Chapter 37 How Pantagruel persuaded Panurge to take counsel of a fool
When Pantagruel had withdrawn himself, he, by a little sloping window in on_f the galleries, perceived Panurge in a lobby not far from thence, walkin_lone, with the gesture, carriage, and garb of a fond dotard, raving, wagging,
and shaking his hands, dandling, lolling, and nodding with his head, like _ow bellowing for her calf; and, having then called him nearer, spoke unto hi_hus: You are at this present, as I think, not unlike to a mouse entangled i_ snare, who the more that she goeth about to rid and unwind herself out o_he gin wherein she is caught, by endeavouring to clear and deliver her fee_rom the pitch whereto they stick, the foulier she is bewrayed with it, an_he more strongly pestered therein. Even so is it with you. For the more tha_ou labour, strive, and enforce yourself to disencumber and extricate you_houghts out of the implicating involutions and fetterings of the grievous an_amentable gins and springs of anguish and perplexity, the greater difficult_here is in the relieving of you, and you remain faster bound than ever. No_o I know for the removal of this inconveniency any remedy but one.
Take heed, I have often heard it said in a vulgar proverb, The wise may b_nstructed by a fool. Seeing the answers and responses of sage and judiciou_en have in no manner of way satisfied you, take advice of some fool, an_ossibly by so doing you may come to get that counsel which will be agreeabl_o your own heart's desire and contentment. You know how by the advice an_ounsel and prediction of fools, many kings, princes, states, an_ommonwealths have been preserved, several battles gained, and divers doubt_f a most perplexed intricacy resolved. I am not so diffident of your memor_s to hold it needful to refresh it with a quotation of examples, nor do I s_ar undervalue your judgment but that I think it will acquiesce in the reaso_f this my subsequent discourse. As he who narrowly takes heed to wha_oncerns the dexterous management of his private affairs, domestic businesses,
and those adoes which are confined within the strait-laced compass of on_amily, who is attentive, vigilant, and active in the economic rule of his ow_ouse, whose frugal spirit never strays from home, who loseth no occasio_hereby he may purchase to himself more riches, and build up new heaps o_reasure on his former wealth, and who knows warily how to prevent th_nconveniences of poverty, is called a worldly wise man, though perhaps in th_econd judgment of the intelligences which are above he be esteemed _ool,—so, on the contrary, is he most like, even in the thoughts of al_elestial spirits, to be not only sage, but to presage events to come b_ivine inspiration, who laying quite aside those cares which are conducible t_is body or his fortunes, and, as it were, departing from himself, rids al_is senses of terrene affections, and clears his fancies of those ploddin_tudies which harbour in the minds of thriving men. All which neglects o_ublunary things are vulgarily imputed folly. After this manner, the son o_icus, King of the Latins, the great soothsayer Faunus, was called Fatuus b_he witless rabble of the common people. The like we daily see practise_mongst the comic players, whose dramatic roles, in distribution of th_ersonages, appoint the acting of the fool to him who is the wisest of th_roop. In approbation also of this fashion the mathematicians allow the ver_ame horoscope to princes and to sots. Whereof a right pregnant instance b_hem is given in the nativities of Aeneas and Choroebus; the latter of whic_wo is by Euphorion said to have been a fool, and yet had with the former th_ame aspects and heavenly genethliac influences.
I shall not, I suppose, swerve much from the purpose in hand, if I relate unt_ou what John Andrew said upon the return of a papal writ, which was directe_o the mayor and burgesses of Rochelle, and after him by Panorme, upon th_ame pontifical canon; Barbatias on the Pandects, and recently by Jason in hi_ouncils, concerning Seyny John, the noted fool of Paris, and Caillet's for_reat-grandfather. The case is this.
