“Gargantua and Pantagruel” Book I by François Rabelais
Get in my belly!!
“Gargantua and Pantagruel” by François Rabelais
Gargantua is the father of Pantagruel, both giants. We should all be so lucky as to have our genealogy laid out so neatly as theirs. There are so many people with high stations who really come from the dregs of humanity. Me, personally, I come from an old line of kings and princes. The proof of this is that I so desperately wish to be one, to lie around doing fuck all throughout the day.
It is through the grace of God that we have the genealogy of Gargantua. It was dug up by a man named Jean Audeau. He found a large bronze tomb in the ground and started digging. In the tomb was the book of genealogy written on elm bark. I was called round to look at it and translate it. I found a blurb at the end of the book. I filled in the bits that were eaten by rats and moths.
Summary of the Correct Conundrums in the tomb: It’s all a huge confusing jumble.
Grandgousier was a joker and a drinker. And an eater. Big eater. He married Gargamelle, daughter of the Butterfly king. Their lovemaking was like two pieces of bacon rubbing together. She became pregnant and carried the child for 11 months. Only a child carried this long will be destined for great things. Many famous writers support this. Try it out on your own. You’ll see.
Gargamelle was gorging herself on ox tripe one day. It was in celebration of Mardi Gras that 367014 oxen were slaughtered and salted so that they’d have plenty of beef for the spring. There was so much tripe that it started to turn. They decided that they would eat them all in one go rather than waste them. People from the neighboring towns were invited to help eat. Grandgousier got all excited and made sure that everyone got ladles full. Gargamelle ate a boat load and the shit started to swell up inside of her. They walked home skipping.
After the meal, a conversation started up. Flagons, hams, goblets and glasses were really there was. Conversation was based on how thirsty and hungry they were. The question of whether the drinking came first or the thirst came up. It was the thirst because youngsters don’t know about drinking but they have the instinct for it. Is life for drinking or is drinking for life? Those sorts of questions. A lot of philosophy over silly questions and drinking. A lot of bullshit stories of how the drink gave fictional characters conquered places.
While they were talking about drinking, Gargamelle began to feel funny. Grandgousier thought this was the labor of birth causing the pain. Grandgousier tried to convince her to be cheerful because the baby was being born. Gargamelle wasn’t convinced and told him to go chop his dick off. Only kidding but fuck, it hurt. Grandgousier saw that his advice wasn’t wanted and went off for another drink.
The midwives swarmed around her and thought a baby was coming out. Nope, just more of her fat ass moving around because of all the food. One of the midwives had been around the block a few times and knocked her together some concoction that would tighten her sphincter up. Whatever it was affected the baby so much that he followed her veins and was born through her left ear. He came out screaming “drink, drink, drink!!”, inviting everyone to knock one back. If you think that’s impossible and silly, why wouldn’t you say the same about Rocquetaillade, Crocquemouche, Minerva, Adonis, etc.? Read some shit Pliny the elder said about anything and it will sound less crazy.
Grandgousier was still drinking and he heard the kid say something about drink. He looked at him and remarked to himself what a big ding dong he had. His name had to be Gargantua (“que grand tu as!”). Gargamelle seemed to like the sound of it. They gave him a big drink and had him baptized. They ordered 17913 more cows for his milk. Wet nurses weren’t going to cut it for this kid. Some say that Gargamelle did nurse him herself with enough to fill 1902 pipes and 9 pails of milk.
He lived like this for 1 year and 10 months they took him out in an ox wagon, traveling from place to place and show him off to everyone. He was a good looking boy with 18 chins but he never cried. He shat himself once an hour mostly due to drinking a little too much of the September wines. Whenever he got angry, upset, sad, whatever, they’d give him a big drink to calm him down. His governess told me herself that he was so used to this that he’d get excited just at the sounds of any pot or pan, thinking it was a flagon of some tasty drink. They used the sounds to calm him down.
