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roleplaying:munchausen:chapter_xi [2005/11/22 17:57] (current)
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 +====== TRAVELS OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN ======
 +===== CHAPTER XI =====
  
 +//An interesting account of the Baron'​s ancestors--A quarrel
 +relative to the spot where Noah built his ark--The history of the
 +sling, and its properties--A favourite poet introduced upon no
 +very reputable occasion--queen Elizabeth'​s abstinence--The Baron'​s
 +father crosses from England to Holland upon a marine horse, which
 +he sells for seven hundred ducats.//
 +
 +You wish (I can see by your countenances) I would inform you how I
 +became possessed of such a treasure as the sling just mentioned. (Here
 +facts must be held sacred.) Thus then it was: I am a descendant of the
 +wife of Uriah, whom we all know David was intimate with; she had
 +several children by his majesty; they quarrelled once upon a matter of
 +the first consequence,​ viz., the spot where Noah's ark was built, and
 +where it rested after the flood. A separation consequently ensued. She
 +had often heard him speak of this sling as his most valuable treasure:
 +this she stole the night they parted; it was missed before she got out
 +of his dominions, and she was pursued by no less than six of the
 +king's body-guards:​ however, by using it herself she hit the first of
 +them (for one was more active in the pursuit than the rest) where
 +David did Goliath, and killed him on the spot. His companions were so
 +alarmed at his fall that they retired, and left Uriah'​s wife to pursue
 +her journey. She took with her, I should have informed you before, her
 +favourite son by this connection, to whom she bequeathed the sling;
 +and thus it has, without interruption,​ descended from father to son
 +till it came into my possession. One of its possessors, my great-
 +great-great-grandfather,​ who lived about two hundred and fifty years
 +ago, was upon a visit to England, and became intimate with a poet who
 +was a great deer-stealer;​ I think his name was Shakespeare:​ he
 +frequently borrowed this sling, and with it killed so much of Sir
 +Thomas Lucy's venison, that he narrowly escaped the fate of my two
 +friends at Gibraltar. Poor Shakespeare was imprisoned, and my ancestor
 +obtained his freedom in a very singular manner. Queen Elizabeth was
 +then on the throne, but grown so indolent, that every trifling matter
 +was a trouble to her; dressing, undressing, eating, drinking, and some
 +other offices which shall be nameless, made life a burden to her; all
 +these things he enabled her to do without, or by a deputy! and what do
 +you think was the only return she could prevail upon him to accept for
 +such eminent services? setting Shakespeare at liberty! Such was his
 +affection for that famous writer, that he would have shortened his own
 +days to add to the number of his friend'​s.
 +
 +I do not hear that any of the queen'​s subjects, particularly the
 +//​beef-eaters//,​ as they are vulgarly called to this day, however they
 +might be struck with the novelty at the time, much approved of her
 +living totally without food. She did not survive the practice herself
 +above seven years and a half.
 +
 +My father, who was the immediate possessor of this sling before me,
 +told me the following anecdote:--
 +
 +He was walking by the sea-shore at Harwich, with this sling in his
 +pocket; before his paces had covered a mile he was attacked by a
 +fierce animal called a seahorse, open-mouthed,​ who ran at him with
 +great fury; he hesitated a moment, then took out his sling, retreated
 +back about a hundred yards, stooped for a couple of pebbles, of which
 +there were plenty under his feet, and slung them both so dexterously
 +at the animal, that each stone put out an eye, and lodged in the
 +cavities which their removal had occasioned. He now got upon his back,
 +and drove him into the sea; for the moment he lost his sight he lost
 +also ferocity, and became as tame as possible: the sling was placed as
 +a bridle in his mouth; he was guided with the greatest facility across
 +the ocean, and in less than three hours they both arrived on the
 +opposite shore, which is about thirty leagues. The master of the
 +//Three Cups//, at Helvoetsluys,​ in Holland, purchased this marine
 +horse, to make an exhibition of, for seven hundred ducats, which was
 +upwards of three hundred pounds, and the next day my father paid his
 +passage back in the packet to Harwich. =====
 +
 +//--My father made several curious observations in this passage, which
 +I will relate hereafter.//​
 +
 +----
 +Go to [[CHAPTER XII]]
roleplaying/munchausen/chapter_xi.txt · Last modified: 2005/11/22 17:57 (external edit)