As soon as Francis crossed over the mountain,
he found himself face to face with a large gurgling creature
that wriggled up and down in a mildly titillating fashion. It stretched up and down. He tried not to stare.

"Come over here, come over here, come a little closer," it crooned. "AAuuuuugghhh," the Maw breathed upon him, warm puffs of air.
"Don't you know what pleasure is? Don't you me. I am polymorphous pleasure, the pleasure principle, I am past infinitive..let me swallow you, only I can fully digest you. Come to Maw. Come, come, come, to Maw."

It called itself the Maw but was actually just a stomach that had lost its way.
Francis touched his own belly.
"I like to eat," he said hesitantly.

"Tasties....tasties....I can give you p-p-pleasure..only I can fully digest you...." the Maw hissed,"Stop here, listen, you should try everything once....a pleasure denied is regret deep-fried..tasties..."

Now if Francis could be said to have a weakness, it was for tasties. Tasties accounted for his lack of funds and tasties accounted for his somewhat excessive girth. Now, if he had indeed, stumbled upon the motherlode of tasties, there was really no reason to go on. On the other hand, he could always change his mind and come back to wallow later. Yes, he could, in fact, find the Gryphon, and then reward himself with tasties. But he could also treat himself beforehand. There wasn't any real reason to deny oneself a bit of tasty...but as he was trying to unmuddle himself, the Maw broke out into a horrific fit of weeping, interrupted by an astounding array of burps. These burps were strangely ominous for he thought he heard faint voices intermingled with the burps. He tried to remember what his father had told him. As far as he could tell, the Maw clearly had no exit.

"I'll be back, Miss Maw" said Francis politely and went on, hungry but clear-headed.