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´╗┐Title: Fantastic Fables
Author: Bierce, Ambrose, 1842-1914?
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Fantastic Fables" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



Transcribed from the 1899 G. P. Putnam's Sons edition by David Price,
email ccx074@pglaf.org



FANTASTIC FABLES


BY AMBROSE BIERCE

AUTHOR OF "TALES OF SOLDIERS AND CIVILIANS," "CAN SUCH THINGS BE?" "BLACK
BEETLES IN AMBER," ETC.

G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS
NEW YORK AND LONDON
The Knickerbocker Press _1899_



Contents:


The Moral Principle and the Material Interest

The Crimson Candle

The Blotted Escutcheon and the Soiled Ermine

The Ingenious Patriot

Two Kings

An Officer and a Thug

The Conscientious Official

How Leisure Came

The Moral Sentiment

The Politicians

The Thoughtful Warden

The Treasury and the Arms

The Christian Serpent

The Broom of the Temple

The Critics

The Foolish Woman

Father and Son

The Discontented Malefactor

A Call to Quit

The Man and the Lightning

The Lassoed Bear

The Ineffective Rooter

A Protagonist of Silver

The Holy Deacon

A Hasty Settlement

The Wooden Guns

The Reform School Board

The Poet's Doom

The Noser and the Note

The Cat and the King

The Literary Astronomer

The Lion and the Rattlesnake

The Man with No Enemies

The Alderman and the Raccoon

The Flying-Machine

The Angel's Tear

The City of Political Distinction

The Party Over There

The Poetess of Reform

The Unchanged Diplomatist

An Invitation

The Ashes of Madame Blavatsky

The Opossum of the Future

The Life-Savers

The Australian Grasshopper

The Pavior

The Tried Assassin

The Bumbo of Jiam

The Two Poets

The Thistles upon the Grave

The Shadow of the Leader

The Sagacious Rat

The Member and the Soap

Alarm and Pride

A Causeway

Two in Trouble

The Witch's Steed

The All Dog

The Farmer's Friend

Physicians Two

The Overlooked Factor

A Racial Parallel

The Honest Cadi

The Kangaroo and the Zebra

A Matter of Method

The Man of Principle

The Returned Californian

The Compassionate Physician

Two of the Damned

The Austere Governor

Religions of Error

The Penitent Elector

The Tail of the Sphinx

A Prophet of Evil

The Crew of the Life-boat

A Treaty of Peace

The Nightside of Character

The Faithful Cashier

The Circular Clew

The Devoted Widow

The Hardy Patriots

The Humble Peasant

The Various Delegation

The No Case

A Harmless Visitor

The Judge and the Rash Act

The Prerogative of Might

An Inflated Ambition

Rejected Services

The Power of the Scalawag

At Large--One Temper

The Seeker and the Sought

His Fly-Speck Majesty

The Pugilist's Diet

The Old Man and the Pupil

The Deceased and his Heirs

The Politicians and the Plunder

The Man and the Wart

The Divided Delegation

A Forfeited Right

Revenge

An Optimist

A Valuable Suggestion

Two Footpads

Equipped for Service

The Basking Cyclone

At the Pole

The Optimist and the Cynic

The Poet and the Editor

The Taken Hand

An Unspeakable Imbecile

A Needful War

The Mine Owner and the Jackass

The Dog and the Physician

The Party Manager and the Gentleman.

The Legislator and the Citizen

The Rainmaker

The Citizen and the Snakes

Fortune and the Fabulist

A Smiling Idol

Philosophers Three

The Boneless King

Uncalculating Zeal

A Transposition

The Honest Citizen

A Creaking Tail

Wasted Sweets

Six and One

The Sportsman and the Squirrel

The Fogy and the Sheik

At Heaven's Gate

The Catted Anarchist

The Honourable Member

The Expatriated Boss

An Inadequate Fee

The Judge and the Plaintiff

The Return of the Representative

A Statesman

Two Dogs

Three Recruits

The Mirror

Saint and Sinner

An Antidote

A Weary Echo

The Ingenious Blackmailer

A Talisman

The Ancient Order

A Fatal Disorder

The Massacre

A Ship and a Man

Congress and the People

The Justice and His Accuser

The Highwayman and the Traveller

The Policeman and the Citizen

The Writer and the Tramps

Two Politicians

The Fugitive Office

The Tyrant Frog

The Eligible Son-in-Law

The Statesman and the Horse

An AErophobe

The Thrift of Strength

The Good Government

The Life-Saver

The Man and the Bird

From the Minutes

Three of a Kind

The Fabulist and the Animals

A Revivalist Revived

The Debaters

Two of the Pious

The Desperate Object

The Appropriate Memorial

A Needless Labour

A Flourishing Industry

The Self-Made Monkey

The Patriot and the Banker

The Mourning Brothers

The Disinterested Arbiter

The Thief and the Honest Man

The Dutiful Son



Aesopus Emendatus


The Cat and the Youth

The Farmer and His Sons

Jupiter and the Baby Show

The Man and the Dog

The Cat and the Birds

Mercury and the Woodchopper

The Fox and the Grapes

The Penitent Thief

The Archer and the Eagle

Truth and the Traveller

The Wolf and the Lamb

The Lion and the Boar

The Grasshopper and the Ant

The Fisher and the Fished

The Farmer and the Fox

Dame Fortune and the Traveller

The Victor and the Victim

The Wolf and the Shepherds

The Goose and the Swan

The Lion, the Cock, and the Ass

The Snake and the Swallow

The Wolves and the Dogs

The Hen and the Vipers

A Seasonable Joke

The Lion and the Thorn

The Fawn and the Buck

The Kite, the Pigeons, and the Hawk

The Wolf and the Babe

The Wolf and the Ostrich

The Herdsman and the Lion

The Man and the Viper

The Man and the Eagle

The War-horse and the Miller

The Dog and the Reflection

The Man and the Fish-horn

The Hare and the Tortoise

Hercules and the Carter

The Lion and the Bull

The Man and his Goose

The Wolf and the Feeding Goat

Jupiter and the Birds

The Lion and the Mouse

The Old Man and his Sons

The Crab and his Son

The North Wind and the Sun

The Mountain and the Mouse

The Bellamy and the Members



Old Saws with New Teeth


The Wolf and the Crane

The Lion and the Mouse

The Hares and the Frogs

The Belly and the Members

The Piping Fisherman

The Ants and the Grasshopper

The Dog and His Reflection

The Lion, the Bear, and the Fox

The Ass and the Lion's Skin

The Ass and the Grasshoppers

The Wolf and the Lion

The Hare and the Tortoise

The Milkmaid and Her Bucket

King Log and King Stork

The Wolf Who Would Be a Lion

The Monkey and the Nuts

The Boys and the Frogs



The Moral Principle and the Material Interest . . .


A Moral Principle met a Material Interest on a bridge wide enough for but
one.

"Down, you base thing!" thundered the Moral Principle, "and let me pass
over you!"

The Material Interest merely looked in the other's eyes without saying
anything.

"Ah," said the Moral Principle, hesitatingly, "let us draw lots to see
which shall retire till the other has crossed."

The Material Interest maintained an unbroken silence and an unwavering
stare.

"In order to avoid a conflict," the Moral Principle resumed, somewhat
uneasily, "I shall myself lie down and let you walk over me."

Then the Material Interest found a tongue, and by a strange coincidence
it was its own tongue.  "I don't think you are very good walking," it
said.  "I am a little particular about what I have underfoot.  Suppose
you get off into the water."

It occurred that way.



The Crimson Candle


A man lying at the point of death called his wife to his bedside and
said:

"I am about to leave you forever; give me, therefore, one last proof of
your affection and fidelity, for, according to our holy religion, a
married man seeking admittance at the gate of Heaven is required to swear
that he has never defiled himself with an unworthy woman.  In my desk you
will find a crimson candle, which has been blessed by the High Priest and
has a peculiar mystical significance.  Swear to me that while it is in
existence you will not remarry."

The Woman swore and the Man died.  At the funeral the Woman stood at the
head of the bier, holding a lighted crimson candle till it was wasted
entirely away.



The Blotted Escutcheon and the Soiled Ermine


A Blotted Escutcheon, rising to a question of privilege, said:

"Mr. Speaker, I wish to hurl back an allegation and explain that the
spots upon me are the natural markings of one who is a direct descendant
of the sun and a spotted fawn.  They come of no accident of character,
but inhere in the divine order and constitution of things."

When the Blotted Escutcheon had resumed his seat a Soiled Ermine rose and
said:

"Mr. Speaker, I have heard with profound attention and entire approval
the explanation of the honourable member, and wish to offer a few remarks
on my own behalf.  I, too, have been foully calumniated by our ancient
enemy, the Infamous Falsehood, and I wish to point out that I am made of
the fur of the _Mustela maculata_, which is dirty from birth."



The Ingenious Patriot


Having obtained an audience of the King an Ingenious Patriot pulled a
paper from his pocket, saying:

"May it please your Majesty, I have here a formula for constructing
armour-plating which no gun can pierce.  If these plates are adopted in
the Royal Navy our warships will be invulnerable, and therefore
invincible.  Here, also, are reports of your Majesty's Ministers,
attesting the value of the invention.  I will part with my right in it
for a million tumtums."

After examining the papers, the King put them away and promised him an
order on the Lord High Treasurer of the Extortion Department for a
million tumtums.

"And here," said the Ingenious Patriot, pulling another paper from
another pocket, "are the working plans of a gun that I have invented,
which will pierce that armour.  Your Majesty's Royal Brother, the Emperor
of Bang, is anxious to purchase it, but loyalty to your Majesty's throne
and person constrains me to offer it first to your Majesty.  The price is
one million tumtums."

Having received the promise of another check, he thrust his hand into
still another pocket, remarking:

"The price of the irresistible gun would have been much greater, your
Majesty, but for the fact that its missiles can be so effectively averted
by my peculiar method of treating the armour plates with a new--"

The King signed to the Great Head Factotum to approach.

"Search this man," he said, "and report how many pockets he has."

"Forty-three, Sire," said the Great Head Factotum, completing the
scrutiny.

"May it please your Majesty," cried the Ingenious Patriot, in terror,
"one of them contains tobacco."

