The son of Gargantua, Pantagruel is the hero of several of the fairy-tales written by Francois Rabelais to parody the rest of the scholarly world: he satirises the scholarly approach to such stories, as well as the classical works, which many scholars then considered sacred. The fairy tales themselves are stories of lechery and gluttony concealed under a veneer of innocence.

Gargantua demanded of his son Pantagruel the following labours:

“I intend and insist that you learn all languages perfectly; first of all Greek, in Quintilian’s method; then Latin, Then Hebrew, then Arabic and Chaldee. I wish you to form your style of Greek on the model of Plato, and of Latin on that of Cicero. Let there be no history you have not at your fingers’ ends, and study thoroughly cosmography and geography. Of liberal arts, such as geometry mathematics, and music, I gave you a taste when not above five years old, and I would have you now master them fully. Study astronomy, but not divination and judicial astrology, which I consider mere vanities. As for civil law, I would have thee know the digests by heart. You should also have a perfect knowledge of the works of Nature, so that there is no sea, river or smallest stream that you do not know for what fish is noted, whence it proceeds and whither it directs its course; all fowls of the air, all shrubs and trees where forest or orchard, all herbs and flowers, all metals and stones, should be mastered by you. Fail not at the same time most carefully to peruse the Talmudists and Cabalists and be sure by frequent anatomies to gain perfect knowledge of that other world called the microcosm, which is man. Master these in your young days, and let nothing be superficial; as you grow into manhood you must learn chivalry, warfare, and field manoeuvres.”
Poor Pantagruel :(

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