"Look A Gift Horse In The Mouth"

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Last Updated on May 8, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 127

Context: Gargantua, the gigantic son of Grangosier and Gargamelle, was physically precocious as a youth, although his actions differed more in degree than in kind from those of other youngsters. "He was continually wallowing and rolling up and down in the mire." Rabelais also has him experiment with and apparently believe in all the superstitions of his day. He also literally breathes the clichés and commonplaces. The one about the gift horse was used by John Heywood in Proverbes, (1546), Part I, chapter 5, by Cervantes in Don Quixote, Part II (1615), Book IV, chapter 62, and widely later on. Rabelais says:

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He took the cranes at the first leap, and would have the mail-coats to be made link after link. He always looked a gift horse in the mouth, . . .

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