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The accidental deaths of two old soldiers

Hat - with soldiers

Hat – with little soldiers

OK. It was all rather unusual: the army officer, a major, had decided to keep racing pigeons. Quite why he had come to this decision is anyone’s guess. After building a suitable loft he acquired his first two pigeons. Bit by bit he began to train them. Each day he would release the two birds from the loft and they would fly in great circles – around and around the neighbourhood – together in perfect harmony. They were his pride and joy.

The major had a neighbour, another army officer, this time, a colonel. The colonel lived in a large detached house surrounded by an immense and secluded garden. In consequence, he was quite unaware of his neighbour’s new hobby.

One day the major happened to be watching his beloved pigeons flying over his neighbour’s house – when suddenly he heard a loud bang; the pigeons plummeted to earth and disappeared from sight. The colonel had mistaken the birds for wood pigeons; he had shot them dead using just one barrel of his double-barrelled shot gun.

The major was distraught … and incensed. Overtaken with rage he seized his old service revolver and rushed next door in order to confront his neighbour.

On arrival he waved his gun threateningly at the colonel. Bad luck intervened: his revolver discharged itself and a single bullet struck the colonel right between the eyes. As the colonel fell dead to the ground he (unknowingly) discharged the remaining barrel of his shotgun; bad luck intervened again: the gunshots killed the major.

The two men were buried on the same day and interred in the same cemetery. The two pigeons warranted no such formalities. They were chucked into a dustbin.

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