"Hold him up by the ankles and shake him," said the King; "then give him
a check for forty-two million tumtums and put him to death.  Let a decree
issue declaring ingenuity a capital offence."



Two Kings


The King of Madagao, being engaged in a dispute with the King of
Bornegascar, wrote him as follows:

"Before proceeding further in this matter I demand the recall of your
Minister from my capital."

Greatly enraged by this impossible demand, the King of Bornegascar
replied:

"I shall not recall my Minister.  Moreover, if you do not immediately
retract your demand I shall withdraw him!"

This threat so terrified the King of Madagao that in hastening to comply
he fell over his own feet, breaking the Third Commandment.



An Officer and a Thug


A Chief of Police who had seen an Officer beating a Thug was very
indignant, and said he must not do so any more on pain of dismissal.

"Don't be too hard on me," said the Officer, smiling; "I was beating him
with a stuffed club."

"Nevertheless," persisted the Chief of Police, "it was a liberty that
must have been very disagreeable, though it may not have hurt.  Please do
not repeat it."

"But," said the Officer, still smiling, "it was a stuffed Thug."

In attempting to express his gratification, the Chief of Police thrust
out his right hand with such violence that his skin was ruptured at the
arm-pit and a stream of sawdust poured from the wound.  He was a stuffed
Chief of Police.



The Conscientious Official


While a Division Superintendent of a railway was attending closely to his
business of placing obstructions on the track and tampering with the
switches he received word that the President of the road was about to
discharge him for incompetency.

"Good Heavens!" he cried; "there are more accidents on my division than
on all the rest of the line."

"The President is very particular," said the Man who brought him the
news; "he thinks the same loss of life might be effected with less damage
to the company's property."

"Does he expect me to shoot passengers through the car windows?"
exclaimed the indignant official, spiking a loose tie across the rails.
"Does he take me for an assassin?"



How Leisure Came


A Man to Whom Time Was Money, and who was bolting his breakfast in order
to catch a train, had leaned his newspaper against the sugar-bowl and was
reading as he ate.  In his haste and abstraction he stuck a pickle-fork
into his right eye, and on removing the fork the eye came with it.  In
buying spectacles the needless outlay for the right lens soon reduced him
to poverty, and the Man to Whom Time Was Money had to sustain life by
fishing from the end of a wharf.



The Moral Sentiment


A Pugilist met the Moral Sentiment of the Community, who was carrying a
hat-box.  "What have you in the hat-box, my friend?" inquired the
Pugilist.

"A new frown," was the answer.  "I am bringing it from the frownery--the
one over there with the gilded steeple."

"And what are you going to do with the nice new frown?" the Pugilist
asked.

"Put down pugilism--if I have to wear it night and day," said the Moral
Sentiment of the Community, sternly.

"That's right," said the Pugilist, "that is right, my good friend; if
pugilism had been put down yesterday, I wouldn't have this kind of Nose
to-day.  I had a rattling hot fight last evening with--"

"Is that so?" cried the Moral Sentiment of the Community, with sudden
animation.  "Which licked?  Sit down here on the hat-box and tell me all
about it!"



The Politicians


An Old Politician and a Young Politician were travelling through a
beautiful country, by the dusty highway which leads to the City of
Prosperous Obscurity.  Lured by the flowers and the shade and charmed by
the songs of birds which invited to woodland paths and green fields, his
imagination fired by glimpses of golden domes and glittering palaces in
the distance on either hand, the Young Politician said:

"Let us, I beseech thee, turn aside from this comfortless road leading,
thou knowest whither, but not I.  Let us turn our backs upon duty and
abandon ourselves to the delights and advantages which beckon from every
grove and call to us from every shining hill.  Let us, if so thou wilt,
follow this beautiful path, which, as thou seest, hath a guide-board
saying, 'Turn in here all ye who seek the Palace of Political
Distinction.'"

"It is a beautiful path, my son," said the Old Politician, without either
slackening his pace or turning his head, "and it leadeth among pleasant
scenes.  But the search for the Palace of Political Distinction is beset
with one mighty peril."

"What is that?" said the Young Politician.

"The peril of finding it," the Old Politician replied, pushing on.



The Thoughtful Warden


The Warden of a Penitentiary was one day putting locks on the doors of
all the cells when a mechanic said to him:

"Those locks can all be opened from the inside--you are very imprudent."

The Warden did not look up from his work, but said:

"If that is called imprudence, I wonder what would be called a thoughtful
provision against the vicissitudes of fortune."



The Treasury and the Arms


A Public Treasury, feeling Two Arms lifting out its contents, exclaimed:

"Mr. Shareman, I move for a division."

"You seem to know something about parliamentary forms of speech," said
the Two Arms.

"Yes," replied the Public Treasury, "I am familiar with the hauls of
legislation."



The Christian Serpent


A Rattlesnake came home to his brood and said: "My children, gather about
and receive your father's last blessing, and see how a Christian dies."

"What ails you, Father?" asked the Small Snakes.

"I have been bitten by the editor of a partisan journal," was the reply,
accompanied by the ominous death-rattle.



The Broom of the Temple


The city of Gakwak being about to lose its character of capital of the
province of Ukwuk, the Wampog issued a proclamation convening all the
male residents in council in the Temple of Ul to devise means of defence.
The first speaker thought the best policy would be to offer a fried
jackass to the gods.  The second suggested a public procession, headed by
the Wampog himself, bearing the Holy Poker on a cushion of
cloth-of-brass.  Another thought that a scarlet mole should be buried
alive in the public park and a suitable incantation chanted over the
remains.  The advice of the fourth was that the columns of the capitol be
rubbed with oil of dog by a person having a moustache on the calf of his
leg.  When all the others had spoken an Aged Man rose and said:

"High and mighty Wampog and fellow-citizens, I have listened attentively
to all the plans proposed.  All seem wise, and I do not suffer myself to
doubt that any one of them would be efficacious.  Nevertheless, I cannot
help thinking that if we would put an improved breed of polliwogs in our
drinking water, construct shallower roadways, groom the street cows,
offer the stranger within our gates a free choice between the poniard and
the potion, and relinquish our private system of morals, the other
measures of public safety would be needless."

The Aged Man was about to speak further, but the meeting informally
adjourned in order to sweep the floor of the temple--for the men of
Gakwak are the tidiest housewives in all that province.  The last speaker
was the broom.



The Critics


While bathing, Antinous was seen by Minerva, who was so enamoured of his
beauty that, all armed as she happened to be, she descended from Olympus
to woo him; but, unluckily displaying her shield, with the head of Medusa
on it, she had the unhappiness to see the beautiful mortal turn to stone
from catching a glimpse of it.  She straightway ascended to ask Jove to
restore him; but before this could be done a Sculptor and a Critic passed
that way and espied him.

"This is a very bad Apollo," said the Sculptor: "the chest is too narrow,
and one arm is at least a half-inch shorter than the other.  The attitude
is unnatural, and I may say impossible.  Ah! my friend, you should see my
statue of Antinous."

"In my judgment, the figure," said the Critic, "is tolerably good, though
rather Etrurian, but the expression of the face is decidedly Tuscan, and
therefore false to nature.  By the way, have you read my work on 'The
Fallaciousness of the Aspectual in Art'?"



The Foolish Woman


A Married Woman, whose lover was about to reform by running away,
procured a pistol and shot him dead.

"Why did you do that, Madam?" inquired a Policeman, sauntering by.

"Because," replied the Married Woman, "he was a wicked man, and had
purchased a ticket to Chicago."

"My sister," said an adjacent Man of God, solemnly, "you cannot stop the
wicked from going to Chicago by killing them."



Father and Son


"My boy," said an aged Father to his fiery and disobedient Son, "a hot
temper is the soil of remorse.  Promise me that when next you are angry
you will count one hundred before you move or speak."

No sooner had the Son promised than he received a stinging blow from the
paternal walking-stick, and by the time he had counted to seventy-five
had the unhappiness to see the old man jump into a waiting cab and whirl
away.



The Discontented Malefactor


A Judge having sentenced a Malefactor to the penitentiary was proceeding
to point out to him the disadvantages of crime and the profit of
reformation.

"Your Honour," said the Malefactor, interrupting, "would you be kind
enough to alter my punishment to ten years in the penitentiary and
nothing else?"

"Why," said the Judge, surprised, "I have given you only three years!"

"Yes, I know," assented the Malefactor--"three years' imprisonment and
the preaching.  If you please, I should like to commute the preaching."



A Call to Quit


Seeing that his audiences were becoming smaller every Sunday, a Minister
of the Gospel broke off in the midst of a sermon, descended the pulpit
stairs, and walked on his hands down the central aisle of the church.  He
then remounted his feet, ascended to the pulpit, and resumed his
discourse, making no allusion to the incident.

"Now," said he to himself, as he went home, "I shall have, henceforth, a
large attendance and no snoring."

But on the following Friday he was waited upon by the Pillars of the
Church, who informed him that in order to be in harmony with the New
Theology and get full advantage of modern methods of Gospel
interpretation they had deemed it advisable to make a change.  They had
therefore sent a call to Brother Jowjeetum-Fallal, the World-Renowned
Hindoo Human Pin-Wheel, then holding forth in Hoopitup's circus.  They
were happy to say that the reverend gentleman had been moved by the
Spirit to accept the call, and on the ensuing Sabbath would break the
bread of life for the brethren or break his neck in the attempt.



The Man and the Lightning


A Man Running for Office was overtaken by Lightning.

"You see," said the Lightning, as it crept past him inch by inch, "I can
travel considerably faster than you."

"Yes," the Man Running for Office replied, "but think how much longer I
keep going!"



The Lassoed Bear


A Hunter who had lassoed a Bear was trying to disengage himself from the
rope, but the slip-knot about his wrist would not yield, for the Bear was
all the time pulling in the slack with his paws.  In the midst of his
trouble the Hunter saw a Showman passing by, and managed to attract his
attention.

"What will you give me," he said, "for my Bear?"

"It will be some five or ten minutes," said the Showman, "before I shall
want a fresh Bear, and it looks to me as if prices would fall during that
time.  I think I'll wait and watch the market."

"The price of this animal," the Hunter replied, "is down to bed-rock; you
can have him for nothing a pound, spot cash, and I'll throw in the next
one that I lasso.  But the purchaser must remove the goods from the
premises forthwith, to make room for three man-eating tigers, a
cat-headed gorilla, and an armful of rattlesnakes."

