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Oliver Herford – The Platypus

February 7, 2015

My child, the Duck-billed Platypus
A sad example sets for us:
From him we learn how Indecision
Of character provokes Derision.
This vacillating Thing, you see,
Could not decide which he would be,
Fish, Flesh or Fowl, and chose all three.
The scientists were sorely vexed
To classify him; so perplexed
Their brains, that they, with Rage at bay,
Called him a horrid name one day,–
A name that baffles, frights and shocks us,
Ornithorhynchus Paradoxus.

([1899], published in A Nonsense Anthology [1915])

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