"Scared Out Of His Wits"

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Last Updated on May 8, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 125

Context: In this bitter but funny satire on the law courts, Panurge, thinking himself lucky in having escaped from the land of the Furred-Law-cats with the loss of only a purse of gold, does not wish to return under any circumstances. Just as he and his friends are leaving in their boat, a storm comes up which drives them back toward the island. The proverb about being so frightened was later used by Joseph Addison (The Spectator, November 5, 1714) and by Walter Scott in Rob Roy (1817), Chapter 34. Rabelais says as the friends are about to return to the island:

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. . . Panurge, frightened almost out of his wits, roared out, "Dear master, in spite of the wind and waves, change your course, and turn the ship's head about."

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