But the Showman passed on, in maiden meditation, fancy free, and being
joined soon afterward by the Bear, who was absently picking his teeth, it
was inferred that they were not unacquainted.



The Ineffective Rooter


A Drunken Man was lying in the road with a bleeding nose, upon which he
had fallen, when a Pig passed that way.

"You wallow fairly well," said the Pig, "but, my fine fellow, you have
much to learn about rooting."



A Protagonist of Silver


Some Financiers who were whetting their tongues on their teeth because
the Government had "struck down" silver, and were about to "inaugurate" a
season of sweatshed, were addressed as follows by a Member of their
honourable and warlike body:

"Comrades of the thunder and companions of death, I cannot but regard it
as singularly fortunate that we who by conviction and sympathy are
designated by nature as the champions of that fairest of her products,
the white metal, should also, by a happy chance, be engaged mostly in the
business of mining it.  Nothing could be more appropriate than that those
who from unselfish motives and elevated sentiments are doing battle for
the people's rights and interests, should themselves be the chief
beneficiaries of success.  Therefore, O children of the earthquake and
the storm, let us stand shoulder to shoulder, heart to heart, and pocket
to pocket!"

This speech so pleased the other Members of the convention that, actuated
by a magnanimous impulse, they sprang to their feet and left the hall.  It
was the first time they had ever been known to leave anything having
value.



The Holy Deacon


An Itinerant Preacher who had wrought hard in the moral vineyard for
several hours whispered to a Holy Deacon of the local church:

"Brother, these people know you, and your active support will bear fruit
abundantly.  Please pass the plate for me, and you shall have one
fourth."

The Holy Deacon did so, and putting the money into his pocket waited till
the congregation was dismissed and said goodnight.

"But the money, brother, the money that you collected!" said the
Itinerant Preacher.

"Nothing is coming to you," was the reply; "the Adversary has hardened
their hearts, and one fourth is all they gave."



A Hasty Settlement


"Your Honour," said an Attorney, rising, "what is the present status of
this case--as far as it has gone?"

"I have given a judgment for the residuary legatee under the will," said
the Court, "put the costs upon the contestants, decided all questions
relating to fees and other charges; and, in short, the estate in
litigation has been settled, with all controversies, disputes,
misunderstandings, and differences of opinion thereunto appertaining."

"Ah, yes, I see," said the Attorney, thoughtfully, "we are making
progress--we are getting on famously."

"Progress?" echoed the Judge--"progress?  Why, sir, the matter is
concluded!"

"Exactly, exactly; it had to be concluded in order to give relevancy to
the motion that I am about to make.  Your Honour, I move that the
judgment of the Court be set aside and the case reopened."

"Upon what ground, sir?" the Judge asked in surprise.

"Upon the ground," said the Attorney, "that after paying all fees and
expenses of litigation and all charges against the estate there will
still be something left."

"There may have been an error," said His Honour, thoughtfully--"the Court
may have underestimated the value of the estate.  The motion is taken
under advisement."



The Wooden Guns


An Artillery Regiment of a State Militia applied to the Governor for
wooden guns to practise with.

"Those," they explained, "will be cheaper than real ones."

"It shall not be said that I sacrificed efficiency to economy," said the
Governor.  "You shall have real guns."

"Thank you, thank you," cried the warriors, effusively.  "We will take
good care of them, and in the event of war return them to the arsenal."



The Reform School Board


The members of the School Board in Doosnoswair being suspected of
appointing female teachers for an improper consideration, the people
elected a Board composed wholly of women.  In a few years the scandal was
at an end; there were no female teachers in the Department.



The Poet's Doom


An Object was walking along the King's highway wrapped in meditation and
with little else on, when he suddenly found himself at the gates of a
strange city.  On applying for admittance, he was arrested as a
necessitator of ordinances, and taken before the King.

"Who are you," said the King, "and what is your business in life?"

"Snouter the Sneak," replied the Object, with ready invention;
"pick-pocket."

The King was about to command him to be released when the Prime Minister
suggested that the prisoner's fingers be examined.  They were found
greatly flattened and calloused at the ends.

"Ha!" cried the King; "I told you so!--he is addicted to counting
syllables.  This is a poet.  Turn him over to the Lord High Dissuader
from the Head Habit."

"My liege," said the Inventor-in-Ordinary of Ingenious Penalties, "I
venture to suggest a keener affliction.

"Name it," the King said.

"Let him retain that head!"

It was so ordered.



The Noser and the Note


The Head Rifler of an insolvent bank, learning that it was about to be
visited by the official Noser into Things, placed his own personal note
for a large amount among its resources, and, gaily touching his guitar,
awaited the inspection.  When the Noser came to the note he asked,
"What's this?"

"That," said the Assistant Pocketer of Deposits, "is one of our
liabilities."

"A liability?" exclaimed the Noser.  "Nay, nay, an asset.  That is what
you mean, doubtless."

"Therein you err," the Pocketer explained; "that note was written in the
bank with our own pen, ink, and paper, and we have not paid a stationery
bill for six months."

"Ah, I see," the Noser said, thoughtfully; "it is a liability.  May I ask
how you expect to meet it?"

"With fortitude, please God," answered the Assistant Pocketer, his eyes
to Heaven raising--"with fortitude and a firm reliance on the laxity of
the law."

"Enough, enough," exclaimed the faithful servant of the State, choking
with emotion; "here is a certificate of solvency."

"And here is a bottle of ink," the grateful financier said, slipping it
into the other's pocket; "it is all that we have."



The Cat and the King


A Cat was looking at a King, as permitted by the proverb.

"Well," said the monarch, observing her inspection of the royal person,
"how do you like me?"

"I can imagine a King," said the Cat, "whom I should like better."

"For example?"

"The King of the Mice."

The sovereign was so pleased with the wit of the reply that he gave her
permission to scratch his Prime Minister's eyes out.



The Literary Astronomer


The Director of an Observatory, who, with a thirty-six-inch refractor,
had discovered the moon, hastened to an Editor, with a four-column
account of the event.

"How much?" said the Editor, sententiously, without looking up from his
essay on the circularity of the political horizon.

"One hundred and sixty dollars," replied the man who had discovered the
moon.

"Not half enough," was the Editor's comment.

"Generous man!" cried the Astronomer, glowing with warm and elevated
sentiments, "pay me, then, what you will."

"Great and good friend," said the Editor, blandly, looking up from his
work, "we are far asunder, it seems.  The paying is to be done by you."

The Director of the Observatory gathered up the manuscript and went away,
explaining that it needed correction; he had neglected to dot an m.



The Lion and the Rattlesnake


A Man having found a Lion in his path undertook to subdue him by the
power of the human eye; and near by was a Rattlesnake engaged in
fascinating a small bird.

"How are you getting on, brother?" the Man called out to the other
reptile, without removing his eyes from those of the Lion.

"Admirably," replied the serpent.  "My success is assured; my victim
draws nearer and nearer in spite of her efforts."

"And mine," said the Man, "draws nearer and nearer in spite of mine.  Are
you sure it is all right?"

"If you don't think so," the reptile replied as well as he then could,
with his mouth full of bird, "you better give it up."

A half-hour later, the Lion, thoughtfully picking his teeth with his
claws, told the Rattlesnake that he had never in all his varied
experience in being subdued, seen a subduer try so earnestly to give it
up.  "But," he added, with a wide, significant smile, "I looked him into
countenance."



The Man with No Enemies


An Inoffensive Person walking in a public place was assaulted by a
Stranger with a Club, and severely beaten.

When the Stranger with a Club was brought to trial, the complainant said
to the Judge:

"I do not know why I was assaulted; I have not an enemy in the world."

"That," said the defendant, "is why I struck him."

"Let the prisoner be discharged," said the Judge; "a man who has no
enemies has no friends.  The courts are not for such."



The Alderman and the Raccoon


"I see quite a number of rings on your tail," said an Alderman to a
Raccoon that he met in a zoological garden.

"Yes," replied the Raccoon, "and I hear quite a number of tales on your
ring."

The Alderman, being of a sensitive, retiring disposition, shrank from
further comparison, and, strolling to another part of the garden, stole
the camel.



The Flying-Machine


An Ingenious Man who had built a flying-machine invited a great concourse
of people to see it go up.  At the appointed moment, everything being
ready, he boarded the car and turned on the power.  The machine
immediately broke through the massive substructure upon which it was
builded, and sank out of sight into the earth, the aeronaut springing out
barely in time to save himself.

"Well," said he, "I have done enough to demonstrate the correctness of my
details.  The defects," he added, with a look at the ruined brick-work,
"are merely basic and fundamental."

Upon this assurance the people came forward with subscriptions to build a
second machine.



The Angel's Tear


An Unworthy Man who had laughed at the woes of a Woman whom he loved, was
bewailing his indiscretion in sack-cloth-of-gold and ashes-of-roses, when
the Angel of Compassion looked down upon him, saying:

"Poor mortal!--how unblest not to know the wickedness of laughing at
another's misfortune!"

So saying, he let fall a great tear, which, encountering in its descent a
current of cold air, was congealed into a hail-stone.  This struck the
Unworthy Man on the head and set him rubbing that bruised organ
vigorously with one hand while vainly attempting to expand an umbrella
with the other.

Thereat the Angel of Compassion did most shamelessly and wickedly laugh.



The City of Political Distinction


Jamrach the Rich, being anxious to reach the City of Political
Distinction before nightfall, arrived at a fork of the road and was
undecided which branch to follow; so he consulted a Wise-Looking Person
who sat by the wayside.

"Take _that_ road," said the Wise-Looking Person, pointing it out; "it is
known as the Political Highway."

"Thank you," said Jamrach, and was about to proceed.

"About how much do you thank me?" was the reply.  "Do you suppose I am
here for my health?"

As Jamrach had not become rich by stupidity, he handed something to his
guide and hastened on, and soon came to a toll-gate kept by a Benevolent
Gentleman, to whom he gave something, and was suffered to pass.  A little
farther along he came to a bridge across an imaginary stream, where a
Civil Engineer (who had built the bridge) demanded something for interest
on his investment, and it was forthcoming.  It was growing late when
Jamrach came to the margin of what appeared to be a lake of black ink,
and there the road terminated.  Seeing a Ferryman in his boat he paid
something for his passage and was about to embark.

