Our Great National Motto

When Billy Root was a little boy he was of a philosophical and investigating turn of mind, and wanted to know almost everything. He also desired to know it immediately. He could not wait for time to develop his intellect, but he crowded things and wore out the patience of his father, a learned savant, who was president of a livery stable in Chicago.

One day Billy ran across the grand hailing sign, which is generally represented as a tape-worm in the beak of the American eagle, on which is inscribed “E Pluribus Unum.” Billy, of course, asked his father what “E Pluribus Unum” meant. He wanted to gather in all the knowledge he could, so that when he came out West he could associate with some of our best men.

“I admire your strong appetite for knowledge, Billy,” said Mr. Root; “you have a morbid craving for cold hunks of ancient history and cyclopedia that does my soul good; I am glad, too, that you write to your father to get accurate data for your collection. That is right. Your father will always lay aside his work at any time and gorge your young mind with knowledge that will be as useful to you as a farrow cow. ‘E Pluribus Unum’ is an old Greek inscription that has been handed down from generation to generation, preserved in brine, and signifies that ‘the tail goes with the hide.'”


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