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Abstract

Walsh's Handy-Book of Literary Curiosities (Lippincott, 1892) relates the more-or-less apocryphal story of the soldier who asked an oracle if it were safe to go off to war. He chose to interpret the oracle's reply (Ibis redibis no moreiris in bello) with a comma after redibis which, translated, means "You will go, you will return, you will not die in battle: but as he lay dying on the battlefield he realized that the message could instead be read with the comma after non: "You will go, you will return not, you will die in battle."

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