"No," said the Ferryman.  "Put your neck in this noose, and I will tow
you over.  It is the only way," he added, seeing that the passenger was
about to complain of the accommodations.

In due time he was dragged across, half strangled, and dreadfully
beslubbered by the feculent waters.  "There," said the Ferryman, hauling
him ashore and disengaging him, "you are now in the City of Political
Distinction.  It has fifty millions of inhabitants, and as the colour of
the Filthy Pool does not wash off, they all look exactly alike."

"Alas!" exclaimed Jamrach, weeping and bewailing the loss of all his
possessions, paid out in tips and tolls; "I will go back with you."

"I don't think you will,", said the Ferryman, pushing off; "this city is
situated on the Island of the Unreturning."



The Party Over There


A Man in a Hurry, whose watch was at his lawyer's, asked a Grave Person
the time of day.

"I heard you ask that Party Over There the same question," said the Grave
Person.  "What answer did he give you?"

"He said it was about three o'clock," replied the Man in a Hurry; "but he
did not look at his watch, and as the sun is nearly down, I think it is
later."

"The fact that the sun is nearly down," the Grave Person said, "is
immaterial, but the fact that he did not consult his timepiece and make
answer after due deliberation and consideration is fatal.  The answer
given," continued the Grave Person, consulting his own timepiece, "is of
no effect, invalid, and absurd."

"What, then," said the Man in a Hurry, eagerly, "is the time of day?"

"The question is remanded to the Party Over There for a new answer,"
replied the Grave Person, returning his watch to his pocket and moving
away with great dignity.

He was a Judge of an Appellate Court.



The Poetess of Reform


One pleasant day in the latter part of eternity, as the Shades of all the
great writers were reposing upon beds of asphodel and moly in the Elysian
fields, each happy in hearing from the lips of the others nothing but
copious quotation from his own works (for so Jove had kindly bedeviled
their ears), there came in among them with triumphant mien a Shade whom
none knew.  She (for the newcomer showed such evidences of sex as cropped
hair and a manly stride) took a seat in their midst, and smiling a
superior smile explained:

"After centuries of oppression I have wrested my rights from the grasp of
the jealous gods.  On earth I was the Poetess of Reform, and sang to
inattentive ears.  Now for an eternity of honour and glory."

But it was not to be so, and soon she was the unhappiest of mortals,
vainly desirous to wander again in gloom by the infernal lakes.  For Jove
had not bedeviled her ears, and she heard from the lips of each blessed
Shade an incessant flow of quotation from his own works.  Moreover, she
was denied the happiness of repeating her poems.  She could not recall a
line of them, for Jove had decreed that the memory of them abide in
Pluto's painful domain, as a part of the apparatus.



The Unchanged Diplomatist


The republic of Madagonia had been long and well represented at the court
of the King of Patagascar by an officer called a Dazie, but one day the
Madagonian Parliament conferred upon him the superior rank of Dandee.  The
next day after being apprised of his new dignity he hastened to inform
the King of Patagascar.

"Ah, yes, I understand," said the King; "you have been promoted and given
increased pay and allowances.  There was an appropriation?"

"Yes, your Majesty."

"And you have now two heads, have you not?"

"Oh, no, your Majesty--only one, I assure you."

"Indeed?  And how many legs and arms?"

"Two of each, Sire--only two of each."

"And only one body?"

"Just a single body, as you perceive."

Thoughtfully removing his crown and scratching the royal head, the
monarch was silent a moment, and then he said:

"I fancy that appropriation has been misapplied.  You seem to be about
the same kind of idiot that you were before."



An Invitation


A Pious Person who had overcharged his paunch with dead bird by way of
attesting his gratitude for escaping the many calamities which Heaven had
sent upon others, fell asleep at table and dreamed.  He thought he lived
in a country where turkeys were the ruling class, and every year they
held a feast to manifest their sense of Heaven's goodness in sparing
their lives to kill them later.  One day, about a week before one of
these feasts, he met the Supreme Gobbler, who said:

"You will please get yourself into good condition for the Thanksgiving
dinner."

"Yes, your Excellency," replied the Pious Person, delighted, "I shall
come hungry, I assure you.  It is no small privilege to dine with your
Excellency."

The Supreme Gobbler eyed him for a moment in silence; then he said:

"As one of the lower domestic animals, you cannot be expected to know
much, but you might know something.  Since you do not, you will permit me
to point out that being asked to dinner is one thing; being asked to dine
is another and a different thing."

With this significant remark the Supreme Gobbler left him, and
thenceforward the Pious Person dreamed of himself as white meat and dark
until rudely awakened by decapitation.



The Ashes of Madame Blavatsky


The two brightest lights of Theosophy being in the same place at once in
company with the Ashes of Madame Blavatsky, an Inquiring Soul thought the
time propitious to learn something worth while.  So he sat at the feet of
one awhile, and then he sat awhile at the feet of the other, and at last
he applied his ear to the keyhole of the casket containing the Ashes of
Madame Blavatsky.  When the Inquiring Soul had completed his course of
instruction he declared himself the Ahkoond of Swat, fell into the
baleful habit of standing on his head, and swore that the mother who bore
him was a pragmatic paralogism.  Wherefore he was held in high reverence,
and when the two other gentlemen were hanged for lying the Theosophists
elected him to the leadership of their Disastral Body, and after a quiet
life and an honourable death by the kick of a jackass he was reincarnated
as a Yellow Dog.  As such he ate the Ashes of Madame Blavatsky, and
Theosophy was no more.



The Opossum of the Future


One day an Opossum who had gone to sleep hanging from the highest branch
of a tree by the tail, awoke and saw a large Snake wound about the limb,
between him and the trunk of the tree.

"If I hold on," he said to himself, "I shall be swallowed; if I let go I
shall break my neck."

But suddenly he bethought himself to dissemble.

"My perfected friend," he said, "my parental instinct recognises in you a
noble evidence and illustration of the theory of development.  You are
the Opossum of the Future, the ultimate Fittest Survivor of our species,
the ripe result of progressive prehensility--all tail!"

But the Snake, proud of his ancient eminence in Scriptural history, was
strictly orthodox, and did not accept the scientific view.



The Life-Savers


Seventy-Five Men presented themselves before the President of the Humane
Society and demanded the great gold medal for life-saving.

"Why, yes," said the President; "by diligent effort so many men must have
saved a considerable number of lives.  How many did you save?"

"Seventy-five, sir," replied their Spokesman.

"Ah, yes, that is one each--very good work--very good work, indeed," the
President said.  "You shall not only have the Society's great gold medal,
but its recommendation for employment at the various life-boat stations
along the coast.  But how did you save so many lives?"

The Spokesman of the Men replied:

"We are officers of the law, and have just returned from the pursuit of
two murderous outlaws."



The Australian Grasshopper


A Distinguished Naturalist was travelling in Australia, when he saw a
Kangaroo in session and flung a stone at it.  The Kangaroo immediately
adjourned, tracing against the sunset sky a parabolic curve spanning
seven provinces, and evanished below the horizon.  The Distinguished
Naturalist looked interested, but said nothing for an hour; then he said
to his native Guide:

"You have pretty wide meadows here, I suppose?"

"No, not very wide," the Guide answered; "about the same as in England
and America."

After another long silence the Distinguished Naturalist said:

"The hay which we shall purchase for our horses this evening--I shall
expect to find the stalks about fifty feet long.  Am I right?"

"Why, no," said the Guide; "a foot or two is about the usual length of
our hay.  What can you be thinking of?"

The Distinguished Naturalist made no immediate reply, but later, as in
the shades of night they journeyed through the desolate vastness of the
Great Lone Land, he broke the silence:

"I was thinking," he said, "of the uncommon magnitude of that
grasshopper."



The Pavior


An Author saw a Labourer hammering stones into the pavement of a street,
and approaching him said:

"My friend, you seem weary.  Ambition is a hard taskmaster."

"I'm working for Mr. Jones, sir," the Labourer replied.

"Well, cheer up," the Author resumed; "fame comes at the most unexpected
times.  To-day you are poor, obscure, and disheartened, and to-morrow the
world may be ringing with your name."

"What are you giving me?" the Labourer said.  "Cannot an honest pavior
perform his work in peace, and get his money for it, and his living by
it, without others talking rot about ambition and hopes of fame?"

"Cannot an honest writer?" said the Author.



The Tried Assassin


An Assassin being put upon trial in a New England court, his Counsel rose
and said: "Your Honour, I move for a discharge on the ground of 'once in
jeopardy': my client has been already tried for that murder and
acquitted."

"In what court?" asked the Judge.

"In the Superior Court of San Francisco," the Counsel replied.

"Let the trial proceed--your motion is denied," said the Judge.  "An
Assassin is not in jeopardy when tried in California."



The Bumbo of Jiam


The Pahdour of Patagascar and the Gookul of Madagonia were disputing
about an island which both claimed.  Finally, at the suggestion of the
International League of Cannon Founders, which had important branches in
both countries, they decided to refer their claims to the Bumbo of Jiam,
and abide by his judgment.  In settling the preliminaries of the
arbitration they had, however, the misfortune to disagree, and appealed
to arms.  At the end of a long and disastrous war, when both sides were
exhausted and bankrupt, the Bumbo of Jiam intervened in the interest of
peace.

"My great and good friends," he said to his brother sovereigns, "it will
be advantageous to you to learn that some questions are more complex and
perilous than others, presenting a greater number of points upon which it
is possible to differ.  For four generations your royal predecessors
disputed about possession of that island, without falling out.  Beware,
oh, beware the perils of international arbitration!--against which I feel
it my duty to protect you henceforth."

So saying, he annexed both countries, and after a long, peaceful, and
happy reign was poisoned by his Prime Minister.



The Two Poets


Two Poets were quarrelling for the Apple of Discord and the Bone of
Contention, for they were very hungry.

"My sons," said Apollo, "I will part the prizes between you.  You," he
said to the First Poet, "excel in Art--take the Apple.  And you," he said
to the Second Poet, "in Imagination--take the Bone."

"To Art the best prize!" said the First Poet, triumphantly, and
endeavouring to devour his award broke all his teeth.  The Apple was a
work of Art.

"That shows our Master's contempt for mere Art," said the Second Poet,
grinning.

