The Worlds Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906. Vol. XIV: RussianScandinavianMiscellaneous
By Ivan Khemnitser (17451784)
From the Fables
A CERTAIN rich man, who had heard it was an advantage to have been at school abroad, sent his son to study in foreign parts. The son, who was an utter fool, came back more stupid than ever, having been taught all sorts of elaborate explanations of the simplest things by a lot of academical windbags. He expressed himself only in scientific terms, so that no one understood him, and every one became very tired of him.
One day, while walking along a road, and gazing at the sky in speculating upon some problem of the universe to which the answer had never been found (because there was none), the young man stepped over the edge of a deep ditch. His father, who chanced to be near by, ran to get a rope. The son, however, sitting at the bottom of the ditch, began to meditate on the cause of his fall. He concluded that an earthquake had superinduced a momentary displacement of his corporeal axis, thus destroying his equilibrium, and, in obedience to the law of gravity as established by Newton, precipitating him downward until he encountered an immovable obstaclenamely, the bottom of the ditch.
Now, would it not be a good thing if all eloquent windbags were gathered together and thrown into the ditch, to keep him company? Yes, surely. Only it would take a much larger ditch than that to hold them.