Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Died This Day: Mark Twain

I’d forgotten that Mark Twain (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910) had written about dinosaurs.

Illustration from first edition of EVE'S DIARY
"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." - Eve's Diary

"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," Fables of Man

From Thanks to Judy!