Thereupon he attempted to gnaw his Bone, but his teeth passed through it
without resistance.  It was an imaginary Bone.



The Thistles upon the Grave


A Mind Reader made a wager that he would be buried alive and remain so
for six months, then be dug up alive.  In order to secure the grave
against secret disturbance, it was sown with thistles.  At the end of
three months, the Mind Reader lost his money.  He had come up to eat the
thistles.



The Shadow of the Leader


A Political Leader was walking out one sunny day, when he observed his
Shadow leaving him and walking rapidly away.

"Come back here, you scoundrel," he cried.

"If I had been a scoundrel," answered the Shadow, increasing its speed,
"I should not have left you."



The Sagacious Rat


A Rat that was about to emerge from his hole caught a glimpse of a Cat
waiting for him, and descending to the colony at the bottom of the hole
invited a Friend to join him in a visit to a neighbouring corn-bin.  "I
would have gone alone," he said, "but could not deny myself the pleasure
of such distinguished company."

"Very well," said the Friend, "I will go with you.  Lead on."

"Lead?" exclaimed the other.  "What!  _I_ precede so great and
illustrious a rat as you? No, indeed--after you, sir, after you."

Pleased with this great show of deference, the Friend went ahead, and,
leaving the hole first, was caught by the Cat, who immediately trotted
away with him.  The other then went out unmolested.



The Member and the Soap


A Member of the Kansas Legislature meeting a Cake of Soap was passing it
by without recognition, but the Cake of Soap insisted on stopping and
shaking hands.  Thinking it might possibly be in the enjoyment of the
elective franchise, he gave it a cordial and earnest grasp.  On letting
it go he observed that a portion of it adhered to his fingers, and
running to a brook in great alarm he proceeded to wash it off.  In doing
so he necessarily got some on the other hand, and when he had finished
washing, both were so white that he went to bed and sent for a physician.



Alarm and Pride


"Good-Morning, my friend," said Alarm to Pride; "how are you this
morning?"

"Very tired," replied Pride, seating himself on a stone by the wayside
and mopping his steaming brow.  "The politicians are wearing me out by
pointing to their dirty records with _me_, when they could as well use a
stick."

Alarm sighed sympathetically, and said:

"It is pretty much the same way here.  Instead of using an opera-glass
they view the acts of their opponents with _me_!"

As these patient drudges were mingling their tears, they were notified
that they must go on duty again, for one of the political parties had
nominated a thief and was about to hold a gratification meeting.



A Causeway


A Rich Woman having returned from abroad disembarked at the foot of Knee-
deep Street, and was about to walk to her hotel through the mud.

"Madam," said a Policeman, "I cannot permit you to do that; you would
soil your shoes and stockings."

"Oh, that is of no importance, really," replied the Rich Woman, with a
cheerful smile.

"But, madam, it is needless; from the wharf to the hotel, as you observe,
extends an unbroken line of prostrate newspaper men who crave the honour
of having you walk upon them."

"In that case," she said, seating herself in a doorway and unlocking her
satchel, "I shall have to put on my rubber boots."



Two in Trouble


Meeting a fat and patriotic Statesman on his way to Washington to beseech
the President for an office, an idle Tramp accosted him and begged twenty-
five cents with which to buy a suit of clothes.

"Melancholy wreck," said the Statesman, "what brought you to this state
of degradation?  Liquor, I suppose."

"I am temperate to the verge of absurdity," replied the Tramp.  "My
foible was patriotism; I was ruined by the baneful habit of trying to
serve my country.  What ruined you?"

"Indolence."



The Witch's Steed


A Broomstick which had long served a witch as a steed complained of the
nature of its employment, which it thought degrading.

"Very well," said the Witch, "I will give you work in which you will be
associated with intellect--you will come in contact with brains.  I shall
present you to a housewife."

"What!" said the Broomstick, "do you consider the hands of a housewife
intellectual?"

"I referred," said the Witch, "to the head of her good man."



The All Dog


A Lion seeing a Poodle fell into laughter at the ridiculous spectacle.

"Who ever saw so small a beast?" he said.

"It is very true," said the Poodle, with austere dignity, "that I am
small; but, sir, I beg to observe that I am all dog."



The Farmer's Friend


A Great Philanthropist who had thought of himself in connection with the
Presidency and had introduced a bill into Congress requiring the
Government to loan every voter all the money that he needed, on his
personal security, was explaining to a Sunday-school at a railway station
how much he had done for the country, when an angel looked down from
Heaven and wept.

"For example," said the Great Philanthropist, watching the teardrops
pattering in the dust, "these early rains are of incalculable advantage
to the farmer."



Physicians Two


A Wicked Old Man finding himself ill sent for a Physician, who prescribed
for him and went away.  Then the Wicked Old Man sent for another
Physician, saying nothing of the first, and an entirely different
treatment was ordered.  This continued for some weeks, the physicians
visiting him on alternate days and treating him for two different
disorders, with constantly enlarging doses of medicine and more and more
rigorous nursing.  But one day they accidently met at his bedside while
he slept, and the truth coming out a violent quarrel ensued.

"My good friends," said the patient, awakened by the noise of the
dispute, and apprehending the cause of it, "pray be more reasonable.  If
I could for weeks endure you both, can you not for a little while endure
each other?  I have been well for ten days, but have remained in bed in
the hope of gaining by repose the strength that would justify me in
taking your medicines.  So far I have touched none of it."



The Overlooked Factor


A Man that owned a fine Dog, and by a careful selection of its mate had
bred a number of animals but a little lower than the angels, fell in love
with his washerwoman, married her, and reared a family of dolts.

"Alas!" he exclaimed, contemplating the melancholy result, "had I but
chosen a mate for myself with half the care that I did for my Dog I
should now be a proud and happy father."

"I'm not so sure of that," said the Dog, overhearing the lament.  "There's
a difference, certainly, between your whelps and mine, but I venture to
flatter myself that it is not due altogether to the mothers.  You and I
are not entirely alike ourselves."



A Racial Parallel


Some White Christians engaged in driving Chinese Heathens out of an
American town found a newspaper published in Peking in the Chinese
tongue, and compelled one of their victims to translate an editorial.  It
turned out to be an appeal to the people of the Province of Pang Ki to
drive the foreign devils out of the country and burn their dwellings and
churches.  At this evidence of Mongolian barbarity the White Christians
were so greatly incensed that they carried out their original design.



The Honest Cadi


A Robber who had plundered a Merchant of one thousand pieces of gold was
taken before the Cadi, who asked him if he had anything to say why he
should not be decapitated.

"Your Honour," said the Robber, "I could do no otherwise than take the
money, for Allah made me that way."

"Your defence is ingenious and sound," said the Cadi, "and I must acquit
you of criminality.  Unfortunately, Allah has made me so that I must also
take off your head--unless," he added, thoughtfully, "you offer me half
of the gold; for He made me weak under temptation."

Thereupon the Robber put five hundred pieces of gold into the Cadi's
hand.

"Good," said the Cadi.  "I shall now remove but one half your head.  To
show my trust in your discretion I shall leave intact the half you talk
with."



The Kangaroo and the Zebra


A Kangaroo hopping awkwardly along with some bulky object concealed in
her pouch met a Zebra, and desirous of keeping his attention upon
himself, said:

"Your costume looks as if you might have come out of the penitentiary."

"Appearances are deceitful," replied the Zebra, smiling in the
consciousness of a more insupportable wit, "or I should have to think
that you had come out of the Legislature."



A Matter of Method


A Philosopher seeing a Fool beating his Donkey, said:

"Abstain, my son, abstain, I implore.  Those who resort to violence shall
suffer from violence."

"That," said the Fool, diligently belabouring the animal, "is what I'm
trying to teach this beast--which has kicked me."

"Doubtless," said the Philosopher to himself, as he walked away, "the
wisdom of fools is no deeper nor truer than ours, but they really do seem
to have a more impressive way of imparting it."



The Man of Principle


During a shower of rain the Keeper of a Zoological garden observed a Man
of Principle crouching beneath the belly of the ostrich, which had drawn
itself up to its full height to sleep.

"Why, my dear sir," said the Keeper, "if you fear to get wet, you'd
better creep into the pouch of yonder female kangaroo--the _Saltarix
mackintosha_--for if that ostrich wakes he will kick you to death in a
minute."

"I can't help that," the Man of Principle replied, with that lofty scorn
of practical considerations distinguishing his species.  "He may kick me
to death if he wish, but until he does he shall give me shelter from the
storm.  He has swallowed my umbrella."



The Returned Californian


A Man was hanged by the neck until he was dead.

"Whence do you come?" Saint Peter asked when the Man presented himself at
the gate of Heaven.

"From California," replied the applicant.

"Enter, my son, enter; you bring joyous tidings."

When the Man had vanished inside, Saint Peter took his memorandum-tablet
and made the following entry:

"February 16, 1893.  California occupied by the Christians."



The Compassionate Physician


A Kind-Hearted Physician sitting at the bedside of a patient afflicted
with an incurable and painful disease, heard a noise behind him, and
turning saw a cat laughing at the feeble efforts of a wounded mouse to
drag itself out of the room.

"You cruel beast!" cried he.  "Why don't you kill it at once, like a
lady?"

Rising, he kicked the cat out of the door, and picking up the mouse
compassionately put it out of its misery by pulling off its head.
Recalled to the bedside by the moans of his patient, the Kind-hearted
Physician administered a stimulant, a tonic, and a nutrient, and went
away.



Two of the Damned


Two Blighted Beings, haggard, lachrymose, and detested, met on a blasted
heath in the light of a struggling moon.

"I wish you a merry Christmas," said the First Blighted Being, in a voice
like that of a singing tomb.

"And I you a happy New Year," responded the Second Blighted Being, with
the accent of a penitent accordeon.

They then fell upon each other's neck and wept scalding rills down each
other's spine in token of their banishment to the Realm of Ineffable
Bosh.  For one of these accursed creatures was the First of January, and
the other the Twenty-fifth of December.



The Austere Governor


A Governor visiting a State prison was implored by a Convict to pardon
him.

"What are you in for?" asked the Governor.

"I held a high office," the Convict humbly replied, "and sold subordinate
appointments."

