82. Munchausen.


Who is the author of Munchausen’s Travels, a book which every body knows, because all boys read it?

Two of his stories are to be found in a Portugueze magazine, if so it may be called, published about fourscore years ago, with this title,.. Folheto de Ambas Lisboas, The seventh number contains 156a tale of a hunter shooting a wild-boar with a peach-stone, because he had exhausted all his ball, and afterwards meeting the same boar with a peach-tree growing out of his loins. The other resemblance is less striking. A waterman talked one night from the street to a woman at a window, and as neither of them could hear distinctly what the other said, What do you say was frequently repeated by both. The reason why they could not hear was, that it froze very hard at the time, and in the morning the wall was covered with, What do-you-says, in ice.

It is not likely that the author of Munchausen should have seen these Folhetos; the low wit which they are filled with could at no time have been well understood beyond the limits of Lisbon, and has long been obsolete there; and in all probability very few sets have escaped the common fate of worthless papers, published in loose sheets, and thereby tempting the destruction which they 157deserve. But it is probable that the Portuguese and English writers both have had recourse to the same store-house of fable.


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