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SOME years before my beard an- try was covered with snow, and I was
nounced approaching manhood, or, unacquainted with the road. Tired, I
in other words, when I was neither alighted and fastened my horse to
man nor boy, I expressed in repeated something, like a pointed stump of a
conversations a strong desire of seeing tree, which appeared above the snow.
the world, from which I was discour- For the sake of safety, I placed my
aged by my parents. A cousin of my pistols under my arm, and lay down
mother's took a fancy to me, and his on the snow, where I slept so soundly
eloquence had more effect than mine, that I did not open my eyes until full
for my father consented to my accom- daylight. It is not easy to conceive
paying him. my astonishment to find myself in the
I set off on a journey to Russia, in midst of a village, lying in a church-
the midst of winter. I went on horse- yard; nor was my horse to be seen,
back, as the most convenient manner but I heard him soon after neigh some-
of traveling. I was but lightly clothed, where above me. On looking upwards
and of this I felt the inconvenience the I beheld him hanging by his bridle to
more I advanced north-east. I went the weather-cock of the steeple. Mat-
on: night and darkness overtook me. ters were now very plain to me: the
No village was to be seen. The coun- village had been covered with snow
The Baldwin Library
2 so :
8 BARON MUNCHAUSEN.
overnight; a sudden change of weather many wonderful things in my day for
had taken place; I had sunk down to that,-but I own that this hare puz-
the churchyard while asleep, gently, and zled me. Day after day I followed
in the same proportion as the snow had her, but my coursing was always
melted away; and what in the dark I vain. At length I got near enough
had taken to be a stump of a little tree to shoot her: she fell,-and what do
appearing above the snow, to which I you think I discovered, gentlemen?
had tied my horse, proved to be the She had four feet on her back, as
cross or weather-cock of the steeple. well as those on the earth. When
Without long consideration I took one the four ordinary ones were tired,
of my pistols, shot the bridle in two, she turned over with the greatest
brought down the horse, and proceeded ease, and fled on with her four fresh
on my journey to St. Petersburg. feet instead. I never saw a hare
It was some time before I could ob- like this one, and I should assuredly
tain a position in the army, as I had never have taken it without Diana's
intended, and for several months I was assistance.
perfectly at liberty to sport away my I remember one day reaching the
time and money in the most gentleman- banks of a lake, on which I perceived
like manner. The very recollection of some dozens of wild ducks swim-
the amusements I had, gives me fresh ming,-too much scattered about the
spirits, and creates a warm wish for a lake for me to hope to hit more than
repetition of them. one or two at the most by a single
First of all, I will tell you of my discharge of my gun, and my last
wonderful greyhound, and of a curious charge was now in it. I remembered
incident which occurred when I had suddenly that I had in my bag a
her. For two days I had been pur- piece of bacon fat. I fastened this
suing a hare. My dog always started piece of fat to my dog's leash, which
her, but I could never hit her. I do I divided into two parts. Then I
not believe in magic,-I have seen too squatted down amongst the reeds on
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SBA R O N M U N C H A U S E N .
the bank, threw my bait, and soon had partridges were, and fired at the very
the pleasure of seeing a duck approach moment they took flight, and in a few
and eagerly swallow it. The others seconds I found my ramrod a few rods
swam hastily after their companion, and off, ornamented with seven birds, which
the greasiness of the bacon was so great must have been greatly surprised to find
that my bait passed right through the themselves suddenly on the spit.
first duck, and was swallowed up by the But to return to my story: As I had
second. The third followed, and then, a long way to go, and the quantity and
in their turn, all the others. In a few weight of the ducks greatly inconven-
minutes my piece of bacon fat had gone ienced me, I began to regret having
through all the ducks without leaving taken so many. But now a very sin-
its string, and they were threaded on it gular circumstance caused me some un-
like a row of pearls. I advanced joy- easiness. The ducks were still alive
fully to the brink again, and drew the and strong; they had recovered from
d icks in. I passed the string five or their fright at being thus captured, and
six times around my body, and over my began to struggle to fly away. Their
shoulders, and set off on my road home. efforts lifted me from the earth. Any
I had an adventure which greatly re- one else would, I am convinced, have
selnibled this wonderful catch"of ducks been greatly embarrassed. But I util-
once with some pheasants. I had gone ized ,the circumstance to dmy profit, and,
out to try a new gun, and my bird-shot using the: tails of my coat as oars, I
was exhausted, when, ,against all expec- guided my course through the air by
station, I saw rise almost from beneath them till I reached my own dwelling.
