The Devil's Dictionary

by Ambrose Bierce



An animal of South Africa, which in its domesticated state resembles a horse, a buffalo and a stag. In its wild condition it is something like a thunderbolt, an earthquake and a cyclone.

 A hunter from Kew caught a distant view
Of a peacefully meditative gnu,
And he said: "I'll pursue, and my hands imbrue
In its blood at a closer interview."
But that beast did ensue and the hunter it threw
O'er the top of a palm that adjacent grew;
And he said as he flew: "It is well I withdrew
Ere, losing my temper, I wickedly slew
That really meritorious gnu."

- Jarn Leffer