[He says, I've shoveled acorns enough in there to keep the family thirty years, and if I can see a sign of one of 'em I wish I may land in a museum with a belly full of sawdust in two minutes.]

This is a sentence from a novel 'Baker's blue-jay yarn' by Mark Twain. And That scene shows a blue-jay gets angry because he keeps dropping acorns in some hole but the hole isn't getting full no matter how hard he tries.

I looked up the meaning of 'land in' and the dictionary says that means 1. to make a landing in something 2. to end up in something, such as a mess.

But I don't understand even though knowing the meaning of both 'land in' and 'museum'. What does the sentence above mean?

  • When a bird stops flying, it lands on the ground. An arriving plane lands on the runway. A museum would be his destination.Since a museum is a building, he lands in it not on it. But he won't have flown there; he will have been placed there. He would be stuffed with sawdust (taxidermy).
    – TimR
    Commented Aug 4, 2015 at 10:16
  • So we have a combination of meanings: to end up in a bad way (stuffed), and to stop flying and take up a position somewhere on his feet (though he will be dead).
    – TimR
    Commented Aug 4, 2015 at 10:24
  • 2
    So, I think it's like "cross my heart and hope to die" or "may lightning strike me dead" in that the storyteller says if there are any more acorns to be found, he might as well be dead and stuffed. That is, he is so sure there are no acorns that can be seen, that he would bet his life on it. Commented Aug 5, 2015 at 8:29

1 Answer 1


It's using your second definition of 'land in', meaning to 'end up in something'. ... I may end up in a museum with a belly full of sawdust in two minutes.

  • 1
    I agree, it's 'end up in'. The bird is wishing himself dead and stuffed as a museum exhibit. Of course the belly full of sawdust refers to the way that museum exhibits are preserved by being stuffed with sawdust. Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 0:38

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