Shirt: 1350 yds linen
Gussets: 300 yds linen
Doublet: 1219 yds satin
Points: 1509.5 yds dog skins
Hose: 1657 1/3 yds wool (w/ emeralds the size of oranges)
Cod piece: 24.25 yds wool
Cod piece bulge: 81″ w/ good embroidery, pearls, etc. (Something to look at. Check out his other work, On the Dignity of Codpieces. But this one wasn’t like the ones that most young fellas have, which are usually 90% hollow.)
Shoes: 609 yds purple velvet, with pompons at joints (soles: 4422 brown cow skins)
Cape: 2400 yds blue velvet, with fine scallops embroidered and pearly gold bands.
Sword and dagger (not from Spain, because according to Grandgousier, fuck Spain): wooden sword and leather gilded dagger
Purse: 1 Libyan elephant dick
Gown: 14399 1/3 yds blue velvet w/ gold flower pattern
Hat: 453.25 yds white velvet à la Spanish Jews
Plume: from a Pelican from Hyrcania
Hat medallion: enamel work w/ gold plate of 136 oz. w/ display of 2 human heads looking at each other like from “Symposium” by Plato.
Gold chain: 51206 oz. gold w/ green jaspers, dragons, beams, sparks, etc. hanging down to his navel.
Gloves: 16 hobgoblin skins, 3 wolf skins
Rings: left index: carbuncle the size of an ostrich egg of Egyptian gold. Middle left: twining of steel, gold, copper and silver. Middle right: spiral w/ orange ruby and pointed diamond. All valued at about 69849000 Agnes Dei crowns.
White and blue were the family colors. White meant gladness, pleasure, etc. Blue had something to do with heaven. You might think white meant faith and blue was steadfastness. According to Blazons of Colors, you might think that but the book doesn’t even have an author. Nobody would put his name to that garbage. You see a lot of that: oh, this symbolizes this and that symbolizes that… A panier symbolizes pain. Piss pots signify an officer… In Ancient Egypt they used hieroglyphs which hardly anybody understood. People thought they meant something strong and virtuous but didn’t really mean too much at all.
So, white is pleasure and joy. Don’t listen to those who say otherwise. Aristotle spoke about things coming in opposites: good and evil, cold and hot, etc. If you take 2 opposites, joy and sadness, and white and black… White will mean joy and black will mean sadness. This is pretty standard, except in Syracuse and Argos (really fucked up people). People wear black to show grief when they mourn. White meant joy. Night and black show darkness and privation. Isn’t like all that is good? Even Jesus’s transfiguration was into a white light where his face was. In Genesis, God made light and saw that it was good. We talk about the “light of heave”. The town of Alba was settled after finding a white sow. White horses drawing a chariot symbolize triumph. Whiteness is associated with a noble flower, the lily. Many, many, many books back this symbolism up. Oh yeah… blue means something or other about heaven.
At the age of 3, his upbringing began to include discipline in the usual ways. Most of the time he spent drinking, eating, sleeping, eating, sleeping, drinking and eating. He was often in the mud getting his face and clothes dirty. He chased the butterflies around. His father was their ruler after all. He pissed in his shoes, shat in his shirt and wiped his nose on his sleeves, drank out of a slipper. He teethed on a comb, drank while eating, ate while drinking. A lot of pissing, shitting and farting. He behaved like all manner of animals, stuck worms up his nose, and took out worms from his nose. Normal boy stuff.
He would grab at his governesses parts whenever it suited him. They would play with his codpiece. There were all sorts of names for his member: pillicock, ninepin, coral branch, cork, auger, dingle-dangle, rough-go stiff-and-low, crimping iron, little red sausage, and cock. The governesses would fight over it.
It was decided that he should be a rider. They started him off with a wooden hobbyhorse. He’d run around with it jumping, prancing all over the place. He’d paint it different colors according to the mood. He had a large hunting horse made from a log and an everyday horse from a winepress beam.