my feet a covey of partridges. As soon Arrived above my home, I had to think
as I had marked the place where they how I could descend safely. I wrung
had settled,. I rapidly loaded my gun, the neck of each duck in succession,
and put into' it, instead of shot, my ram- thus gradually descending till I gained
rod, one end of which projected( from the top of my climney, down which I
the muzzle. I stole softly to where the' easily glided to the great amazement
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7 BARON MUNCHAUSEN.
of my cook, whom I astonished by continued rising until it reached the
knocking over his sauce-pans, and fall- moon. How was I to recover it? how
ing nearly on him in a shower of ducks! fetch it down again
Happily for me, his fire was not yet I recollected that Turkey-beans grow
lighted. very quickly, and run up to an aston-
I was not always successful, as I fishing height. I planted one immedi-
have said. During the war with Tur- ately; it grew, and actually fastened
key, I had, at last, the misfortune to be itself on one of the moon's horns. I
overpowered by numbers, and be made had no more to do now, but to climb
prisoner of war; and, what is worse, up by it into the moon, where I safely
but always usual among the Turks, to arrived, and .had a troublesome piece
be sold for a slave. In that state of of business before I could find my sil-
humiliation my daily task was not very ver hatchet, in a place where every
hard or laborious, but rather singular thing has the 'brightness of silver; in
and irksome. It was to drive the Sul- fact, I was detained there some time.
tan's bees every morning to their past- At last, however, I found it in a heap
ure-grounds, to attend them all the day of chaff and chopped straw.
long, and at night to drive them back I now thought of returning; but,
to their hives. alas! the heat of the sun had dried
One evening I missed a bee, and soon up my bean; it was totally useless for
observed that two bears had fallen upon my descent; so I fell to work and
her to tear her to pieces for the honey twisted a rope of that chopped straw
she carried. I had no weapon but the as long and as well as I could make it.
silver hatchet which is the badge of This I fastened to one of the moon's
the Sultan's gardeners and farmers. 1 horns and slid down to the end of it.
threw it at the robbers, with the inten- Here I held myself fast with my left
tion to frighten them away and set the hand, and with the hatchet in my right
poor bee at liberty; but, by an unlucky I cut the long, now useless, end of the
turn of my arm, it flew upwards, and upper part, which, when tied to the
BARON MUNCHAUSEN. 8
lower end, brought me a good deal He finished by drawing the whole length
lower. This repeated splicing and ty- gradually, by licking, on and on, into
ing of the rope did not improve its his mouth, down his throat and stom-
quality or bring me down to the Sul- ach, and thus completely through him.
tan's farm. When he was thus. spitted, I fixed in
I was four or five miles from the the hole at the end of the shaft a
earth at least when it broke. I fell huge peg, thus cutting off the retreat
to the ground with such amazing vio- of the glutton, and I left him till the
lence that I found myself stunned, and next day. The Sultan, who chanced to
in a hole nine fathoms deep at least, walk that way early, nearly died with
made by the weight of my body fall- laughter when he saw the trick I had
ing from so great a height. I recov- played on the bear.
ered, but knew not how to get out Peace was, soon after this, concluded
again; however, I dug slopes or steps between Turkey and Russia, and prison-
with my finger-nails and easily accom- ers were exchanged, and I consequently
polished it. .regained my liberty. All the earth was
On returning to the land I had left, frozen over, and as snow had fallen
I resumed my duty as bee-keeper, hav- first, and since been covered by a layer
ing explained my absence, to the in- of ice, one could only move about on
finite amusement of the Sultan; and, skates. At length, taking advantage
taught by my recent experience, I found of a slight thaw, I set out on my jour-
a better method of defending my bees ney. Never can I forget the difficulties
and their hives from the attacks of and dangers of that journey. The fam-
the bears. I rubbed the shaft of a ished wolves came out in packs, and
cart with honey,, and I placed myself late one evening, the moon being high
in ambuscade near it during the night. up in the sky, we were crossing a wide
An enormous bear, attracted by the plain bordered by a. thick forest, when
scent of the honey, arrived, and began we heard the howlings of a pack pur-
greedily licking the end of the pole. suing us.
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1i BARON MUNCHAUSEN.
