth, and climbed up on one, and found it one of the loveliest places in the whole world, with fine tennis courts, handsome galleries, beautiful meadows, and many vineyards. And these delightful fields were dotted with more Italian-style summerhouses than I could count, so I stayed on there for four months and have never been happier.
Then I climbed down the back teeth, in order to get to his lips, but as I journeyed I was robbed by a band of highwaymen in the middle of a huge forest, somewhere in the neighborhood of his ears.
Then I found a little village on the slope (I forget its name), where I was happier than ever, and worked happily for my supper. Can you guess what I did? I slept: they hire day laborers to sleep, down there, and you can make five or six dollars a day. But those who snore really loud can make seven or even seven and a half. And I told the senators how Id been robbed in the valley, and they told me that, truthfully, the people in that neighborhood were naturally bad, and thieves to boot, which made me realize that, just as we have the Right Side of the Alps and the Wrong Side of the Alps, so they have the Right Side of the Teeth and the Wrong Side of the Teeth, but it was better on the Right Side, and the air was better, too.
And I began to think how true it was that half the world has no idea how the other half lives, seeing that no one has ever written a thing about that world down there, although its inhabited by more than twenty-five kingdoms, not to mention the deserts and a great bay. Indeed, I have written a fat book entitled History of an Elegant Throat Land, which is what I called that country, since they lived in the throat of my master Pantagruel.
Finally, I decided to go back, and going past his beard I dropped onto his shoulders, and from there I got down to the ground and fell right in front of him.
And seeing me, he asked:
Where are you coming from, Alcofribas?
And I answered him:
From your throat, sir.
And how long have you been down there? he said.
Since you marched against the Almyrods, I said.
But that, he said, is more than six months. How did you live? What did you drink?
My lord, just as you did, and I took a tax of the freshest morsels that came down your throat.
Indeed, he said. But where did you shit?
In your throat, sir, I said.
Ha, ha, but youre a fine fellow! he said. Now, with Gods help, weve conquered the entire land of the Dipsodes. And you shall have the castle of Salmagundi.
Many thanks, sir, I said. Youre far more generous than I deserve.
Translated by Burton Raffel (1990)
How Pantagruel With His Tongue Covered a Whole Army,
and What the Author Saw Inside His Mouth
Now as Pantagruel with all his band entered upon the lands of the Dipsodes, everyone was delighted at this, and immediately surrendered to him, and, of their own free will, brought him the keys to all the cities he went to, except for the Almyrodes, who tried to hold out against him, and made reply to his heralds that they would not surrender unless for good reason.
What, said Pantagruel, do they ask for better ones than hand on pot and glass in fist? Come on, I want them put to the sack.
So then they all fell into marching order, as if intending to give the attack. But on the way, passing over a great open field, they were caught in a heavy rain shower. At which they began to shiver and huddle close to one another. Pantagruel seeing this, he had them told by the captains that it was nothing and that he could see well above the clouds that it would be only a little dew, but at all events that they should fall into ranks and he intended to cover them. Then they lined up in good order and well closed up, and Pantagruel put his tongue out only a half way, and with it covered them as a hen does her chickens.
Meanwhile I, who am telling you these stories so truly, had hidden myself under a burdock leaf, which was no less wide than the Bridge of Monstrible; but when I saw them thus well covered, I went over to them to take shelter, which I could not do, there were so many of them: as the saying goes, at the end of the ell the cloth runs out. So I climbed up above as best I could, and I walked a good two leagues on his tongue until I entered his mouth.
But, O ye gods and goddesses, what did I see there? Jupiter confound me with his three-forked thunder if I lie. I was walking along there as you do in Saint-Sophia in Constantinople and I saw great rock formations, like the mountains of the Danes, I think that were his teeth, and great plains, great forests, big strong cities no less large than Lyon or Poitiers. The first person I found was a chap who was planting cabbages. At which, in amazement, I asked him:
My friend, what are you doing here?
Im planting cabbages, said he.
And how and what for? said I.
Ah, sir, said he, not everyone can have balls as heavy as a mortar, and we cant all be rich. I earn my living that way, and I take them to sell in the market in the city that is behind here.
Jesus, said I, then theres a new world here?
To be sure, said he, it’s hardly new; but they do indeed say that outside of here theres a new earth where they have both sun and moon, and all sorts of fine carryings-on; but this one is older.
All right, my friend,said I, “but whats the name of that city where you take your cabbages to sell?
Its name, said he, is Aspharagos [Gullettown], and they are Christians, good people, and will give you a great time.
