The "Cours de linguistique générale" was my first introduction to linguistics. It struck me then as a peculiar mixture of obvious truisms and obscure jargons. So I put it on an inaccessible shelf, and, fifteen years later, having scattered most of my readable books across Europe and Canada, found it again. Having recently stumbled into the linguistic jungle, been bitten by Bopp and Rask, and stung by Chomsky and Postal, I can now see the "Cours" for what it really is. No, not the proverbial elephant, but an elementary trekkers' guide for lost linguists.