Wooden Gospels (The), card-tables.

After supper were brought in the wooden gospels, and the books of the four kings [cards]—Rabelais: Gargantua, i. 22 (1533).

Wooden Horse (The). Virgil tells us that Ulysses had a monster wooden horse made by Epeos after the death of Hector. He gave out that it was an offering to the gods to secure a prosperous voyage back to Greece. By the advice of Sinon, the Trojans dragged the horse into Troy for a palladium; but at night the Grecian soldiers concealed therein were released by Sinon from their concealment, slew the Trojan guards, opened the city gates, and set fire to the city.

Arctinos of Miletus, in his poem called The Destruction of Troy, furnished Virgil with the tale of “the Wooden Horse” and “the burning of Troy” (fl. B.C. 776).

A remarkable parallel occurred in Saracenic history. Arrestan, in Syria, was taken in the seventh century by Abu Obeidah by a similar stratagem. He obtained leave of the governor to deposit in the citadel some old lumber which impeded his march. Twenty large boxes filled with men were carried into the castle. Abu marched off; and while the Christians were returning thanks for the departure of the enemy, the soldiers removed the sliding bottoms of the boxes and made their way out, overpowered the sentries, surprised the great church, opened the city gates, and Abu, entering with his army, took the city without further opposition.—Ockley: History of the Saracens, i. 187 (1718).

The capture of Sark affords another parallel. Sark was in the hands of the French. A Netherlander, with one ship, asked permission to bury one of his crew in the chapel. The French consented, provided the erew came on shore wholly unarmed. This was agreed to, but the coffin was full of arms; and the crew soon equipped themselves, overpowered the French, and took the island.—Percy: Anecdotes, 249. (See Horse, p. 505.)

Swoln with hate and ire, their huge unwieldly force Came clustering like the Greeks out of the wooden horse.

Drayton: Polyolbion, xii. (1613).

Wooden Horse (The), Clavileno, the wooden horse on which don Quixote and Sancho Panza got astride to disenchant Antonomasia and her husband, who were shut up in the tomb of queen Maguncia of Candaya.—Cervantes: Don Quixote, II. iii. 4, 5 (1615).

Another wooden horse was the one given by an Indian to the shah of Persia as a New Year’s gift. It had two pegs. By turning one it rose into the air, and by turning the other it descended wherever the rider wished. Prince Firouz mounted the horse, and it carried him instantaneously to Bengal.—Arabian Nights (“The Enchanted Horse”).

Reynard says that king Crampart made for the daughter of king Marcadigês a wooden horse which would go a hundred miles an hour. His son Clamadês mounted it, and it flew out of the window of the king’s hall, to the terror of the young prince.—Alkman: Reynard the Fox (1498). (See Cambuscan, p. 172.)

Wooden Spoon. The last of the honour men in the mathematical tripos at the examination for degrees in the University of Cambridge.

Sure my invention must be down at zero,
And I grown one of many “wooden spoons”
Of verse (the name with which we Cantabs please
To dub the last of honours in degrees).
   —Byron: Don Juan, iii. 110 (1820).

Wooden Sword (He wears a). Said of a person who rejects an offer at the early part of the day, and sells the article at a lower price later on. A euphemism for a fool; the fools or jesters were furnished with wooden swords.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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