The Adventures of Baron Munchausen/Chapter IV
Shoots a stag with cherry stones; the wonderful effect of it.—Kills a bear by extraordinary dexterity.—Attacked by a wolf, which he turns inside out.—Is assailed by a mad dog, from which he escapes; but his cloak is seized with madness, by which his whole wardrobe is thrown into confusion.
A very singular circumstance occurred to me one day, when I was out shooting. Having spent all my shot, I found unexpectedly before me a stately stag. I charged immediately with powder, and upon it a good handful of cherry-stones, which I happened to have in my pouch. I let fly at him, and hit him just on the middle of the forehead, between his antlers; it stunned him, but he made off. A year after, being with a party in the same forest, I beheld a noble stag with a fine full grown cherry-tree above ten feet high between his antlers. I immediately recollected my adventure, looked on him as my property, and brought him to the ground by one shot, which at once gave me the haunch and cherry-sauce, for the tree was covered with the richest fruit, I ever tasted. Sportsmen must on emergencies have recourse to any expedient. Day-light and my powder were spent one day in a Polish forest. When I was going home, a terrible bear made up to me in great speed, with open mouth ready to fall upon me; I had two spare flints; one I flung with all my might into the monster's open jaws, down his throat. It gave him pain, and made him turn about, so that I could level the second at his rear, which, I did with wonderful success; for it flew in, met the first flint in his stomach, struck fire, and blew up the bear with a terrible explosion. Though I came safe off, yet I should not wish to try the experiment again, or venture against bears with no other ammunition. However, another day, a frightful wolf rushed upon me so suddenly, that I could do nothing but follow mechanical instinct, and thrust my fist into his mouth. I pushed on, till my arm was fairly in, up to the shoulder. How should I disengage myself? If I withdrew my arm, then the animal would fly the more furiously upon me; this I saw in his flaming eyes. I laid hold of his entrails, turned him inside out, like a glove, and flung him to the ground.
The same expedient would not have answered against a mad dog, which soon after came running against me in a narrow street at St. Petersburgh. Run who can, I thought; and to do this the better, I threw off my fur cloak, and was safe within doors in an instant. I sent my servant for the cloak, and he put it in the wardrobe with my other clothes. The day after I was amazed and frightened by Jack's bawling: "For God's sake, Sir, your cloak is mad!" I hastened, and found my clothes tossed about and torn to pieces. The fellow was perfectly right in his apprehensions about the fur cloak's madness. I saw him myself just then falling on a fine full-dress suit, which he shook and tossed, with all the symptoms of hydrophobia.