In short, I decided to go there. Now on my road I came upon a fellow setting snares for pigeons, and I asked him: My friend, where do these pigeons come to you from?
Sire, said he, they come from another world.
Then it occurred to me that when Pantagruel yawned, pigeons in whole flocks flew into his throat, thinking it was a dovecote.
Then I went into the city, and found it beautiful, quite strong and in nice air; but on the way in, the gatekeepers asked me for my health certificate, at which I was most astonished, and asked them:
Gentlemen, is there danger of plague here?
Oh, my Lord! said they, people near here are dying so fast that the tumbrel keeps running through the streets.
Dear God! said I, and where?
At which he told me that it was at Larynx and Pharynx, which are two large cities such as Rouen and Nantes, rich and doing good business, and the cause of the plague was a foul stinking exhalation that had issued from the gulfs not long ago, from which over twenty-two hundred and sixty thousand and sixty persons have died in a week. Then I thought and calculated, and decided it was a stinking breath that had come from Pantagruels stomach when he ate all that garlic sauce, as we have said above.
Leaving there, I passed between the rock formations, which were his teeth, and managed to climb up on one, and there found the loveliest places in all the world, fine big tennis courts, nice galleries, fair meadows, vines galore, and an infinity of country villas in the Italian style, amid fields full of delights, and there I stayed a good four months, and never had it so good as then and there.
Then I came down by the back teeth to get to the lips; but on my way was robbed by brigands while going through a big forest, which is near the region of the ears.
Then I found a little hamlet on the way down, Ive forgotten its name, where I had an even better time than ever, and earned a little bit of money to live on. Do you know how? By sleeping; for they hire people by the day to sleep, and they earn five or six sous a day; but those who snore really hard earn a good seven sous and a half. And I was telling the senators how I had been robbed in the valley, and they told me that in all truth the people on the other side were evildoers and brigands by nature, from which I learned that just as we have the countries on this side and on the far side of the mountains [the Alps], so have they on this side and on the far side of the teeth; but its much nicer on this side and the air is better.
At that point I began to think that it is very true what they say, that half the world doesnt know how the other half lives seeing that no one had yet written about that country, in which there are over twenty-five inhabited kingdoms, not counting the deserts and one great arm of the sea; but I have composed a book about it entitled History of the Gorgias, for thus have I named them because they live in the throat [la gorge] of my master Pantagruel.
Finally I wanted to get back, and, passing through his beard, I threw myself down on his shoulders, and from there slid down to the ground and fell in front of him.
When he noticed me, he asked me: Where are you coming from, Alcofribas?
I answered him: From your throat, sir.
And how long have you been there? said he.
Since you set out, said I, against the Almyrodes.
That, said he, is over six months ago. And what did you live on? What did you drink?
I answered: Lord, the same as you, and of the choicest morsels that passed down your throat I took my toll.
All right, said he, but where did you shit?
In your throat, my Lord, said I.
Ha ha! you’re a jolly good fellow, said he. We have, with the help of God, conquered the whole country of the Dipsodes; I give you the castleship of Salmagundi.
Many thanks, Sir, said I. You do much more good for me than I have deserved of you.
Translated by Donald Frame (1991)
How Pantagruel Covered an Entire Army with His Tongue;
and What the Author Saw within His Mouth
And so, as Pantagruel and his entire band marched into the land of the Dipsodes, all the people were happy and immediately surrendered to him; of their own free-will they brought him the keys to every town he went to save for the Almyrodes, who wished to hold out against him and who made answer to his heralds that they would never surrender except after good assurances.
What? said Pantagruel, are they asking for better ones than hand on jug and glass in hand! Come on, then: go and sack them for me.
And so, as men determined to take them by assault, they all fell in, in good order. But marching en route through open country they were surprised by a downpour of rain, at which they started to shiver and huddle up together. When Pantagruel saw it he told them through their captains that it really was nothing, and that he could tell from seeing well above the clouds that there would be only a little shower: they should anyway get back into their ranks as he wanted to cover them. So they fell in again in good and close order, and Pantagruel poked out his tongue only half-way covering his men as a hen does her chicks. Meanwhile I who am telling you these tales so-true was hiding under a leaf of burdock what was certainly no less wide than the arch of the bridge of Mantrible; but when I saw them so well protected I went over to them to find shelter. But I could not do so: there were so many of them, and, as the saying goes, at the end of the roll there is no more cloth. I therefore clambered up as well as I could and journeyed for a good two leagues over his tongue until I entered his mouth.
