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Rudolf Erich Raspe
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 156 pages of information about The Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchausen.
I soon came within shot, when, levelling my piece, I observed to my sorrow, that even the flint had sprung from the cock by the violence of the shock I had just received.  There was no time to be lost.  I presently remembered the effect it had on my eyes, therefore opened the pan, levelled my piece against the wild fowls, and my fist against one of my eyes. [The Baron’s eyes have retained fire ever since, and appear particularly illuminated when he relates this anecdote.] A hearty blow drew sparks again; the shot went off, and I killed fifty brace of ducks, twenty widgeons, and three couple of teals.  Presence of mind is the soul of manly exercises.  If soldiers and sailors owe to it many of their lucky escapes, hunters and sportsmen are not less beholden to it for many of their successes.  In a noble forest in Russia I met a fine black fox, whose valuable skin it would have been a pity to tear by ball or shot.  Reynard stood close to a tree.  In a twinkling I took out my ball, and placed a good spike-nail in its room, fired, and hit him so cleverly that I nailed his brush fast to the tree.  I now went up to him, took out my hanger, gave him a cross-cut over the face, laid hold of my whip, and fairly flogged him out of his fine skin.

Chance and good luck often correct our mistakes; of this I had a singular instance soon after, when, in the depth of a forest, I saw a wild pig and sow running close behind each other.  My ball had missed them, yet the foremost pig only ran away, and the sow stood motionless, as fixed to the ground.  On examining into the matter, I found the latter one to be an old sow, blind with age, which had taken hold of her pig’s tail, in order to be led along by filial duty.  My ball, having passed between the two, had cut his leading-string, which the old sow continued to hold in her mouth; and as her former guide did not draw her on any longer, she had stopped of course; I therefore laid hold of the remaining end of the pig’s tail, and led the old beast home without any further trouble on my part, and without any reluctance or apprehension on the part of the helpless old animal.

Terrible as these wild sows are, yet more fierce and dangerous are the boars, one of which I had once the misfortune to meet in a forest, unprepared for attack or defence.  I retired behind an oak-tree just when the furious animal levelled a side-blow at me, with such force, that his tusks pierced through the tree, by which means he could neither repeat the blow nor retire.  Ho, ho! thought I, I shall soon have you now! and immediately I laid hold of a stone, wherewith I hammered and bent his tusks in such a manner, that he could not retreat by any means, and must wait my return from the next village, whither I went for ropes and a cart, to secure him properly, and to carry him off safe and alive, in which I perfectly succeeded.

CHAPTER IV

Reflections on Saint Hubert’s stag—­Shoots a stag with cherry-stones; the wonderful effects of it—­Kills a bear by extraordinary dexterity; his danger pathetically described—­Attacked by a wolf, which he turns inside out—­Is assailed by a mad dog, from which he escapes—­The Baron’s cloak seized with madness, by which his whole wardrobe is thrown into confusion.

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