Such a queer dream, King-Post, I never had. You know the old mans 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, Flaskyou know how curious all dreams arethrough 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 memberthat 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 pyramidso confoundedly contradictory was it all, all the while, I say, I was thinking to myself, what s his leg now, but a canea whalebone cane. Yes, thinks I, it was only a playful cudgellingin fact, only a whaleboning that he gave menot a base kick. Besides, thinks I, look at it once; why, the end of itthe foot partwhat 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 cloutwhat do you think, I saw?why, thunder alive, man, his stern was stuck full of marlin-spikes, with the points out. Says I, on second thoughts, I guess I wont 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 wasnt 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, didnt he? Yes, he did, says Iright here it was. Very good, says hehe used his ivory leg, didnt he? Yes, he did, says I. Well then, says he, wise Stubb, what have you to complain of? Didnt he kick with right goodwill? it wasnt 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 cant help yourself, wise Stubb. Dont 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?
Maybe; maybe. 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 that old man alone; never speak to him, whatever he says. Halloa! What s that he shouts? Hark!
What do you think of that now, Flask? aint there a small drop of something queer about that, eh? A white whaledid ye mark that, man? Look yethere 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.