Fantastic Fables

by Ambrose Bierce

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The Mirror

A SILKEN-EARED Spaniel, who traced his descent from King Charles the Second of England, chanced to look into a mirror which was leaning against the wainscoting of a room on the ground floor of his mistress's house. Seeing his reflection, he supposed it to be another dog, outside, and said:

"I can chew up any such milksoppy pup as that, and I will."

So he ran out-of-doors and around to the side of the house where he fancied the enemy was. It so happened that at that moment a Bulldog sat there sunning his teeth. The Spaniel stopped short in dire consternation, and, after regarding the Bulldog a moment from a safe distance, said:

"I don't know whether you cultivate the arts of peace or your flag is flung to the battle and the breeze and your voice is for war. If you are a civilian, the windows of this house flatter you worse than a newspaper, but if you're a soldier, they do you a grave injustice."

This speech being unintelligible to the Bulldog he only civilly smiled, which so terrified the Spaniel that he dropped dead in his tracks.

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It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.