Rabelais one day was at a country inn, and finding he had no money to pay his score, got himself arrested as a traitor who was forming a project to poison the princes. He was immediately sent to Paris and brought before the magistrates, but, as no tittle of evidence was found against him, was liberated forthwith. By this artifice he not only got out of his difficulty at the inn, but he also got back to Paris free of expense. Fathered on Tarleton also.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894