But, ye gods and goddesses, what I saw there! If I lie, may Jupiter daze me with his three-forked lightning. There I wandered about as one does in Sancta Sofia in Constantinople, and I saw huge rock-formations like the mountains of Dent-mark they were, I think, his teeth and wide meadows, great forests, and cities strong and spacious, no less big than Lyons or Poitiers.
The first person I met there was a stout fellow planting cabbages. Quite taken aback, I asked him,
What are you doing here, my friend?
Planting cabbages, he said.
Why? I said, and wherefore?
Well Monsieur, he said, we cant all have bollocks weighing a ton: we cant all be rich. Im earning me living; I take em to market in the city back yonder.
Jesus! I said, so this is a new world!
Well, he said, its certainly not new. They do say, mind, that theres some new-found earth outside, with a sun and moon, and full of all sorts of fine things; but this one heres older.
Indeed! I said, but tell me, my friend, what is the name of the town where you take your cabbages to sell?
Aspharagos, he said. Theyre Christians. Good folk. Theyll give you good cheer.
In short, I decided to go there. On the way I met a fellow who was setting nets to catch pigeons; so I asked him,
My friend, where do these pigeons come from?
They come from that other world, Cyre, he said.
I assumed then that when Pantagruel yawned great flocks of pigeons flew into his throat, taking it for a dove-cote.
After that I went into the town, which I found very beautiful, well fortified and of a fine aspect; but at the entrance the gate-keepers demanded my Bill of Good Health. I was astonished and asked them,
Is there a threat of the plague, gentlemen?
Ah, my Lord, they said people near here are dying so fast that the death-carts go about the streets.
Jesus! I said, where?
They told me it was in Larynx and Pharynx (which are two towns as big as Rouen or Nantes, rich and full of merchandise) and that for some time now the plague was being caused by a stinking, noxious exhalation rising up from the depths: in the last week some twenty-two hundred and sixty thousand persons plus sixteen had died from it.
I then reflected and calculated, and worked out that it was a stinking breath which had come out of Pantagruels stomach after he had eaten (as we told you above) so much garlic sauce.
Leaving there, I passed between cliffs (which were Pantagruels teeth) and climbed up one, where I found some of the most beautiful places in the world: beautiful wide tennis-courts, beautiful colonnades, beautiful meadows, plenty of vines and countless summer-houses in the Italian style scattered over fields full of delights. I stayed there a good four months, and have never had better cheer.
Then I descended by the back teeth to reach the lips, but on the way I was robbed by brigands in a great forest situated towards the ears. Further down I came across a hamlet I forget its name where I found even better cheer and earned a little money to live on. And do you know how? By sleeping! For they hire journey-men to sleep for them: they earn five or six pence a day, though good snorers earn seven pence-halfpenny.
I told the senators how I had been robbed in that valley and they said it was a fact that the Transdental folk were evil-livers and born bandits. It was thus I learnt that, just as we have Cisalpine and Transalpine lands, they have the Cisdental and Transdental ones; but it is far better in the Cisdental lands, and the air is better too.
I then began to think how true is the saying, One half of the world has no idea how the other half lives, for nobody has ever written about those lands over yonder in which there are more than twenty-five inhabited kingdoms, not to mention deserts and a wide arm of sea. But I have compiled a thick book about them entitled A History of the Gorgeous I have named them thus because they dwell in the gorge of Pantagruel my master.
In the end I wanted to get back and, passing through his beard, I leapt on to his shoulder, slid to the ground, tumbling down in front of him.
When he noticed me he asked me:
Where have you come from, Alcofrybas?
And I replied,
From your gorge, my Lord.
And how long have you been in there? he asked.
Since you set out against the Almyrodes, I said.
That was more than six months ago! he said. How did you manage? What did you eat? What did you drink?
My Lord, I replied, the same as you. I exacted a toll on the most delicate morsels that passed through your lips.
Indeed, he said, but where did you shit?
In your gorge, my Lord, I said.
Ha! ha! he said. A noble comrade you are! With the help of God we have conquered the entire land of the Dipsodes: to you I grant the Châtelainie of Salmagundi.
Many thanks, my Lord, I said. You treat me better than I deserve.
Translated by M.A. Screech (2006)
Eight translations of Book II, Chapter 32 of François Rabelaiss Gargantua and Pantagruel (1532). An excellent detailed analysis of this chapter can be found in Chapter 11 of Erich Auerbach’s Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature.