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t 10
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ahab 6
pyramid 5
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over 5
well 4
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ivory 3
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queer 3
dream 3
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next 2
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never 2
thinking 2
said 2
foot 2
end 2
greatest 2
mind 2
little 2
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Chapter 31: Queen Mab.


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 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 seaweed 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
honour; I consider it an honour. 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 kicks honours; 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, Flask?"

"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 the 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!

"If ye see a white one, split your lungs for him!

"What do you 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."