"Then I decline to interfere," said the Governor, with asperity; "a man
who abuses his office by making it serve a private end and purvey a
personal advantage is unfit to be free.  By the way, Mr. Warden," he
added to that official, as the Convict slunk away, "in appointing you to
this position, I was given to understand that your friends could make the
Shikane county delegation to the next State convention solid for--for the
present Administration.  Was I rightly informed?"

"You were, sir."

"Very well, then, I will bid you good-day.  Please be so good as to
appoint my nephew Night Chaplain and Reminder of Mothers and Sisters."



Religions of Error


Hearing a sound of strife, a Christian in the Orient asked his Dragoman
the cause of it.

"The Buddhists are cutting Mohammedan throats," the Dragoman replied,
with oriental composure.

"I did not know," remarked the Christian, with scientific interest, "that
that would make so much noise."

"The Mohammedans are cutting Buddhist throats, too," added the Dragoman.

"It is astonishing," mused the Christian, "how violent and how general
are religious animosities.  Everywhere in the world the devotees of each
local faith abhor the devotees of every other, and abstain from murder
only so long as they dare not commit it.  And the strangest thing about
it is that all religions are erroneous and mischievous excepting mine.
Mine, thank God, is true and benign."

So saying he visibly smugged and went off to telegraph for a brigade of
cutthroats to protect Christian interests.



The Penitent Elector


A Person belonging to the Society for Passing Resolutions of Respect for
the Memory of Deceased Members having died received the customary
attention.

"Good Heavens!" exclaimed a Sovereign Elector, on hearing the resolutions
read, "what a loss to the nation!  And to think that I once voted against
that angel for Inspector of Gate-latches in Public Squares!"

In remorse the Sovereign Elector deprived himself of political influence
by learning to read.



The Tail of the Sphinx


A Dog of a taciturn disposition said to his Tail:

"Whenever I am angry, you rise and bristle; when I am pleased, you wag;
when I am alarmed, you tuck yourself in out of danger.  You are too
mercurial--you disclose all my emotions.  My notion is that tails are
given to conceal thought.  It is my dearest ambition to be as impassive
as the Sphinx."

"My friend, you must recognise the laws and limitations of your being,"
replied the Tail, with flexions appropriate to the sentiments uttered,
"and try to be great some other way.  The Sphinx has one hundred and
fifty qualifications for impassiveness which you lack."

"What are they?" the Dog asked.

"One hundred and forty-nine tons of sand on her tail."

"And--?"

"A stone tail."



A Prophet of Evil


An Undertaker Who Was a Member of a Trust saw a Man Leaning on a Spade,
and asked him why he was not at work.

"Because," said the Man Leaning on a Spade, "I belong to the
Gravediggers' National Extortion Society, and we have decided to limit
the production of graves and get more money for the reduced output.  We
have a corner in graves and propose to work it to the best advantage."

"My friend," said the Undertaker Who Was a Member of a Trust, "this is a
most hateful and injurious scheme.  If people cannot be assured of
graves, I fear they will no longer die, and the best interests of
civilisation will wither like a frosted leaf."

And blowing his eyes upon his handkerchief, he walked away lamenting.



The Crew of the Life-boat


The Gallant Crew at a life-saving station were about to launch their life-
boat for a spin along the coast when they discovered, but a little
distance away, a capsized vessel with a dozen men clinging to her keel.

"We are fortunate," said the Gallant Crew, "to have seen that in time.
Our fate might have been the same as theirs."

So they hauled the life-boat back into its house, and were spared to the
service of their country.



A Treaty of Peace


Through massacres of each other's citizens China and the United States
had been four times plunged into devastating wars, when, in the year
1994, arose a Philosopher in Madagascar, who laid before the Governments
of the two distracted countries the following _modus vivendi_:

"Massacres are to be sternly forbidden as heretofore; but any citizen or
subject of either country disobeying the injunction is to detach the
scalps of all persons massacred and deposit them with a local officer
designated to receive and preserve them and sworn to keep and render a
true account thereof.  At the conclusion of each massacre in either
country, or as soon thereafter as practicable, or at stated regular
periods, as may be provided by treaty, there shall be an exchange of
scalps between the two Governments, scalp for scalp, without regard to
sex or age; the Government having the greatest number is to be taxed on
the excess at the rate of $1000 a scalp, and the other Government
credited with the amount.  Once in every decade there shall be a general
settlement, when the balance due shall be paid to the creditor nation in
Mexican dollars."

The plan was adopted, the necessary treaty made, with legislation to
carry out its provisions; the Madagascarene Philosopher took his seat in
the Temple of Immortality, and Peace spread her white wings over the two
nations, to the unspeakable defiling of her plumage.



The Nightside of Character


A Gifted and Honourable Editor, who by practice of his profession had
acquired wealth and distinction, applied to an Old Friend for the hand of
his daughter in marriage.

"With all my heart, and God bless you!" said the Old Friend, grasping him
by both hands.  "It is a greater honour than I had dared to hope for."

"I knew what your answer would be," replied the Gifted and Honourable
Editor.  "And yet," he added, with a sly smile, "I feel that I ought to
give you as much knowledge of my character as I possess.  In this scrap-
book is such testimony relating to my shady side, as I have within the
past ten years been able to cut from the columns of my competitors in the
business of elevating humanity to a higher plane of mind and morals--my
'loathsome contemporaries.'"

Laying the book on a table, he withdrew in high spirits to make
arrangements for the wedding.  Three days later he received the scrap-
book from a messenger, with a note warning him never again to darken his
Old Friend's door.

"See!" the Gifted and Honourable Editor exclaimed, pointing to that
injunction--"I am a painter and grainer!"

And he was led away to the Asylum for the Indiscreet.



The Faithful Cashier


The Cashier of a bank having defaulted was asked by the Directors what he
had done with the money taken.

"I am greatly surprised by such a question," said the Cashier; "it sounds
as if you suspected me of selfishness.  Gentlemen, I applied that money
to the purpose for which I took it; I paid it as an initiation fee and
one year's dues in advance to the Treasurer of the Cashiers' Mutual
Defence Association."

"What is the object of that organisation?" the Directors inquired.

"When any one of its members is under suspicion," replied the Cashier,
"the Association undertakes to clear his character by submitting evidence
that he was never a prominent member of any church, nor foremost in
Sunday-school work."

Recognising the value to the bank of a spotless reputation for its
officers, the President drew his check for the amount of the shortage and
the Cashier was restored to favour.



The Circular Clew


A Detective searching for the murderer of a dead man was accosted by a
Clew.

"Follow me," said the Clew, "and there's no knowing what you may
discover."

So the Detective followed the Clew a whole year through a thousand
sinuosities, and at last found himself in the office of the Morgue.

"There!" said the Clew, pointing to the open register.

The Detective eagerly scanned the page, and found an official statement
that the deceased was dead.  Thereupon he hastened to Police Headquarters
to report progress.  The Clew, meanwhile, sauntered among the busy haunts
of men, arm in arm with an Ingenious Theory.



The Devoted Widow


A Widow weeping on her husband's grave was approached by an Engaging
Gentleman who, in a respectful manner, assured her that he had long
entertained for her the most tender feelings.

"Wretch!" cried the Widow.  "Leave me this instant!  Is this a time to
talk to me of love?"

"I assure you, madam, that I had not intended to disclose my affection,"
the Engaging Gentleman humbly explained, "but the power of your beauty
has overcome my discretion."

"You should see me when I have not been crying," said the Widow.



The Hardy Patriots


A Dispenser-Elect of Patronage gave notice through the newspapers that
applicants for places would be given none until he should assume the
duties of his office.

"You are exposing yourself to a grave danger," said a Lawyer.

"How so?" the Dispenser-Elect inquired.

"It will be nearly two months," the Lawyer answered, "before the day that
you mention.  Few patriots can live so long without eating, and some of
the applicants will be compelled to go to work in the meantime.  If that
kills them, you will be liable to prosecution for murder."

"You underrate their powers of endurance," the official replied.

"What!" said the Lawyer, "you think they can stand work?"

"No," said the other--"hunger."



The Humble Peasant


An Office Seeker whom the President had ordered out of Washington was
watering the homeward highway with his tears.

"Ah," he said, "how disastrous is ambition! how unsatisfying its rewards!
how terrible its disappointments!  Behold yonder peasant tilling his
field in peace and contentment!  He rises with the lark, passes the day
in wholesome toil, and lies down at night to pleasant dreams.  In the mad
struggle for place and power he has no part; the roar of the strife
reaches his ear like the distant murmur of the ocean.  Happy, thrice
happy man!  I will approach him and bask in the sunshine of his humble
felicity.  Peasant, all hail!"

Leaning upon his rake, the Peasant returned the salutation with a nod,
but said nothing.

"My friend," said the Office Seeker, "you see before you the wreck of an
ambitious man--ruined by the pursuit of place and power.  This morning
when I set out from the national capital--"

"Stranger," the Peasant interrupted, "if you're going back there soon
maybe you wouldn't mind using your influence to make me Postmaster at
Smith's Corners."

The traveller passed on.



The Various Delegation


The King of Wideout having been offered the sovereignty of Wayoff, sent
for the Three Persons who had made the offer, and said to them:

"I am extremely obliged to you, but before accepting so great a
responsibility I must ascertain the sentiments of the people of Wayoff."

"Sire," said the Spokesman of the Three Persons, "they stand before you."

"Indeed!" said the King; "are you, then, the people of Wayoff?"

"Yes, your Majesty."

"There are not many of you," the King said, attentively regarding them
with the royal eye, "and you are not so very large; I hardly think you
are a quorum.  Moreover, I never heard of you until you came here;
whereas Wayoff is noted for the quality of its pork and contains hogs of
distinction.  I shall send a Commissioner to ascertain the sentiments of
the hogs."

The Three Persons, bowing profoundly, backed out of the presence; but
soon afterward they desired another audience, and, on being readmitted,
said, through their Spokesman:

"May it please your Majesty, we are the hogs."



The No Case


A Statesman who had been indicted by an unfeeling Grand Jury was arrested
by a Sheriff and thrown into jail.  As this was abhorrent to his fine
spiritual nature, he sent for the District Attorney and asked that the
case against him be dismissed.

"Upon what grounds?" asked the District Attorney.

"Lack of evidence to convict," replied the accused.

"Do you happen to have the lack with you?" the official asked.  "I should
like to see it."

