On Truth, Again, and Magpies, Once More

I have responded to Lars Groot and, whilst I think it impolite to copy out a letter before it has received its intended correspondent, I am happy to inform you as to its general import.

I started by thanking him for his insightful missive, and confessed my amazement that there existed in this marvellous world a lexicographer with extensive experience of throwing books at birds. Such experience was, I hinted, invaluable, and was very gratefully recieved.

However, I continued, I did feel that his insistence on the impossibility of Speyer’s actions was put across a little too forcefully. Whilst it may be true that magpies have, over the course of history, been infrequently killed by flying lexicons, I do not see this as a reason to doubt my dear friend’s words. As Groot himself noted, perplexing things have a habit of happening; things which cannot be explained by experience, science, or commonsense. A bird being hit by a large book strikes me as but one of a series of bizarre occurences that have blighted humankind over the centuries. Who are we to say it couldn’t have happened, when it so clearly did?

In the final section of my letter I entered into shadier territory (indeed I am not wholly convinced that I should have gone down this particular path, but such is the way of long letters!) What I said was this: confident as I was in the truth of my tale, I nonetheless felt that truth, in this case, was not the most important thing. The title of my memoir, I reminded Groot, was Conversations with Speyer, not Absolutely Verifiable Anecdotes Relating to the Life of Johannes Speyer of Dreiseen. No, the point of my writing was to put down onto paper, to the best of my ability, things which Speyer had told me. Whether or not these things made sense to the mind of a modern lexicographer was neither here nor there. These were things which Speyer said, that was all. Take them as you will.

I closed my letter, not too soon, by thanking the man once again for his response, and wishing him well in his work. Though curious, I resisted the temptation to ask him why it was he had, over the course of his career, thrown so many books at birds. Some things, I thought, are better left unexplained.


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