a matter of proportion, that's what it is; and when you come to gauge a thing's
speed by its size, where's your bird and your man and your railroad, alongside
of a flea? The fastest man can't run more than about ten miles in an hour -
not much over ten thousand times his own length. But all the books says any
common ordinary third-class flea can jump a hundred and fifty times his own
length; yes, and he can make five jumps a second too, - seven hundred and fifty
times his own length, in one little second - for he don't fool away any time
stopping and starting - he does them both at the same time; you'll see, if you
try to put your finger on him. Now that's a common, ordinary, third-class flea's
gait; but you take an Eyetalian first-class, that's been the pet of the nobility
all his life, and hasn't ever knowed what want or sickness or exposure was,
and he can jump more than three hundred times his own length, and keep it up
all day, five such jumps every second, which is fifteen hundred times his own
length. Well, suppose a man could go fifteen hundred times his own length in
a second - say, a mile and a half. It's ninety miles a minute; it's considerable
more than five thousand miles an hour. Where's your man now? - yes, and your
bird, and your railroad, and your balloon? Laws, they don't amount to shucks
'longside of a flea. A flea is just a comet b'iled down small.
- Tom Sawyer Abroad
got ever so much more sense, and brains, and brightness, in proportion to their
size, than any other cretur in the world. A person can learn them 'most anything;
and they learn it quicker than any other cretur, too. They've been learnt to
haul little carriages in harness, and go this way and that way and t'other way
according to their orders; yes, and to march and drill like soldiers, doing
it as exact, according to orders, as soldiers does it. They've been learnt to
do all sorts of hard and troublesome things. S'pose you could cultivate a flea
up to the size of a man, and keep his natural smartness a-growing and a-growing
right along up, bigger and bigger, and keener and keener, in the same proportion
- where'd the human race be, do you reckon? That flea would be President of
the United States, and you couldn't any more prevent it than you can prevent
- Tom Sawyer Abroad
|Consider the flea! Incomparably the bravest
of all the creatures of God, if ignorance of fear were courage.
- Pudd'nhead Wilson
Nelson would have been afraid of ten thousand fleas, but a flea wouldn't be afraid of ten thousand Nelsons.
- More Maxims of Mark, Johnson, 1927
Fleas can be taught nearly anything that a congressman can.
- What is Man? and Other Essays, 1917 ed.
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