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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906.

Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729–1781)

The Decorated Bow

From “Fables”

A MAN had an excellent bow of ebony, with which he shot very far and very sure, and which he valued at a great price. But once, after considering it attentively, he said:

“A little too rude still! Your only ornament is your polish. It is a pity! However, that can be remedied,” thought he. “I will go and let a first-rate artist carve something on the bow.”

He went, and the artist carved an entire hunting-scene upon the bow. And what more fitting for a bow than a hunting-scene?

The man was delighted. “You deserve this embellishment, my beloved bow.” So saying, he wished to try it.

He drew the string. The bow broke!