"Merry As Crickets"

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Last Updated on May 8, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 183

Context: The shepherds of the country of Grangousier, father of Gargantua, one day stop some bakers from Lerne and ask if they can buy some of their cakes at regular market prices. The bakers refuse, instead hurling outrageous insults, even striking one friendly shepherd with a whip. He in turn throws his cudgel, and a general battle starts, in which the bakers of Lerne are bested. The shepherds are honest people and pay for the cakes they then take. The bakers hurry home to Lerne, where they tell the king, Picrochole, of the battle. Picrochole gets together his army and enters the country of Grangousier. Grangousier, who is a peace-loving man, wants to avoid a fight and sends for his son, Gargantua, who is away at school. In his letter to Gargantua, Grangousier says:

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. . . The exploit shall be done with as little effusion of blood as may be. And, if possible, by means far more expedient, such as military policy, devices and stratagems of war, we shall save all the souls, and send them home as merry as crickets unto their own houses. . . .

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