So ignorant are most landsmen of some of the plainest and most palpable wonders of the world, that without some hints touching the plain facts, historical or otherwise, of the fishery, they might scout at Moby-Dick as a monstrous fable, or still worse and more detestable, a hideous and intolerable allegory.

Melville, Herman. "Chapter 45 The Affadavit." Moby-Dick. Ed. Charles Child Walcutt. 1967 ed. New York: Bantam, 2003. 670. Print.