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Next morning Stubb accosted Flask.

“Such a queer dream, King-Post, I never had. You know
the old man's ivory leg, well I dreamed he kicked me with it;
and when I tried to kick back, upon my soul, my little man, I
kicked my leg right off! And then, presto! Ahab seemed a
pyramid, and I, like a blazing fool, kept kicking at it. But what
was still more curious, Flask—you know how curious all dreams
are—through all this rage that I was in, I somehow seemed to
be thinking to myself, that after all, it was not much of an insult,
that kick from Ahab. `Why,' thinks I, `what's the row?
It's not a real leg, only a false leg.' And there's a mighty difference
between a living thump and a dead thump. That's
what makes a blow from the hand, Flask, fifty times more savage
to bear than a blow from a cane. The living member—that
makes the living insult, my little man. And thinks I to myself
all the while, mind, while I was stubbing my silly toes against
that cursed pyramid—so confoundedly contradictory was it all,
all the while, I say, I was thinking to myself, `what's his leg
now, but a cane—a whalebone cane. Yes,' thinks I, `it was
only a playful cudgelling—in fact, only a whaleboning that he
gave me—not a base kick. Besides,' thinks I, `look at it once;
why, the end of it—the foot part—what a small sort of end it


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is; whereas, if a broad footed farmer kicked me, there's a devilish
broad insult. But this insult is whittled down to a point
only.' but now comes the greatest joke of the dream, Flask.
While I was battering away at the pyramid, a sort of badger-haired
old merman, with a hump on his back, takes me by the
shoulders, and slews me round. `What are you 'bout?' says
he. Slid! man, but I was frightened. Such a phiz! But,
somehow, next moment I was over the fright. `What am I
about?' says I at last. `And what business is that of yours, I
should like to know, Mr. Humpback? Do you want a kick?'
By the lord, Flask, I had no sooner said that, than he turned
round his stern to me, bent over, and dragging up a lot of sea-weed
he had for a clout—what do you think, I saw?—why
thunder alive, man, his stern was stuck full of marlinspikes, with
the points out. Says I, on second thoughts, `I guess I won't
kick you, old fellow.' `Wise Stubb,' said he, `wise Stubb;' and
kept muttering it all the time, a sort of eating of his own gums
like a chimney hag. Seeing he wasn't going to stop saying
over his `wise Stubb, wise Stubb,' I thought I might as well fall
to kicking the pyramid again. But I had only just lifted my
foot for it, when he roared out, `Stop that kicking!' `Halloa,
says I, `what's the matter now, old fellow?' `Look ye here,'
says he; `let's argue the insult. Captain Ahab kicked ye,
didn't he?' `Yes, he did,' says I—`right here it was.' `Very
good,' says he—`he used his ivory leg, didn't he?' `Yes, he
did,' says I. `Well then,' says he, `wise Stubb, what have you
to complain of? Didn't he kick with right good will? it wasn't
a common pitch pine leg he kicked with, was it? No, you were
kicked by a great man, and with a beautiful ivory leg, Stubb.
It's an honor; I consider it an honor. Listen, wise Stubb. In
old England the greatest lords think it great glory to be slapped
by a queen, and made garter-knights of; but be your boast,
Stubb, that ye were kicked by old Ahab, and made a wise man
of. Remember what I say; be kicked by him; account his


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kicks honors; and on no account kick back; for you can't help
yourself, wise Stubb. Don't you see that pyramid?' With
that, he all of a sudden seemed somehow, in some queer fashion,
to swim off into the air. I snored; rolled over; and there I
was in my hammock! Now, what do you think of that dream,

“I don't know; it seems a sort of foolish to me, tho'.”

“May be; may be. But it's made a wise man of me, Flask.
D'ye see Ahab standing there, sideways looking over the stern?
Well, the best thing you can do, Flask, is to let that old man
alone; never speak to him, whatever he says. Halloa! what's
that he shouts? Hark!”

“Mast-head, there! Look sharp, all of ye! There are
whales hereabouts! h'ye see a white one, split your lungs for

“What d'ye think of that now, Flask? ain't there a small
drop of something queer about that, eh? A white whale—did
ye mark that, man? Look ye—there's something special in the
wind. Stand by for it, Flask. Ahab has that that's bloody on
his mind. But, mum; he comes this way.”