Lord Breadinbag came to visit his father, so did Duke of Freemeal and Earl of Wetwind. They asked him were the stables were. Gargantua took them to the top floor of the place. They thought he was joking but sure enough, they were up there. He explained to them all about how he took care of his horses.
Gargantua was now 5 years old. Grandgousier came back victorious over the Canarians. Gargantua was proud to report to his father of his new method of keeping clean. He performed many experiments on ass wiping. He started off using a lady’s velvet mask, then their hoods, neckerchief, earmuffs, etc. He had some trouble on a page’s bonnet with feathers. He wiped himself with a cat but the cat scratched up his taint. Mom’s gloves were pretty good. He tried pretty much anything he found in the garden. Then the sheets, the curtains, tablecloth, napkins, etc.
He even came up with a shit-based song to go along with the experiments. Well, you don’t need to wipe your ass if haven’t shit yet. It’s nice and clean before we shit. So, he thought you should shit before you wipe your ass. Then he continued wiping with a pillow, a slipper, purse, basket, and a hat. The best hats were shaggy. Then he tried about every animal they had around the place. The best was a well-downed goose. You should hold the neck between the legs and you’ll get the best clean out and the warmth feels nice too.
Grandgousier was proud of his son. He told his governesses that Philip of Macedonia saw what Alexander would become when he saw him ride a horse. Alexander conquered a horse by recognizing that the horse was actually just afraid of its own shadow. So, he decided to make his horse run in the direction of the sun (East). He was sent to Aristotle to learn all that he could. Grandgousier knew his son was special like Alexander after their shit discussion. He wanted Gargantua to have the best education, no expense too great.
A doctor and tutor, Thubal Holofernes, was appointed and taught him. They had giant desks and pencils. The sophist taught his out of a number of books for many years. Then he learned from Master Jobekin Bridé and read tons and tons of more books.
Dad saw how Gargantua was doing in his studies but he didn’t seem to be learning anything. He seemed to be dumber than when he first started. He complained to someone about the problem and the response was it was better not to learn anything than to learn like that. It did nothing but harm to youngsters. They proposed a little test to put up a kid who’d only done 2 years of studying against Gargantua. They brought in a boy, Eudemon, not quite 12. They put him up against Gargantua’s teachers. The boy gave a speech about the virtues of the people around him. Very impressive. Gargantua burst out like a cow, hid his face and made sounds like dead donkey farts. Needless to say, Grandgousier was very upset with the teachers and fired them. He hired Eudemon’s teacher, Ponocrates, and sent them all off to Paris to learn what young men were learning in France.
The king of Numidia sent Grandgousier an enormous mare. She was the size of 6 elephants and her hooves were more like toes and she had a horn on her ass. She was brought over in 3 carracks and a brigantine to Olonne. Grandgousier thought she’d be best way to send Gargantua to Paris. They set off half in the bag, Gargantua, Ponocrates, servants and Eudemon.
They got to Orléans and went through the large forest there teeming with ox flies and hornets. The mare killed them all with her fly-swatting tail. Gargantua was proud of this and that gave name to the region Beauce (“Je trouve beau ce” in hacked up French). They finally got to Paris after drinking Beauce dry.
They slept a bit and then went to check out the city. The people stared at him because of his size and gear. The people in Paris are so dumb that they’ll stare at anything mundane and ignore something spectacular. Gargantua was forced to stay in Notre Dame to avoid all the gawkers. He said, “I’ll give them something to gawk at” and he whipped out his willy and pissed on them to the point where 260,418 men drowned. They didn’t count the women and children. The survivors were so amazed that the town had been flooded in a joke that they renamed the town from Leucetia to Paris (“Par ris”).
Gargantua looked at the cathedral’s bells and played a tune on them. He took them down and used them as cowbells for his horse. The people made a big fuss and an effort was made to get them back.
