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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 156 pages of information about Cobwebs from an Empty Skull.

A gander being annoyed by the assiduous attendance of his ugly reflection in the water, determined that he would prosecute future voyages in a less susceptible element.  So he essayed a sail upon the placid bosom of a clay-bank.  This kind of navigation did not meet his expectations, however, and he returned with dogged despair to his pond, resolved to make a final cruise and go out of commission.  He was delighted to find that the clay adhering to his hull so defiled the water that it gave back no image of him.  After that, whenever he left port, he was careful to be well clayed along the water-line.

The lesson of this is that if all geese are alike, we can banish unpleasant reflections by befouling ourselves.  This is worth knowing.

LXXXII.

The belly and the members of the human body were in a riot. (This is not the riot recorded by an inferior writer, but a more notable and authentic one.) After exhausting the well-known arguments, they had recourse to the appropriate threat, when the man to whom they belonged thought it time for him to be heard, in his capacity as a unit.

“Deuce take you!” he roared.  “Things have come to a pretty pass if a fellow cannot walk out of a fine morning without alarming the town by a disgraceful squabble between his component parts!  I am reasonably impartial, I hope, but man’s devotion is due to his deity:  I espouse the cause of my belly.”

Hearing this, the members were thrown into so extraordinary confusion that the man was arrested for a windmill.

As a rule, don’t “take sides.”  Sides of bacon, however, may be temperately acquired.

LXXXIII.

A man dropping from a balloon struck against a soaring eagle.

“I beg your pardon,” said he, continuing his descent; “I never could keep off eagles when in my descending node.”

“It is agreeable to meet so pleasing a gentleman, even without previous appointment,” said the bird, looking admiringly down upon the lessening aeronaut; “he is the very pink of politeness.  How extremely nice his liver must be.  I will follow him down and arrange his simple obsequies.”

This fable is narrated for its intrinsic worth.

LXXXIV.

To escape from a peasant who had come suddenly upon him, an opossum adopted his favourite expedient of counterfeiting death.

“I suppose,” said the peasant, “that ninety-nine men in a hundred would go away and leave this poor creature’s body to the beasts of prey.” [It is notorious that man is the only living thing that will eat the animal.] “But I will give him good burial.”

So he dug a hole, and was about tumbling him into it, when a solemn voice appeared to emanate from the corpse:  “Let the dead bury their dead!”

“Whatever spirit hath wrought this miracle,” cried the peasant, dropping upon his knees, “let him but add the trifling explanation of how the dead can perform this or any similar rite, and I am obedience itself.  Otherwise, in goes Mr.  ’Possum by these hands.”

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