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The Devil's Dictionary

by Ambrose Bierce
UN-AMERICAN
UNDERSTANDING

UNCTION

-n.

An oiling, or greasing. The rite of extreme unction consists in touching with oil consecrated by a bishop several parts of the body of one engaged in dying. Marbury relates that after the rite had been administered to a certain wicked English nobleman it was discovered that the oil had not been properly consecrated and no other could be obtained. When informed of this the sick man said in anger:

"Then I'll be damned if I die!"

"My son," said the priest, "this is what we fear."