Master Janotus was sent to get the bells back. They knocked on the door and Ponocrates answered. He was a bit spooked by the way Janotus and his men were dressed that he ran to get Gargantua. They came up with a plan. They would take these guys down to the liquor room and get them pissed up. Then they might be able to get them to agree with whatever they wanted.
Janotus gave a little speech to get the bells back. “We’d like our bells back because we need them. A lot of people have tried to take them or buy them but we’ve always turned them down. If we don’t get them back we guys here will be in deep shit. We won’t get any more booze. If we do get them back, we’ve been promised sausage, nice pants, etc. Pants are great. Remember was Jesus said ‘Render unto Caesar that which is his and render unto God that which is his.’ If you want to eat and drink with us, we can see about that. We will give you a pardon. They’re not ours. They are the city’s. Everybody uses them. They might look good on your mare but they suit us fine too. Please, for the love of God, give us our bells back.”
Ponocrates and Eudemon laughed at the sophist’s speech laden with bad Latin words and grammar. Then Janotus began laughing too. It wasn’t clear if they were laughing at each other or with each other. Gargantua asked his people what they should do. Ponocrates wanted to make him drink more and give him some pants in order to make him happy. They wondered whether if it was best to find shitting pants or something to hug to his belly. Janotus was a bit too drunk to tell anybody what kind he wanted. They finally put something together. Then Janotus told them want he wanted. Janotus’s people told him that he had already received pants from Gargantua. “No, those were just a gift. I still want my pants for the bells.” They said that he should be reasonably pleased with the deal.
Reason was not something practiced around these parts. Janotus cursed them all to some horrible death and disease. While he was going on and on, some of Gargantua’s retinue put the bells back.
In thanks for putting the bells back, the Parisians promised to keep and feed his mare as long as he wanted. She was kept out in the Forest of Bière. Now Gargantua was ready to study. He woke up between 8 and 9. He would loaf in bed for a bit and get up and get dressed. He’d comb his hair with his fingers. Then began the shitting, pissing, belching, vomiting, farting, yawning, sneezing, etc. He would go eat breakfast: fried trips, bacon, ham, goat stew and soup.
Ponocrates didn’t think it was wise to pile on that food before exercising. Gargantua replied that he rolled over at least 7 or 8 times before getting up. That’s what Pope Alexander did based on his doctor’s advice. Food improves the memory and he can remember a lot. Drinking improves the memory and he wanted to get an early start.
After breakfast, he went to church carried in a large basket. There he listened to 30-some masses. He read the litanies. Then he was brought back on an oxcart and walked through the cloisters with his rosaries among 16 hermits. He studied for a half an hour daydreaming about what was for lunch. He took a leak and started eating and drinking in great amounts. The servants would pitch the food into his mouth and would gulp his wine to help the fluidity of the situation.
Gargantua would wash off lunch with some fresh wine, picked his teeth with pig trotters and shoot the shit with whomever was around. They would lay out a cloth, a pack of cards and dice, and played at about 300 different games. All that gambling parched the throat, so they would drink 11 quarts per person. That would make him a bit sleepy and he had to take a 2-3 hour nap. And there’s nothing like a drink to wake one up. Ponocrates scolded him for this but Gargantua found a way to justify it all.
Ponocrates was not happy with how Gargantua was living. He knew he’d have a hard time getting him to change quickly. He decided to have him hang out with the right crowd to set a good example for him. Then they jumped right in with the literature and learning.
Gargantua began to wake up at 4 in the morning and read some theology while he was being rubbed down. He practiced good pronunciation with a page boy with the right accent. He’d often be so moved by what he read that he would stop to pray to and worship God, the one whose wisdom and greatness influenced what he read.
