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  • Writer's pictureDenise Tolan

The Daily Dick: Day 89: Musings From a Sixth Reading of the Great Book

Chapter 86 The Tail

“Real strength never impairs beauty or harmony, but it often bestows it; and in everything imposingly beautiful, strength has much to do with the magic.”




Today, shipmates, Ishmael will rhapsodize about the beauty of a whale’s tail. While he’s telling a whale’s tale. It’s so good!


We will learn, whether we thought we needed to or not, that “Five great motions are peculiar to it [the tail]. First, when used as a fin for progression; Second, when used as a mace in battle; Third, in sweeping; Fourth, in lobtailing; Fifth, in peaking flukes.” Then Ish will go into detail about all five motions.


There is something almost magical about the whale’s tail. I collect them. In my office alone I spy 8 whale tails. Three are made of wood, one of glass, two of metal, one marble, and one is etched in a rock. Nature created that one, but I found it!


The chapter is designed to once again bring an almost supernatural quality to the whale world. But the chapter also has so much beauty imbedded into it. The quote about how strength doesn’t get in the way of beauty but only creates more magic is a lovely thought. Sometimes beauty comes packaged in the guise of hard work and relentless strength. Love all of this!

Here’s a picture of my rock with the whale tail.

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