Topic: Life is as strange as fiction
I've been reading a book about Jim Bridger, the trapper and guide. He was hired as a guide for a scientific survey of the Yellowstone commissioned by the U.S. Congress. The book is written by a historian who has compiled information on the life of Bridger from documentation - letters, contracts, etc. The survey had a scribe who recorded the events of their journey. In it, he records how the younger guys enjoyed hearing what they called "Arkansas Traveler" or "Munchausian" stories around the campfire at night. One of their favorites was a stream which started out ice cold as a spring out of a mountaintop. Bridger said it fell so fast and over so many rocks that by the time it got to the valley it was hot on the bottom. They thought that was a very good tall tale - until they crossed the stream barefoot and learned that it ran over a crusted over hotspot. It was hot on the bottom just as Bridger said but they did not believe.
Of Baron von Munchausen, Bridger said he was a "durned liar" (being illiterate - not quite getting the idea of fiction) but then softened his opinion upon thinking of it saying some of his own exploits would sound as ridiculous had they been written down.
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