He’d stop to take a dump and while he was doing so, Ponocrates would reinforce his lessons with explanations of more difficult points. They’d contemplate the sky and Gargantua’s grooming would be done for him. They rehashed the lesson from the day before. They then went for a walk, continuing the lessons. He was read to for 3 hours. They’d play with a metal triangle and then hit the books again. They ate dinner with some history read to them. They’d discuss what was read while they were eating and drinking. They’d play cards based on math, not games. He was able to best the smartest men around. Then, they’d sing with whatever instruments they wanted as accompaniment. After all that, he had his after-dinner dump and went to study for a few hours more. Then he went for a ride on the finest horses with the best armor. He’d practice on all sorts of weapons while singing and without much struggle.
They kept themselves busy in the barn working while it was raining. Then they’d do some paintings and carvings, as well as many other crafts. They would listen to teachings and sermons, as well as any sort of public performances they could find. Dinner was usually light followed by a bit of reading of the classics.
There were shepherds looking after the vines around the time of the harvest. They asked bakers for some cake as they passed by. Apparently it’s a very nice breakfast. The bakers wanted nothing to do with these guys, thinking they were lazy beggars. The shepherds reminded the bakers that they have bought from them in the past and want to do so now. If they’re going to be assholes about the whole thing, they’ll keep this little to-do in mind the next time they want anything from their farm. They began to fight until the neighbor farmers came to help the farmers in the fight. When it was all over, the farmers got their cakes but they did end up paying for them. They all took the medicinal grapes to get over the fight.
The cake bakers went back to their city, Lerné, to piss and moan about their dust up with the farmers to their king, Picrochole, who didn’t even let them tell the story. This pissed him off to no end. He ordered that anybody able to fight come down help out. He got the artillery ready while some 16014 harquebusiers and 30011 volunteers showed up. There were guns, cannons, birds, snakes, horses, etc. ready for the fight. An avant-garde was sent out to scout the scene and make the place ready for a fight. The place was quiet and there was no evidence of a big army anywhere nearby. The army rushed off, abandoning any sense of order and laid waste to anything in their path.
The army wreaked havoc on the place. But a slew of priests, curates, surgeons and apothecaries visited the place to tend to the injured. These guys caught the plague and dropped dead on the spot. The army wasn’t affected by this at all and continued spoiling the place. The monks in the neighborhood tried to make peace with songs. A Friar John of the abbey came to help. He was the monk that monkery ever monked. The monks were singing instead of doing anything about the invaders. He convinced the monks that they should fight back before the army comes and either destroys the wine or drinks it all. John fights all the plunderers and the other monks kill off the wounded, using the cross to finish them off.
The monks fought off the army from the abbey and Picrochole decided to make camp for the night. The next day, he was able to take the castle but not the abbey. Meanwhile Gargantua was still in Paris and Grandgousier was at home. A shepherd was able to make it back to inform the king of what had happened. He was visibly upset and didn’t understand why this had happened. He was too old to fight so he sent for Gargantua to fight this battle.
Grandgousier’s letter: Yo, Sorry to interrupt all your book-learnin’ but we’ve got a bit of a problem on our hands here. Picrochole seems to have taken leave of his senses and has invaded our lands. We want to solve this thing right away. Whenever you can pry yourself away from your studies, please make your way down here. Love, Daddykins.
The letter was sent off to Gargantua and the king’s best envoy, Ulrich Gallet was sent to speak to Picrochole.
Gallet met with Picrochole and told him that Grandgousier was disturbed by this invasion. The two lands had been at peace with each other for generations and all of a sudden he came barging in without any sort of warning. He asked what the hell had come over him to do such a thing.
Picrochole doesn’t want to negotiate. Grandgousier and Gallet are able to figure out what had happened between the farmers and the cake makers. They decide that they will pay the damages done to the bakers and send a man to negotiate a price. Picrochole doesn’t really want to stop the war but does want to keep the money sent to him. He’s afraid he’ll look like a bitch if he lets up.
