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The Devil's Dictionary:    

Definition of Scimetar

  SCIMETAR   noun
A curved sword of exceeding keenness, in the conduct of which certain Orientals attain a surprising proficiency, as the incident here related will serve to show.  The account is translated from the Japanese by Shusi Itama, a famous writer of the thirteenth century.
      When the great Gichi-Kuktai was Mikado he condemned to   decapitation Jijiji Ri, a high officer of the Court.  Soon after   the hour appointed for performance of the rite what was his   Majesty's surprise to see calmly approaching the throne the man   who should have been at that time ten minutes dead!
      'Seventeen hundred impossible dragons!' shouted the enraged   monarch.  'Did I not sentence you to stand in the market-place and   have your head struck off by the public executioner at three   o'clock?  And is it not now 3:10?'
      'Son of a thousand illustrious deities,' answered the   condemned minister, 'all that you say is so true that the truth is   a lie in comparison.  But your heavenly Majesty's sunny and   vitalizing wishes have been pestilently disregarded.  With joy I   ran and placed my unworthy body in the market-place.  The   executioner appeared with his bare scimetar, ostentatiously   whirled it in air, and then, tapping me lightly upon the neck,   strode away, pelted by the populace, with whom I was ever a   favorite.  I am come to pray for justice upon his own dishonorable   and treasonous head.'
      'To what regiment of executioners does the black-boweled   caitiff belong?' asked the Mikado.
      'To the gallant Ninety-eight Hundred and Thirty-seventh -- I   know the man.  His name is Sakko-Samshi.'
      'Let him be brought before me,' said the Mikado to an   attendant, and a half-hour later the culprit stood in the   Presence.
      'Thou bastard son of a three-legged hunchback without thumbs!'   roared the sovereign -- 'why didst thou but lightly tap the neck   that it should have been thy pleasure to sever?'
      'Lord of Cranes of Cherry Blooms,' replied the executioner,   unmoved, 'command him to blow his nose with his fingers.'
      Being commanded, Jijiji Ri laid hold of his nose and trumpeted   like an elephant, all expecting to see the severed head flung   violently from him.  Nothing occurred:  the performance prospered   peacefully to the close, without incident.
      All eyes were now turned on the executioner, who had grown as   white as the snows on the summit of Fujiama.  His legs trembled   and his breath came in gasps of terror.
      'Several kinds of spike-tailed brass lions!' he cried; 'I am a   ruined and disgraced swordsman!  I struck the villain feebly   because in flourishing the scimetar I had accidentally passed it   through my own neck!  Father of the Moon, I resign my office.'
      So saying, he gasped his top-knot, lifted off his head, and   advancing to the throne laid it humbly at the Mikado's feet.

Devil's Dictionarydefinition from:
The Devil's Dictionary
by Ambrose Bierce, 1911


Last updated: 9/3/2011 12:48:30