Reference > Quotations > John Bartlett, comp. > Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. > 3137. Jonathan Swift
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John Bartlett (1820–1905).  Familiar Quotations, 10th ed.  1919.
 
 
NUMBER:3137
AUTHOR:Jonathan Swift (1667–1745)
QUOTATION:Seamen have a custom, when they meet a whale, to fling him out an empty tub by way of amusement, to divert him from laying violent hands upon the ship. 1
ATTRIBUTION:Tale of a Tub. Preface.
 
Note 1.
In Sebastian Munster’s “Cosmography” there is a cut of a ship to which a whale was coming too close for her safety, and of the sailors throwing a tub to the whale, evidently to play with. This practice is also mentioned in an old prose translation of the “Ship of Fools.”—Sir James Mackintosh: Appendix to the Life of Sir Thomas More. [back]
 

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