"With pleasure," said the other; "here it is."

So saying he handed the other a check, which the District Attorney
carefully examined, and then pronounced it the most complete absence of
both proof and presumption that he had ever seen.  He said it would
acquit the oldest man in the world.



A Harmless Visitor


At a meeting of the Golden League of Mystery a Woman was discovered,
writing in a note-book.  A member directed the attention of the Superb
High Chairman to her, and she was asked to explain her presence there,
and what she was doing.

"I came in for my own pleasure and instruction," she said, "and was so
struck by the wisdom of the speakers that I could not help making a few
notes."

"Madam," said the Superb High Chairman, "we have no objection to visitors
if they will pledge themselves not to publish anything they hear.  Are
you--on your honour as a lady, now, madam--are you not connected with
some newspaper?"

"Good gracious, no!" cried the Woman, earnestly.  "Why, sir, I am an
officer of the Women's Press Association!"

She was permitted to remain, and presented with resolutions of apology.



The Judge and the Rash Act


A Judge who had for years looked in vain for an opportunity for infamous
distinction, but whom no litigant thought worth bribing, sat one day upon
the Bench, lamenting his hard lot, and threatening to put an end to his
life if business did not improve.  Suddenly he found himself confronted
by a dreadful figure clad in a shroud, whose pallor and stony eyes smote
him with a horrible apprehension.

"Who are you," he faltered, "and why do you come here?"

"I am the Rash Act," was the sepulchral reply; "you may commit me."

"No," the judge said, thoughtfully, "no, that would be quite irregular.  I
do not sit to-day as a committing magistrate."



The Prerogative of Might


A Slander travelling rapidly through the land upon its joyous mission was
accosted by a Retraction and commanded to halt and be killed.

"Your career of mischief is at an end," said the Retraction, drawing his
club, rolling up his sleeves, and spitting on his hands.

"Why should you slay me?" protested the Slander.  "Whatever my intentions
were, I have been innocuous, for you have dogged my strides and
counteracted my influence."

"Dogged your grandmother!" said the Retraction, with contemptuous
vulgarity of speech.  "In the order of nature it is appointed that we two
shall never travel the same road."

"How then," the Slander asked, triumphantly, "have you overtaken me?"

"I have not," replied the Retraction; "we have accidentally met.  I came
round the world the other way."

But when he tried to execute his fell purpose he found that in the order
of nature it was appointed that he himself perish miserably in the
encounter.



An Inflated Ambition


The President of a great Corporation went into a dry-goods shop and saw a
placard which read:

"If You Don't See What You Want, Ask For It."

Approaching the shopkeeper, who had been narrowly observing him as he
read the placard, he was about to speak, when the shopkeeper called to a
salesman:

"John, show this gentleman the world."



Rejected Services


A Heavy Operator overtaken by a Reverse of Fortune was bewailing his
sudden fall from affluence to indigence.

"Do not weep," said the Reverse of Fortune.  "You need not suffer alone.
Name any one of the men who have opposed your schemes, and I will
overtake _him_."

"It is hardly worth while," said the victim, earnestly.  "Not a soul of
them has a cent!"



The Power of the Scalawag


A Forestry Commissioner had just felled a giant tree when, seeing an
honest man approaching, he dropped his axe and fled.  The next day when
he cautiously returned to get his axe, he found the following lines
pencilled on the stump:

   "What nature reared by centuries of toil,
   A scalawag in half a day can spoil;
   An equal fate for him may Heaven provide--
   Damned in the moment of his tallest pride."



At Large--One Temper


A Turbulent Person was brought before a Judge to be tried for an assault
with intent to commit murder, and it was proved that he had been
variously obstreperous without apparent provocation, had affected the
peripheries of several luckless fellow-citizens with the trunk of a small
tree, and subsequently cleaned out the town.  While trying to palliate
these misdeeds, the defendant's Attorney turned suddenly to the Judge,
saying:

"Did your Honour ever lose your temper?"

"I fine you twenty-five dollars for contempt of court!" roared the Judge,
in wrath.  "How dare you mention the loss of my temper in connection with
this case?"

After a moment's silence the Attorney said, meekly:

"I thought my client might perhaps have found it."



The Seeker and the Sought


A Politician seeing a fat Turkey which he wanted for dinner, baited a
hook with a grain of corn and dragged it before the fowl at the end of a
long and almost invisible line.  When the Turkey had swallowed the hook,
the Politician ran, drawing the creature after him.

"Fellow-citizens," he cried, addressing some turkey-breeders whom he met,
"you observe that the man does not seek the bird, but the bird seeks the
man.  For this unsolicited and unexpected dinner I thank you with all my
heart."



His Fly-Speck Majesty


A Distinguished Advocate of Republican Institutions was seen pickling his
shins in the ocean.

"Why don't you come out on dry land?" said the Spectator.  "What are you
in there for?"

"Sir," replied the Distinguished Advocate of Republican Institutions, "a
ship is expected, bearing His Majesty the King of the Fly-Speck Islands,
and I wish to be the first to grasp the crowned hand."

"But," said the Spectator, "you said in your famous speech before the
Society for the Prevention of the Protrusion of Nail Heads from Plank
Sidewalks that Kings were blood-smeared oppressors and hell-bound
loafers."

"My dear sir," said the Distinguished Advocate of Republican
Institutions, without removing his eyes from the horizon, "you wander
away into the strangest irrelevancies!  I spoke of Kings in the
abstract."



The Pugilist's Diet


The Trainer of a Pugilist consulted a Physician regarding the champion's
diet.

"Beef-steaks are too tender," said the Physician; "have his meat cut from
the neck of a bull."

"I thought the steaks more digestible," the Trainer explained.

"That is very true," said the Physician; "but they do not sufficiently
exercise the chin."



The Old Man and the Pupil


A Beautiful Old Man, meeting a Sunday-school Pupil, laid his hand
tenderly upon the lad's head, saying: "Listen, my son, to the words of
the wise and heed the advice of the righteous."

"All right," said the Sunday-school Pupil; "go ahead."

"Oh, I haven't anything to do with it myself," said the Beautiful Old
Man.  "I am only observing one of the customs of the age.  I am a
pirate."

And when he had taken his hand from the lad's head, the latter observed
that his hair was full of clotted blood.  Then the Beautiful Old Man went
his way, instructing other youth.



The Deceased and his Heirs


A Man died leaving a large estate and many sorrowful relations who
claimed it.  After some years, when all but one had had judgment given
against them, that one was awarded the estate, which he asked his
Attorney to have appraised.

"There is nothing to appraise," said the Attorney, pocketing his last
fee.

"Then," said the Successful Claimant, "what good has all this litigation
done me?"

"You have been a good client to me," the Attorney replied, gathering up
his books and papers, "but I must say you betray a surprising ignorance
of the purpose of litigation."



The Politicians and the Plunder


Several Political Entities were dividing the spoils.

"I will take the management of the prisons," said a Decent Respect for
Public Opinion, "and make a radical change."

"And I," said the Blotted Escutcheon, "will retain my present general
connection with affairs, while my friend here, the Soiled Ermine, will
remain in the Judiciary."

The Political Pot said it would not boil any more unless replenished from
the Filthy Pool.

The Cohesive Power of Public Plunder quietly remarked that the two bosses
would, he supposed, naturally be his share.

"No," said the Depth of Degradation, "they have already fallen to me."



The Man and the Wart


A Person with a Wart on His Nose met a Person Similarly Afflicted, and
said:

"Let me propose your name for membership in the Imperial Order of
Abnormal Proboscidians, of which I am the High Noble Toby and
Surreptitious Treasurer.  Two months ago I was the only member.  One
month ago there were two.  To-day we number four Emperors of the Abnormal
Proboscis in good standing--doubles every four weeks, see?  That's
geometrical progression--you know how that piles up.  In a year and a
half every man in California will have a wart on his Nose.  Powerful
Order!  Initiation, five dollars."

"My friend," said the Person Similarly Afflicted, "here are five dollars.
Keep my name off your books."

"Thank you kindly," the Man with a Wart on His Nose replied, pocketing
the money; "it is just the same to us as if you joined.  Good-by."

He went away, but in a little while he was back.

"I quite forgot to mention the monthly dues," he said.



The Divided Delegation


A Delegation at Washington went to a New President, and said:

"Your Excellency, we are unable to agree upon a Favourite Son to
represent us in your Cabinet."

"Then," said the New President, "I shall have to lock you up until you do
agree."

So the Delegation was cast into the deepest dungeon beneath the moat,
where it maintained a divided mind for many weeks, but finally reconciled
its differences and asked to be taken before the New President.

"My child," said he, "nothing is so beautiful as harmony.  My Cabinet
Selections were all made before our former interview, but you have
supplied a noble instance of patriotism in subordinating your personal
preferences to the general good.  Go now to your beautiful homes and be
happy."

It is not recorded that the Delegation was happy.



A Forfeited Right


The Chief of the Weather Bureau having predicted a fine day, a Thrifty
Person hastened to lay in a large stock of umbrellas, which he exposed
for sale on the sidewalk; but the weather remained clear, and nobody
would buy.  Thereupon the Thrifty Person brought an action against the
Chief of the Weather Bureau for the cost of the umbrellas.

"Your Honour," said the defendant's attorney, when the case was called,
"I move that this astonishing action be dismissed.  Not only is my client
in no way responsible for the loss, but he distinctly foreshadowed the
very thing that caused it."

"That is just it, your Honour," replied the counsel for the plaintiff;
"the defendant by making a correct forecast fooled my client in the only
way that he could do so.  He has lied so much and so notoriously that he
has neither the legal nor moral right to tell the truth."

Judgment for the plaintiff.



Revenge


An Insurance Agent was trying to induce a Hard Man to Deal With to take
out a policy on his house.  After listening to him for an hour, while he
painted in vivid colours the extreme danger of fire consuming the house,
the Hard Man to Deal With said:

"Do you really think it likely that my house will burn down inside the
time that policy will run?"

"Certainly," replied the Insurance Agent; "have I not been trying all
this time to convince you that I do?"

"Then," said the Hard Man to Deal With, "why are you so anxious to have
your Company bet me money that it will not?"

