Pantagruel/Chapter XXXI

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Pantagruel by François Rabelais, translated by Thomas Urquhart and Peter Antony Motteux
~ How Pantagruel entered into the city of the Amaurots, and how Panurge married King Anarchus to an old lantern-carrying hag, and made him a crier of green sauce


How Pantagruel entered into the city of the Amaurots, and how Panurge married King Anarchus to an old lantern-carrying hag, and made him a crier of green sauce

After this wonderful victory, Pantagruel sent Carpalin unto the city of the Amaurots to declare and signify unto them how the King Anarchus was taken prisoner and all the enemies of the city overthrown. Which news when they heard all the inhabitants of the city came forth to meet him in good order, and with a great triumphant pomp, conducting him with a heavenly joy into the city, where innumerable bonfires were set on through all the parts thereof, and fair round tables, which were furnished with store of good victuals, set out in the middle of the streets. This was a renewing of the golden age in the time of Saturn, so good was the cheer which then they made.

But Pantagruel, having assembled the whole senate and common councilmen of the town, said, My masters, we must now strike the iron whilst it is hot. It is therefore my will that, before we frolic it any longer, we advise how to assault and take the whole kingdom of the Dipsodes. To which effect let those that will go with me provide themselves against to-morrow after drinking, for then will I begin to march. Not that I need any more men than I have to help me to conquer it, for I could make it as sure that way as if I had it already; but I see this city is so full of inhabitants that they scarce can turn in the streets. I will, therefore, carry them as a colony into Dipsody, and will give them all that country, which is fair, wealthy, fruitful, and pleasant, above all other countries in the world, as many of you can tell who have been there heretofore. Everyone of you, therefore, that will go along, let him provide himself as I have said. This counsel and resolution being published in the city, the next morning there assembled in the piazza before the palace to the number of eighteen hundred fifty-six thousand and eleven, besides women and little children. Thus began they to march straight into Dipsody, in such good order as did the people of Israel when they departed out of Egypt to pass over the Red Sea.

But before we proceed any further in this purpose, I will tell you how Panurge handled his prisoner the King Anarchus; for, having remembered that which Epistemon had related, how the kings and rich men in this world were used in the Elysian fields, and how they got their living there by base and ignoble trades, he, therefore, one day apparelled his king in a pretty little canvas doublet, all jagged and pinked like the tippet of a light horseman's cap, together with a pair of large mariner's breeches, and stockings without shoes,--For, said he, they would but spoil his sight, --and a little peach-coloured bonnet with a great capon's feather in it--I lie, for I think he had two--and a very handsome girdle of a sky-colour and green (in French called pers et vert), saying that such a livery did become him well, for that he had always been perverse, and in this plight bringing him before Pantagruel, said unto him, Do you know this roister? No, indeed, said Pantagruel. It is, said Panurge, my lord the king of the three batches, or threadbare sovereign. I intend to make him an honest man. These devilish kings which we have here are but as so many calves; they know nothing and are good for nothing but to do a thousand mischiefs to their poor subjects, and to trouble all the world with war for their unjust and detestable pleasure. I will put him to a trade, and make him a crier of green sauce. Go to, begin and cry, Do you lack any green sauce? and the poor devil cried. That is too low, said Panurge; then took him by the ear, saying, Sing higher in Ge, sol, re, ut. So, so poor devil, thou hast a good throat; thou wert never so happy as to be no longer king. And Pantagruel made himself merry with all this; for I dare boldly say that he was the best little gaffer that was to be seen between this and the end of a staff. Thus was Anarchus made a good crier of green sauce. Two days thereafter Panurge married him with an old lantern-carrying hag, and he himself made the wedding with fine sheep's heads, brave haslets with mustard, gallant salligots with garlic, of which he sent five horseloads unto Pantagruel, which he ate up all, he found them so appetizing. And for their drink they had a kind of small well-watered wine, and some sorbapple-cider. And, to make them dance, he hired a blind man that made music to them with a wind-broach.

After dinner he led them to the palace and showed them to Pantagruel, and said, pointing to the married woman, You need not fear that she will crack. Why? said Pantagruel. Because, said Panurge, she is well slit and broke up already. What do you mean by that? said Pantagruel. Do not you see, said Panurge, that the chestnuts which are roasted in the fire, if they be whole they crack as if they were mad, and, to keep them from cracking, they make an incision in them and slit them? So this new bride is in her lower parts well slit before, and therefore will not crack behind.

Pantagruel gave them a little lodge near the lower street and a mortar of stone wherein to bray and pound their sauce, and in this manner did they do their little business, he being as pretty a crier of green sauce as ever was seen in the country of Utopia. But I have been told since that his wife doth beat him like plaister, and the poor sot dare not defend himself, he is so simple.