The Shaggy Dog Rides Again

     I see that a great deal of what is left in my Old Joke Quizbook are the shaggy dog stories.  Bennet Cerf once explained, in one of his joke collections, where this phrase came from, but it didn’t make a lot of sense, which is the essence of a shaggy dog story.  I just classified these as the stories which went on a long time, considering the payoff.  But in the interests of completeness, I have decided to bring these to you as well.  It DOES stave off the next bestseller I will be serializing.  So sit back and relax and try to wake up in time to supply the missing punchline.

     !>”Ywes,” Travis was saying, down at the general store in Kakoola, “It had been a pretty good hunting trip.  I didn’t shoot every single bear I saw, because I needed some of them to haul the pelts of the ones I did get.  I picked off so many rabbits that you’d think they were multiplying after I had ‘em in the load with the bearskins.  It got so bad that after a while, I had to load Old Betsy, by trusty shooting iron, with string, so’s I could just lasso the grouse by one leg when I fired.  This way I could just tie ‘;em down to the rest of the load and they could fly most of the way.  This lessened the load on the pack grizzlies who had to do the hauling, of course.”

     “Of course,” said the bored man behind the counter, who had heard these stories before.

     “Of course.  And of course, too, I got to the point where I was just about out of ammunition.  Then I saw this real prize of a bear climbing up to get at a bee’s nest and get all the honey.  I had just the one bullet left, and I was getting a little tired, anyhow, of getting those bearskins tossed up on the big old load of game.  So I took a look, pointed Old Betsy, and shot right through that nest of bees.”

     “That a fact?” yawned the grocer.

     “It is that,” said Travis.  “That nest exploded, and the honey splashed out, blinding olsd Bruin, who tripped and fell right back onto the nearest load.  I tied him down quick while scooping up the honey and putting that in  my hat for later.  Thing is, I didn’t pay a lot of attention to the bees/  They were confused and angry and swam down too close to the brook, where the hungry trout started jumping up to eat ‘em.  I heard the flapping and, quick as I could, I yanked out the old fishing rod I take with me, hooked ‘em, and threw THEM up on the stack.  I counted when I got home, and found I’d hauled in nine hundred and ninety-nine prize trout.”

     “Oh, for the sake of sugar!” exclaimed the grocer, slapping the counter.  “Why don’t you just say it was a thousand?”

     “Well,” said Travis.  “I guess I could.  (          )”

J2.It had been a long struggle, but King Dexter David Donovan III had won the war.  His troops were exhausted, the warhorses had been pushed to their last ounce of equine prowess, and the archers were completely out of arrows.  But they had won.  No one remained of the evil wizard’s mighty army but his little court jester, who had run away and could not be tracked. 

     “Let us now prepare for the victory feast,” King Dexter proclaimed.  “Go to the Queen and tell Her Majesty to join me on the balcony for the proclamation.”  He proceeded up to the balcony.

     Soon a frightened court flunky came onto the balcony and whispered, “Your Majesty, the Queen is gone!  That tricky jester from the evil wizard’s forces tossed her into an enchanted carriage and rode off with her just as the evil wizard was making his death speech on the battlefield!”

     “This is an outrage!” roared the King.  “See if we have a warrior among the army who is fit to pursue him, and bring the fastest horses that can still stand!”

     Sir Horace the Heavyhanded, his arms covered with bandages from the fight and one eye patched, reported for duty.  “Only I can ride out, Your Majesty!” he said.  “All the other men are too weary.  But I can go.  Unfortunately, not a single horse can move from the stables.  This is the only animal we have left for me to ride forth on.”  And a court flunky led in a slow, fat, shaggy St. Bernard.

     The King shook his head.  “Then the Queen is lost to us,” he sighed.  “(          )”

I know you picked out the ANSWERS during the first half hour of each story, but here they are, if you want to check.

     A1.If I wanted to lie.

     A2.I wouldn’t send a knight out on a dog like this.

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