When the mighty brontosaurus came striding into camp, she regarded
it as an acquisition, I considered it a calamity; that is a good sample
of the lack of harmony that prevails in our views of things. She wanted
to domesticate it, I wanted to make it a present of the homestead and
move out. She believed it could be tamed by kind treatment and would
be a good pet; I said a pet twenty-one feet high and eighty-four feet
long would be no proper thing to have about the place, because, even
with the best intentions and without meaning any harm, it could sit
down on the house and mash it, for any one could see by the look of
its eye that it was absent-minded.
As for the dinosaur--But Noah's conscience was easy; it was not named
in his cargo list and he and the boys were not aware that there was
such a creature. He said he could not blame himself for not knowing
about the dinosaur, because it was an American animal, and America had
not then been discovered.
The less said about the pterodactyl the better. It was a spectacle, that beast! a mixture of buzzard and alligator, a sarcasm, an affront to all animated nature, a butt for the ribald jests of an unfeeling world. After some ages Nature perceived that to put feathers on a reptile does not ennoble it, does not make it a bird, but only a sham, a joke, a grotesque curiosity, a monster; also that there was no useful thing for the pterodactyl to do, and nothing likely to turn up in the future that could furnish it employment. And so she abolished it.
- "Flies and Russians," reprinted in Fables of Man
AI image created by Barbara Schmidt
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