Under The Sun

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

History: "Tell it to the Marines"

The court of Charles II of England received word from a naval captain in the Far East who claimed to have seen "flying fish". The king laughed, considering the claim outrageous. But it happened that a regiment of marines was serving in court that day, and one of them stepped forward to say that he too had seen such flying fish. Whereupon the king declared: "From the very nature of their calling, no class of our subjects can have so wide a knowledge of the seas and land as the officers and men of our loyal Marine Regiment. Henceforth, ere ever we cast a doubt upon a tale that lacketh likelihood, we will first tell it to the Marines."

These words were recorded, in his diary, by the secretary of the Admirality--Samuel Pepys.

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