Picrochole and his ministers decide that taking the money will finance their war with Grandgousier. And if they are successful in their invasion of his lands, they will be able to finance a war to take over the whole planet. They split up the armies into divisions to fight this war in groups.
Gargantua finally reads his father’s letter, got on his mare and made off for home. His retinue followed closely behind him. Ponocrates advised him to go to the Lord of Vauguyon for help and advice. Gymnast is decided to be the scout to judge the size and nature of Picrochole’s armies. Gargantua finally gets home and has a few tons and hundreds of gallons of refreshments when he gets there. He sees the country is in tatters.
Gymnast was able to get up close to Picrochole’s Captain Tripet and killed him with a small sword. In all the kerfuffle, Gymnast was also able to kill several of Tripet’s men as well.
Gymnast meets up with Gargantua and explains to him that these soldiers of Picrochole aren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer and won’t be too hard to beat. Gargantua chops down a tree there named St. Martin’s tree and makes it into a lance. With this lance, he was able to skewer much of the enemy’s army.
They came up near the River Vede and Gargantua was able to meet up with his parents. He had to fix up his hair after riding so long and in doing so was able to untangle the dozens of cannonballs flying his hair caught while riding through the woods. Not being hurt by the cannonballs, he used his lance to knock over the castle. To celebrate his victory, they had a huge banquet of every tasty and disgusting thing you can imagine.
At this time, there were 6 pilgrims, on their way from Sebastian near Nantes, hiding in the gardens because of all the fighting. Gargantua, still hungry, wants to make a salad. Not seeing the pilgrims hiding in the lettuce, he picks the lettuce up with the pilgrims, mixes it up and eats them. They were able to stay away from his incisors but got swept away in the gallons of wine he used to wash the salad down after picking his teeth. After a big meal and drink, Gargantua went to take a leak and pissed the pilgrims out.
Grandgousier told Gargantua of the ferocious battle fought single-handedly by Friar John. Gargantua invites him to sit next to him and talk about war, exchange jokes and talk about religion and the monks in general.
Eudemon asks how monks are able to keep apart from the rest of the world. Gargantua supposes that they eat other people’s shit and that turns them off to them. Also, the monks don’t seem to be doing anything at all and this causes the people to look at them with suspicion. They pray and read out passages, most of which they don’t really understand. But John is a good guy, so there is some potential in them. John responds that in between prayers, he makes weapons and drinks. The reason why he has such a nice looking, but large nose is because his nurse had soft teats. Hard teats make smaller noses.
Gargantua was still jacked up from dinner and the discussions with John and his friends. John told him that he was always able to fall asleep during prayers and recitations. So, he recited some prayers to Gargantua to try to get him to sleep. At midnight, Gargantua woke up to go on patrol. He actually managed to restrain himself from drinking. They went off to survey the woods.
John gave the guys a bit of a pep talk and by the end of it, he was so revved up by his own words, he didn’t really pay attention to how he was riding on his horse and got flung up into a tree. They were able to fetch him down and get him back on his horse ready for battle.
Picrochole was very pissed off about the death of Captain Tripet. He sent out a patrol to try and find Gargantua and his men in the forest. Tired, they stopped at a tavern and ran into the pilgrims that had been pissed out by Gargantua. The pilgrims told them what had happened to them leading the patrol to think that Gargantua and his men were demons. The monk decided to follow Picrochole’s patrol alone and comes across the pilgrims as well. The patrol realized that he was all alone and took him prisoner.
John was able to make out that his captors were looking for Gargantua and his buddies. He needed to go warn them about this attack. He listened more to what they are saying and realizes that while they might be large in number they are just a bunch of amateurs and it wouldn’t take much to get free. They didn’t even take his sword from him. He got free and killed many of his guards and Picrochole’s main guy, Touchfaucet, was taken prisoner. Then he made off toward where he believed Gargantua and Co. were. Unfortunately, in doing so, he gave their position away and the two armies met up and began to battle. Gargantua’s group wins the battle.