At Paris, in the roastmeat cookery of the Petit Chastelet, before the cooksho_f one of the roastmeat sellers of that lane, a certain hungry porter wa_ating his bread, after he had by parcels kept it a while above the reek an_team of a fat goose on the spit, turning at a great fire, and found it, s_esmoked with the vapour, to be savoury; which the cook observing, took n_otice, till after having ravined his penny loaf, whereof no morsel had bee_nsmokified, he was about decamping and going away. But, by your leave, as th_ellow thought to have departed thence shot-free, the master-cook laid hol_pon him by the gorget, and demanded payment for the smoke of his roast meat.
The porter answered, that he had sustained no loss at all; that by what he ha_one there was no diminution made of the flesh; that he had taken nothing o_is, and that therefore he was not indebted to him in anything. As for th_moke in question, that, although he had not been there, it would howsoeve_ave been evaporated; besides, that before that time it had never been see_or heard that roastmeat smoke was sold upon the streets of Paris. The coo_ereto replied, that he was not obliged nor any way bound to feed and nouris_or nought a porter whom he had never seen before with the smoke of his roas_eat, and thereupon swore that if he would not forthwith content and satisf_im with present payment for the repast which he had thereby got, that h_ould take his crooked staves from off his back; which, instead of havin_oads thereafter laid upon them, should serve for fuel to his kitchen fires.
Whilst he was going about so to do, and to have pulled them to him by one o_he bottom rungs which he had caught in his hand, the sturdy porter got out o_is grip, drew forth the knotty cudgel, and stood to his own defence. Th_ltercation waxed hot in words, which moved the gaping hoidens of the sottis_arisians to run from all parts thereabouts, to see what the issue would be o_hat babbling strife and contention. In the interim of this dispute, to ver_ood purpose Seyny John, the fool and citizen of Paris, happened to be there,
whom the cook perceiving, said to the porter, Wilt thou refer and submit unt_he noble Seyny John the decision of the difference and controversy which i_etwixt us? Yes, by the blood of a goose, answered the porter, I am content.
Seyny John the fool, finding that the cook and porter had compromised th_etermination of their variance and debate to the discretion of his award an_rbitrament, after that the reasons on either side whereupon was grounded th_utual fierceness of their brawling jar had been to the full displayed an_aid open before him, commanded the porter to draw out of the fob of his bel_ piece of money, if he had it. Whereupon the porter immediately withou_elay, in reverence to the authority of such a judicious umpire, put the tent_art of a silver Philip into his hand. This little Philip Seyny John took;
then set it on his left shoulder, to try by feeling if it was of a sufficien_eight. After that, laying it on the palm of his hand, he made it ring an_ingle, to understand by the ear if it was of a good alloy in the meta_hereof it was composed. Thereafter he put it to the ball or apple of his lef_ye, to explore by the sight if it was well stamped and marked; all whic_eing done, in a profound silence of the whole doltish people who were ther_pectators of this pageantry, to the great hope of the cook's and despair o_he porter's prevalency in the suit that was in agitation, he finally cause_he porter to make it sound several times upon the stall of the cook's shop.
Then with a presidential majesty holding his bauble sceptre-like in his hand,
muffling his head with a hood of marten skins, each side whereof had th_esemblance of an ape's face sprucified up with ears of pasted paper, an_aving about his neck a bucked ruff, raised, furrowed, and ridged wit_ointing sticks of the shape and fashion of small organ pipes, he first wit_ll the force of his lungs coughed two or three times, and then with a_udible voice pronounced this following sentence: The court declareth that th_orter who ate his bread at the smoke of the roast, hath civilly paid the coo_ith the sound of his money. And the said court ordaineth that everyone retur_o his own home, and attend his proper business, without cost and charges, an_or a cause. This verdict, award, and arbitrament of the Parisian fool di_ppear so equitable, yea, so admirable to the aforesaid doctors, that the_ery much doubted if the matter had been brought before the sessions fo_ustice of the said place, or that the judges of the Rota at Rome had bee_mpires therein, or yet that the Areopagites themselves had been the decider_hereof, if by any one part, or all of them together, it had been s_udicially sententiated and awarded. Therefore advise, if you will b_ounselled by a fool.