Happily, the post-chaise in which I go through a. lane so narrow that two
traveled was built strongly of wood at carriages could not possibly pass each
the back and sides. There was a small other. In order to prevent accidents I
window at the back of the carriage, ordered the postillion to give a signal
through which I could watch the ad- with his horn. He blew with all his
vancing foes. The horses flew at whirl- might, but his endeavors were in vain;
wind speed, but the steady gallop of he could not make the horn sound,
the wolves gained on us nevertheless, which was unaccountable and rather
At length they came within range. I unfortunate, for, soon after, we found
fired through the window, and my shot ourselves in the presence of another
killed one immediately. A few of the coach. There was no proceeding; how-
others gathered round the body to de- ever, I got out of my carriage, and, be-
vour it at once; the others pursued us ing pretty strong, placed it, wheels and
still. I had to load and fire as fast as all, upon my head and shoulders. I
possible, and I did so much execution then jumped over a hedge about nine
that we approached a town before they nine feet high (which, considering the
had reached us. I think, on a moderate weight of the coach, was rather difficult)
calculation, a hundred wolves fell to my into a field, and came out again by an-
rifle. The inhabitants of the town re- other jump into the road beyond the
turned me public thanks for the benefit other carriage.
I had thus conferred on them, as the I then went back for the horses, and
wolves had been in the habit of eating placing one upon my head, and the
two or three of their children da-'ly for other under my left arm, by the same
some time. means brought them to my coach, put
I determined, however, henceforth to them to, and proceeded to an inn at the
keep in the high road, and not allow end of our stage. I should have told
my postillion to take any short cuts. you that the horse under my arm was
We pursued our journey the next day, very spirited, and not above four years
and towards evening found we had to old. In making my second spring over
BARON MUNCHAUSEN. 12
the hedge, he expressed great dislike to the middle, and split all our masts from
that violent kind of action by kicking top to bottom, two of which went by the
and snorting; however, I confined his board. A poor fellow, who was aloft
hind legs by putting them into my coat- furling the main-sheet, was flung at
pocket. After we arrived at the inn least three leagues from the ship; but
my postillion and I refreshed ourselves, he fortunately saved his life by laying
He hung his horn on a peg, near the hold of the tail of a large sea-gull, who
kitchen fire; I sat on the other side. brought him back to the very spot from
Suddenly we heard a Tereng! te- whence he was thrown.
reng! teng! teng !" We looked round, Whilst we were all in a state of aston-
and now found the reason why the pos- ishment at the unaccountable confusion
million had not been able to sound his in which we were involved, the whole
horn: his tunes were frozen up in the was suddenly explained by the appear-
horn, and came out now by thawing, ance of a large whale which had been
Shortly after these events I visited basking, asleep, within sixteen feet of
England, and, after, a short stay, em- the surface of the water. This animal
barked in an English man-of-war for was so much displeased with the disturb-
North America. Nothing worth relat- ance which our ship had given him-for
ing happened till we arrived within in our passage we had with our rudder
three hundred leagues of the river St. scratched his nose-that he beat in all
Lawrence, when the ship struck with the gallery and part of the quarter-deck
amazing force against (as we supposed) with his tail, and almost at the same in-
a rock; however, upon heaving the lead, stant took the main-sheet anchor (which
we could find no bottom, even with three was suspended, as it usually is, from the
hundred fathoms. What made this cir- head) between his teeth, and ran away
cumstance the more wonderful, and in- with the ship at least sixty leagues, at
deed beyond all comprehension, was that the rate of twelve leagues an hour,
the violence of the shock was such that when fortunately the cable broke, and
we lost our rudder, broke our bowsprit in we lost both the whale and the anchor.
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BARON MUNCHAUSEN. 14
However, upon our return to Europe was taking place inside the town. and
some months after, we found the same one day, as I was standing by one of
whale, a few leagues from the same' the largest field-guns, an idea suddenly
spot, floating dead upon the water. It occurred to me, which I carried out at
measured above half a mile in length. once.