After the battle ended, Gargantua and his friends went to see Grandgousier in his bed. He asked about the monk and they told him. They had a big breakfast and in comes Friar John asking for wine. He brought with him the 5 pilgrims they had been dealing with for the last few days, and Touchfaucet. Grandgousier asked the pilgrims who they were and where they were from. Grandgousier gave them all some comforting advice.
Touchfaucet was taken before Grandgousier and was taken to task about the invasion. He admitted that the plan was to take over the whole country just to avenge the cake bakers. Grandgousier told him that it wasn’t possible to do that with an army that small and incompetent. They had too many soldiers and friendly countries willing to lend them a hand. Grandgousier gave him his freedom on the condition that he try to get Picrochole to stop the war.
Touchfaucet went back to Picrochole and told him what Grandgousier asked him to. In the meantime, Grandgousier called for his best officers to prepare for a full-on war that will defend the whole country. Touchfaucet explained that Grandgousier’s armies are much bigger and much better than his and they were likely to get slaughtered as a result of this invasion. Picrochole didn’t like the Touchfaucet’s tone and called him a traitor. Rashcalf didn’t like this and the Touchfaucet killed him with a sword that Grandgousier had given him. Picrochole got upset by this and ordered him to be killed on the spot.
Gargantua was now the head of the whole, united army while Grandgousier remained at his castle. They set off over the Vede and gained more and more support from the people the countryside. They began the assault on the castle, the Rock of Clermond, held by Picrochole. They entered the castle and killed nearly everyone in it. Picrochole and his closest men tried to escape but where captured by John and brought to Gargantua.
Picrochole ran off and fell off his horse. In his anger, he killed it. He needed to find another one but could only find an ass. The locals all approached him and whacked him on the ass. He ran into an old woman who predicted that he would reestablish his old kingdom. Gargantua rounded up his men and noticed that only a few of them were wounded or dead. Happy about this he threw together a big party to celebrate their good health and paraded out those who remained of Picrochole’s close men.
Gargantua spoke to those who remained from Picrochole’s party. He told them the story of Alpharbal, a king not satisfied with his wealth and decided to invade Onyx and used pirates to raid the area of Brittany, Grandgousier was able to defeat them and instead of enslaving the men, he allowed them to go home. Alpharbal was moved so much by this act of kindness that he swore loyalty to Grandgousier. Gargantua is giving the same act of clemency on the vanquished in hope that this will end the war for good.
Gargantua notices that Picrochole has gone missing. Now that Picrochole’s lands are without a ruler and his son is too young to rule the land, Gargantua appoints Ponocrates to be the regent since he has been such a great teacher to him.
Gargantua wanted to make John the Abbot of Seville but he didn’t want the job. He didn’t want to be in charge of anyone. He felt that it was too much responsibility to take care of himself on top of others. He wanted his own little abbey to keep for himself and not be bothered by anyone. They tend to be corrupt and disreputable. He was given an abbey in Theleme.
Gargantua and John built the abbey unlike any other. The motto of the place was “do as thou wilt”. There would be no walls and there would be both men and women allowed to marry and fraternize with one another. The place was decked out like a castle and the inhabitants would be dressed decadently.
A silly little transcription is written about the history of the abbey and the rules of the abbey under John.
Men and women would live side by side. They’d have different tasks but both would live together with all sorts of exotic, even magical animals roaming around the place. It’s a very posh looking place.
The women are dressed very well and with a new outfit for each season. The men of the abbey are also dressed to the nines. Many of the best artisans of the land would be designing and making the dress for both the men and the women of the abbey.
Freedom is a key theme of the Theleme abbey. Each person can do whatever he or she wants and when. The men and women lived in harmony and were very happy. There is a strange inscription on the walls of the abbey.
Gargantua and John discuss the enigma after seeing it. Gargantua thought it was a description of a divine truth. John just thought it was a description of a game of tennis.