16. The Oreillons
From Candide by Voltaire (1759)

What passed between our two travellers and two girls, two monkeys, and the savages called Oreillons.

CANDIDE and his valet had got beyond the pass, before any person in the camp got the least intimation of the death of the German. The provident Cacambo had taken care to fill his wallet with bread, chocolate, ham, and some bottles of wine. They pushed with their Andalusian horses into a strange country, where they could not discover any path or road. At last, a pleasant meadow, which was divided by a river, presented itself to their eyes. Our two travellers turned their horses out to graze, and Cacambo proposed to his master to eat a bit, at the same time setting him the example.

"Do you think," said Candide, "that I can feast upon ham, when I have killed the Baron's son, and find myself under a necessity never to see Cunegonde again as long as I live? What signifies it to prolong my days in misery, since I must spend them far away from her, a prey to remorse and despair? and what will the Journal of Trevoux say of me?"

Having thus spoke, he refused to eat a morsel. The sun was now set, when our two wanderers, to their very great surprise, heard faint cries, which seemed to come from women. It was not easy to determine these cries; they rose immediately, with all the anxiety and apprehension to which people are subject in a strange place, and immediately discovered that the noise was made by two girls, who ran, unclothed, on the banks of the meadow, pursued by two large monkeys. Candide was moved with pity, and as he had learned to shoot, among the Bulgarians, and was so good a marksman that he could hit a nut in a bush without touching the leaves, he took up his Spanish fuzee, which was double-charged, and killed the two monkeys.

"God be praised, my dear Cacambo," said he, "I have delivered the two poor girls from this great danger. If I have been guilty of a sin in killing the inquisitor, I have now made ample amends for it by saving the lives of two innocent girls. They may chance to prove a couple of ladies of rank; and who knows but this adventure may do us great service, in this country?"

He was going on at this rate, thinking that he had done a great feat, but how great was his surprise, when he saw the two girls, instead of rejoicing, embrace the monkeys with marks of the most tender affection! they bathed their bodies with tears, and filled the air with shrieks that testified the deepest distress.

"I never expected to have seen such a sight as this," said he to Cacambo, who replied, "You have done a fine piece of work, indeed, Sir, you have killed the ladies' sweethearts."
"Their sweethearts! is it possible? Surely you are in jest, Cacambo. Who the deuce could believe you to be in earnest?"
"My dear Sir," replied Cacambo, "you are always for making mountains of mole-hills; why should you think it incredible that in some countries monkeys enjoy the favours of the ladies?"
"Ay," replied Candide, "now I recollect, Mr. Pangloss has told me, that there may be many an instance of this kind, and that these mixtures gave birth to the Egipans, Fauns, and Satyrs; that a great many of the ancients had seen them with their own eyes; but I always looked upon it as a mere romance."
"You ought, at present, to see your mistake," said Cacambo, "and own that the doctor was in the right for once. And you may see what those people do, who have not received a particular education. All I am afraid of is, that these ladies will play us some spiteful trick."

These wise reflections induced Candide to quit the meadow, and take to a wood; where he and Cacambo supped together; and, after heartily cursing the Portuguese inquisitor, the governor of Buenos-Ayres, and the Baron, they fell asleep.

On waking, they found that they could not stir, for the Oreillons, the inhabitants of the country, whom the two lasses had informed of their adventure, had bound them in the night-time with cords made of the bark of a tree. They were surrounded by a body of fifty Oreillons, stark naked, armed with arrows, clubs, and hatchets made of flint. Some of them were making a great cauldron boil, others preparing spits, and all of them crying out,

"He's a cleric, he's a cleric; we will make him pay sauce for it; we will pick his bones for him; let us eat the cleric, let us eat the cleric."
"You may remember I told you my dear master," cried Cacambo, in a lamentable tone, "that those two lasses would play us some spiteful trick."

Candide perceiving the cauldron and the spits, cried out,

"O Lord! we are certainly going to be roasted or boiled. Ah! if Mr. Pangloss had seen nature without disguise, would he have said whatever is, is right? It may be so; but I must confess it is a sad thing to have lost Miss Cunegonde, and to be roasted or boiled for food by the Oreillons."

Cacambo was never at a loss for an invention.

"Never despair," said he to the disconsolate Candide. "I understand the jargon of these people a little, and am going to speak to them."
"Don't fail," said Candide, "to represent to them the inhumanity of cooking men, and what an unchristian practice it is."
"Gentlemen," says Cacambo, "you fancy that you are going to feast on a cleric today; a very good dish, I make no doubt, nor is there any thing more just than to serve one's enemies so. In effect, the law of nature teaches us to kill our fellow creatures, and it is a principle which is put in practice all over the globe. If we do not make use of the right of eating him, it is because we have plenty of victuals without it; but as you have not that advantage, it must certainly be better for you to eat your enemies than to fling away the fruit of your victories a feast to crows and ravens. But, Gentlemen, I suppose you would not relish to eat your friends. You fancy you are going to spit or boil a cleric, but, believe me, I assure you, it is your defender, it is the enemy of your enemies, that you are preparing to treat thus. As to myself, I was born among you. The gentleman you see here is my master, and so far from being a cleric, he has just now killed a cleric, and he is only dressed in his spoils, which is the cause of your mistake. In order to confirm my assertion, let one of you take his gown off, carry it to the first pass of the government of the fathers, and inform himself whether my master has not killed a cleric officer. It is an affair that won't take up much time, and you may always have it in your power to eat us, if you catch me in a lie. But if I have told you the truth, and nothing but the truth, you are too well acquainted with the principles of natural right, morality and law, not to show us some favour."

The Oreillons were so fully convinced of the reasonableness of this proposal, that they deputed two of their chiefs to go and inform themselves of the truth of what he had told them. The two deputies acquitted themselves of their charge like men of sense, and returned soon with a favourable account. The Oreillons then unbound the prisoners, showed them a thousand civilities, offered them women, gave them refreshments, and conducted them back again to the confines of their state, crying all the while, like madmen, "He is no cleric, he is no cleric."

Candide could not help admiring the subject of his deliverance.

"What a people!" said he, "what men! what manners! If I had not had the good luck to run Miss Cunegonde's brother through the body, I should inevitably have been eaten up. But, after all, the dictates of pure nature are always best, since this people, instead of eating me, showed me a thousand civilities as soon as they new that I was not a cleric."
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