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Directory of Mark Twain's maxims, quotations, and various opinions:

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LAUGHING JACKASS

In the Zoological Gardens of Adelaide I saw the only laughing jackass that ever showed any disposition to be courteous to me. This one opened his head wide and laughed like a demon; or like a maniac who was consumed with humorous scorn over a cheap and degraded pun. It was a very human laugh. If he had been out of sight I could have believed that the laughter came from a man. It is an odd-looking bird, with a head and beak that are much too large for its body. In time man will exterminate the rest of the wild creatures of Australia, but this one will probably survive, for man is his friend and lets him alone. Man always has a good reason for his charities toward wild things, human or animal - when he has any. In this case the bird is spared because he kills snakes. If L.J. will take my advice he will not kill all of them.
- Following the Equator

laughing jackass
Illustration from MELBOURNE PUNCH, October 1895

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