With much difficulty we cut off his At the. moment the gunner fired I
head, where, to our great joy, we fouiind -sprng on, th bullet, intending to let it
the anchor and about forty fathoms of bear me inside the fortress; but when I
the cable concealed in the left side of was half way there, it occurred to me
his mouth, just under his tongue. Pers that it was a rash proceeding. How,"
haps this was the cause of his death, I thought, "shall I get back? Once in
as that side of his tongue was much the place, what will happen to me? If
swelled, with a great degree of inflam- I am taken for a spy I shall suffer dis-
mation. We reached England without gracefully; if I am made prisoner, my
any further mishaps. V entrance into the fort will be of no use to
A few ve;lrs later I traveled down the my general." As. these thoughts passed
Red Sea to Madras, and, at the head of through my mind I perceived a bullet,
a few Sepoys, pursued the flying army directed from the fortress against our
of Tippoo to the gates of Seringapatam. camp, passing a few feet from me. I
I challenged him to mortal combat, and, leaped on it at once, and returned-to
mounted on my steed, rode up to the our army, without, it is true, having
walls of the fortress amidst a storm of accomplished my project, but at least
,,hells and cannon-balls. As fast as the safe and sound.
bombs and cannon-balls came upon me Tippoo, flaring that all'would be lost,
I caught them in my hands like so many came forth upon his elephant to fight,
pebbles, and, throwing them against the .me. I saluted him, and insisted that he
fortress, demolished the strongest ram- should fire first; on which he instantly
parts of the place. It was of the high- discharged his carbine, the ball from
est importance that we should know what which, hitting my horse's ear, made him
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BARON MUNCHAUSEN. 16
plunge with rage and indignation. In mind it is impossible to prevail on him
return I discharged my pistol at Tippoo, to change it, as you all well know. He
and shot off his turban. He rose, in a persisted in his resolution, and made the
fit of despair, and rushed against my leap. Half way over he perceived that
steed and myself. I could not withstand it was wider than he anticipated. He
the rage and impulse of that moment, turned his horse suddenly in the air,
and, with one blow of my sword, sepa- and alighted on the bank from whence
rated his head from his body. I re- he had leaped!
turned overland from India to Europe "Whilst I gazed in amazement, he
with admirable velocity, so that the ac- rode a little further back, to give him-
count of Tippoo's defeat by me did not self more room for the leap, tried it
arrive by the ordinary passage, and the again, and fell into the pond up to his
glory has been unjustly ascribed to an- neck! I thought he and his steed were
other. lost, for the pool was evidently very
Hilario Frosticos, my true friend and deep, when, to my astonishment, he tock
faithful partisan, did his best;',i increase hold of his queue of hair and actually
my popularity with the people. He re- lifted himself out of the pool, with his
lated many of my adventures to them, horse under him, drawing the creature
with which they were greatly delighted. up with him by the mere pressure of his
One day, after they had given utterance knees!" This anecdote made a great
to a perfect burst of applause, IHilario impression on his hearers.
exclaimed: "The Baron once, when he I have neglected to tell you about one
was in England, performed some extraor- of my servants who was an extraordina-
dinary feats of strength, which I shall rily strong man, so will tell you how I
now relate to you. He wished, one day, happened to find him. During my mis-
to leap on his wonderful horse over a sion to Egypt we were on a flat plain
:very wide and deep pond. I represented near Cairo, when a furious wlirlwind
to him that it was not possible to make arose, which threatened to upset our
this leap; but when le lias made up his horses and .ourselves. To the left of
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BARON MUNCHAUSEN. 18
the road there was a row of seven wind- fast, I had stopped one nostril." "Upon
mills, the sails of which turned round my word," said I to myself, "this is a
more swiftly than the swiftest wheel of useful man. He would be of great use
a good spinner. At no great distance to me when I return home, and my
stood a person as fat as Sir John Fal- breath fails in relating the wonderful
staff, who held his forefinger pressed adventures I meet in my travels." We
against his right nostril. As soon as soon made a bargain. The blower quit-
he perceived our distress-for our hats ted his mills, and remained with me ever
were blown off and our horses stagger- afterwards.
ing, two riders having been swept off Having been away from home so many
them-he turned towards us, took off years, I began to tire of adventure, and
his hat, and bowed respectfully. to long for my old home. I soon after,
The wind instantly fell as if by en- therefore, paid a visit to my friends, and
clantment, and the mills stood still. related these adventures. Amazement
Astonished at this circumstanr-c, I cried stood in every countenance; their con-
to the man,-"Hi! my fiunry fellow! gratulations on my returning in safety
Are you Old Nick?" "Pardon the in- were repeated with an unaffected degree
convenience I have put your honor to," of pleasure, and we passed the evening
he said. "I was blowing a little for my pleasantly, every person present paying
master the miller, and really, for fear of the highest compliments to my COURAGE
making the arms of the mill revolve too and VERACITY.
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