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Literature and Ideas

gnu

n.

The Devil's Dictionary

Ambrose Bierce

An animal of South Africa, which in its domesticated state resembles a horse, a buffalo and a stag. In its wild condition it is something like a thunderbolt, an earthquake and a cyclone.

A hunter from Kew caught a distant view
    Of a peacefully meditative gnu,
And he said:  "I'll pursue, and my hands imbrue
    In its blood at a closer interview."
But that beast did ensue and the hunter it threw
    O'er the top of a palm that adjacent grew;
And he said as he flew:  "It is well I withdrew
    Ere, losing my temper, I wickedly slew
    That really meritorious gnu."

Jarn Leffer