Tag Archives: Ambrose Bierce

Snap Dogs


GEOLOGY, n. The science of the earth’s crust — to which, doubtless, will be added that of its interior whenever a man shall come up garrulous out of a well. The geological formations of the globe already noted are catalogued thus: The Primary, or lower one, consists of rocks, bones or mired mules, gas-pipes, miners’ tools, antique statues minus the nose, Spanish doubloons and ancestors. The Secondary is largely made up of red worms and moles. The Tertiary comprises railway tracks, patent pavements, grass, snakes, mouldy boots, beer bottles, tomato cans, intoxicated citizens, garbage, anarchists, snap-dogs and fools.

SATAN, n. One of the Creator’s lamentable mistakes, repented in sashcloth and axes. Being instated as an archangel, Satan made himself multifariously objectionable and was finally expelled from Heaven. Half-way in his descent he paused, bent his head in thought a moment and at last went back. “There is one favor that I should like to ask,” said he.

“Name it.”

“Man, I understand, is about to be created. He will need laws.”

“What, wretch! you his appointed adversary, charged from the dawn of eternity with hatred of his soul — you ask for the right to make his laws?”

“Pardon; what I have to ask is that he be permitted to make them himself.”

It was so ordered.

via The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce

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*Fool, n. A person who pervades the domain of intellectual speculation and diffuses himself through the channels of moral activity. He is omnific, omniform, omnipercipient, omniscient, omnipotent. He it was who invented letters, printing, the railroad, the steamboat, the telegraph, the platitude, and the circle of the sciences. He created patriotism and taught nations war–founded theology, philosophy, law, medicine, and Chicago. He established monarchical and republican government. He is from everlasting to everlasting–such as creation’s dawn beheld he fooleth now. In the morning of time he sang upon primitive hills, and in the noonday of existance headed the procession of being. His grandmotherly hand has warmly tucked-in the set sun of civilization, and in the twilight he prepares Man’s evening meal of milk-and-morality and turns down the covers of the universal grave. And after the rest of us shall have retired for the night of eternal oblivion he will sit up to write a history of human civilization. – Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary


One day Coyote noticed it was very quiet. “I wonder where all the animals have gone,” he thought. “I think I’ll go look for them.” He searched for his friends every-where, in the mountains, theforest, and near the rivers, but no one was around. Tired andready to give up, Coyote sat down to rest.

“Lima, lima, lima,”shrieked a voice from below him.It was Meadowlark. Because Coyote hadn’t been paying attention, he had sat down upon the poor bird and broken her leg. She was very angry, but Coyote made her a deal to calm her down.

“I will make you a new strong leg out of wood if you tell me where everyone went.”

The Meadowlark agreed.“Everybody has been swallowed up by a ferocious monster,” she said and then she gave Coyote directions to where the beast was last seen. After fixing the bird’s leg, Coyote packed his fire-making supplies and some knives and setout to find the monster. When he arrived where Meadowlark had directed him, he couldn’t believe his eyes. Before him was a gigantic monster lying on his belly. The creature was so big that his back reached as high as the nearby mountains. Coyote approached the great beast fearlessly, hoping it would open its giant mouth and swallow him up. But the monster just lay there and looked at him suspiciously. Coyote had a reputation as a troublemaker and the monster didn’t want to be tricked.

Coyote tried a different plan. He walked up to the fearsome creature with a sad look on his face.

“Help me,” he asked the beast. “I am lonely. You have swallowed all the animals and now I have no one to talk with. Please eat me too, so I can be with my friends.”

Coyote was so sincere that he convinced themonster that he was telling the truth. The beast opened up his mouth and sucked Coyote down his cavernous throat.

Once inside, Coyote set immediately to work. He called for all the animals who were trapped inside to help him start afire and then he began to cut away at the monster’s heart. When thebeast saw the smoke coming from his belly and felt the great pain in his chest, he knew that Coyote had tricked him, but by then, it was too late. Coyote finished slicing out the monster’s heart and all of the animals were free. In celebration of the escape, Coyote carved up the body of the great monster. Whenever he sliced off a piece, he would throw it far away in a different direction. Wherever these pieces landed, they turned into the human tribes that inhabit the Earth today.

When Coyote was satisfied that he was finished, he turned to the other animals to show them what he had done. Everyone was very thankful of Coyote’s rescue, but Fox noticed a problem.

“Friend Coyote,” he said. “You have done a good job making humans, but you have created all these people far away from here. You forgot to make a tribe where we are standing.”

Fox was right. Coyote thought hard and then came up with an idea. He washed the monster’s blood from his hands and let the drops sprinkle on the ground. This blood turned into the Nez Perce tribe.

from idahohistory.net

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