The Agent was silent and thoughtful for a moment; then he drew the other
apart into an unfrequented place and whispered in his ear:

"My friend, I will impart to you a dark secret.  Years ago the Company
betrayed my sweetheart by promise of marriage.  Under an assumed name I
have wormed myself into its service for revenge; and as there is a heaven
above us, I will have its heart's blood!"



An Optimist


Two Frogs in the belly of a snake were considering their altered
circumstances.

"This is pretty hard luck," said one.

"Don't jump to conclusions," the other said; "we are out of the wet and
provided with board and lodging."

"With lodging, certainly," said the First Frog; "but I don't see the
board."

"You are a croaker," the other explained.  "We are ourselves the board."



A Valuable Suggestion


A Big Nation having a quarrel with a Little Nation, resolved to terrify
its antagonist by a grand naval demonstration in the latter's principal
port.  So the Big Nation assembled all its ships of war from all over the
world, and was about to send them three hundred and fifty thousand miles
to the place of rendezvous, when the President of the Big Nation received
the following note from the President of the Little Nation:

"My great and good friend, I hear that you are going to show us your
navy, in order to impress us with a sense of your power.  How needless
the expense!  To prove to you that we already know all about it, I
inclose herewith a list and description of all the ships you have."

The great and good friend was so struck by the hard sense of the letter
that he kept his navy at home, and saved one thousand million dollars.
This economy enabled him to buy a satisfactory decision when the cause of
the quarrel was submitted to arbitration.



Two Footpads


Two Footpads sat at their grog in a roadside resort, comparing the
evening's adventures.

"I stood up the Chief of Police," said the First Footpad, "and I got away
with what he had."

"And I," said the Second Footpad, "stood up the United States District
Attorney, and got away with--"

"Good Lord!" interrupted the other in astonishment and admiration--"you
got away with what that fellow had?"

"No," the unfortunate narrator explained--"with a small part of what _I_
had."



Equipped for Service


During the Civil War a Patriot was passing through the State of Maryland
with a pass from the President to join Grant's army and see the fighting.
Stopping a day at Annapolis, he visited the shop of a well-known optician
and ordered seven powerful telescopes, one for every day in the week.  In
recognition of this munificent patronage of the State's languishing
industries, the Governor commissioned him a colonel.



The Basking Cyclone


A Negro in a boat, gathering driftwood, saw a sleeping Alligator, and,
thinking it was a log, fell to estimating the number of shingles it would
make for his new cabin.  Having satisfied his mind on that point, he
stuck his boat-hook into the beast's back to harvest his good fortune.
Thereupon the saurian emerged from his dream and took to the water,
greatly to the surprise of the man-and-brother.

"I never befo' seen such a cyclone as dat," he exclaimed as soon as he
had recovered his breath.  "It done carry away de ruf of my house!"



At the Pole


After a great expenditure of life and treasure a Daring Explorer had
succeeded in reaching the North Pole, when he was approached by a Native
Galeut who lived there.

"Good morning," said the Native Galeut.  "I'm very glad to see you, but
why did you come here?"

"Glory," said the Daring Explorer, curtly.

"Yes, yes, I know," the other persisted; "but of what benefit to man is
your discovery?  To what truths does it give access which were
inaccessible before?--facts, I mean, having a scientific value?"

"I'll be Tom scatted if I know," the great man replied, frankly; "you
will have to ask the Scientist of the Expedition."

But the Scientist of the Expedition explained that he had been so
engrossed with the care of his instruments and the study of his tables
that he had found no time to think of it.



The Optimist and the Cynic


A Man who had experienced the favours of fortune and was an Optimist, met
a man who had experienced an optimist and was a Cynic.  So the Cynic
turned out of the road to let the Optimist roll by in his gold carriage.

"My son," said the Optimist, stopping the gold carriage, "you look as if
you had not a friend in the world."

"I don't know if I have or not," replied the Cynic, "for you have the
world."



The Poet and the Editor


"My dear sir," said the editor to the man, who had called to see about
his poem, "I regret to say that owing to an unfortunate altercation in
this office the greater part of your manuscript is illegible; a bottle of
ink was upset upon it, blotting out all but the first line--that is to
say--"

"'The autumn leaves were falling, falling.'

"Unluckily, not having read the poem, I was unable to supply the
incidents that followed; otherwise we could have given them in our own
words.  If the news is not stale, and has not already appeared in the
other papers, perhaps you will kindly relate what occurred, while I make
notes of it.

"'The autumn leaves were falling, falling,'

"Go on."

"What!" said the poet, "do you expect me to reproduce the entire poem
from memory?"

"Only the substance of it--just the leading facts.  We will add whatever
is necessary in the way of amplification and embellishment.  It will
detain you but a moment.

"'The autumn leaves were falling, falling--'

"Now, then."

There was a sound of a slow getting up and going away.  The chronicler of
passing events sat through it, motionless, with suspended pen; and when
the movement was complete Poesy was represented in that place by nothing
but a warm spot on the wooden chair.



The Taken Hand


A Successful Man of Business, having occasion to write to a Thief,
expressed a wish to see him and shake hands.

"No," replied the Thief, "there are some things which I will not
take--among them your hand."

"You must use a little strategy," said a Philosopher to whom the
Successful Man of Business had reported the Thief's haughty reply.  "Leave
your hand out some night, and he will take it."

So one night the Successful Man of Business left his hand out of his
neighbour's pocket, and the Thief took it with avidity.



An Unspeakable Imbecile


A Judge said to a Convicted Assassin:

"Prisoner at the bar, have you anything to say why the death-sentence
should not be passed upon you?"

"Will what I say make any difference?" asked the Convicted Assassin.

"I do not see how it can," the Judge answered, reflectively.  "No, it
will not."

"Then," said the doomed one, "I should just like to remark that you are
the most unspeakable old imbecile in seven States and the District of
Columbia."



A Needful War


The people of Madagonia had an antipathy to the people of Novakatka and
set upon some sailors of a Novakatkan vessel, killing two and wounding
twelve.  The King of Madagonia having refused either to apologise or pay,
the King of Novakatka made war upon him, saying that it was necessary to
show that Novakatkans must not be slaughtered.  In the battles which
ensued the people of Madagonia slaughtered two thousand Novakatkans and
wounded twelve thousand.  But the Madagonians were unsuccessful, which so
chagrined them that never thereafter in all their land was a Novakatkan
secure in property or life.



The Mine Owner and the Jackass


While the Owner of a Silver Mine was on his way to attend a convention of
his species he was accosted by a Jackass, who said:

"By an unjust discrimination against quadrupeds I am made ineligible to a
seat in your convention; so I am compelled to seek representation through
you."

"It will give me great pleasure, sir," said the Owner of a Silver Mine,
"to serve one so closely allied to me in--in--well, you know," he added,
with a significant gesture of his two hands upward from the sides of his
head.  "What do you want?"

"Oh, nothing--nothing at all for myself individually," replied the
Donkey; "but his country's welfare should be a patriot's supreme care.  If
Americans are to retain the sacred liberties for which their fathers
strove, Congress must declare our independence of European dictation by
maintaining the price of mules."



The Dog and the Physician


A Dog that had seen a Physician attending the burial of a wealthy
patient, said: "When do you expect to dig it up?"

"Why should I dig it up?" the Physician asked.

"When I bury a bone," said the Dog, "it is with an intention to uncover
it later and pick it."

"The bones that I bury," said the Physician, "are those that I can no
longer pick."



The Party Manager and the Gentleman


A Party Manager said to a Gentleman whom he saw minding his own business:

"How much will you pay for a nomination to office?"

"Nothing," the Gentleman replied.

"But you will contribute something to the campaign fund to assist in your
election, will you not?" asked the Party Manager, winking.

"Oh, no," said the Gentleman, gravely.  "If the people wish me to work
for them, they must hire me without solicitation.  I am very comfortable
without office."

"But," urged the Party Manager, "an election is a thing to be desired.  It
is a high honour to be a servant of the people."

"If servitude is a high honour," the Gentleman said, "it would be
indecent for me to seek it; and if obtained by my own exertion it would
be no honour."

"Well," persisted the Party Manager, "you will at least, I hope, indorse
the party platform."

The Gentleman replied: "It is improbable that its authors have accurately
expressed my views without consulting me; and if I indorsed their work
without approving it I should be a liar."

"You are a detestable hypocrite and an idiot!" shouted the Party Manager.

"Even your good opinion of my fitness," replied the Gentleman, "shall not
persuade me."



The Legislator and the Citizen


An ex-Legislator asked a Most Respectable Citizen for a letter to the
Governor recommending him for appointment as Commissioner of Shrimps and
Crabs.

"Sir," said the Most Respectable Citizen, austerely, "were you not once
in the State Senate?"

"Not so bad as that, sir, I assure you," was the reply.  "I was a member
of the Slower House.  I was expelled for selling my influence for money."

"And you dare to ask for mine!" shouted the Most Respectable Citizen.
"You have the impudence?  A man who will accept bribes will probably
offer them.   Do you mean to--"

"I should not think of making a corrupt proposal to you, sir; but if I
were Commissioner of Shrimps and Crabs, I might have some influence with
the water-front population, and be able to help you make your fight for
Coroner."

"In that case I do not feel justified in denying you the letter."

So he took his pen, and, some demon guiding his hand, he wrote, greatly
to his astonishment:

   "Who sells his influence should stop it,
   An honest man will only swap it."



The Rainmaker


An Officer of the Government, with a great outfit of mule-waggons loaded
with balloons, kites, dynamite bombs, and electrical apparatus, halted in
the midst of a desert, where there had been no rain for ten years, and
set up a camp.  After several months of preparation and an expenditure of
a million dollars all was in readiness, and a series of tremendous
explosions occurred on the earth and in the sky.  This was followed by a
great down-pour of rain, which washed the unfortunate Officer of the
Government and the outfit off the face of creation and affected the
agricultural heart with joy too deep for utterance.  A Newspaper Reporter
who had just arrived escaped by climbing a hill near by, and there he
found the Sole Survivor of the expedition--a mule-driver--down on his
knees behind a mesquite bush, praying with extreme fervour.

"Oh, you can't stop it that way," said the Reporter.

"My fellow-traveller to the bar of God," replied the Sole Survivor,
looking up over his shoulder, "your understanding is in darkness.  I am
not stopping this great blessing; under Providence, I am bringing it."

"That is a pretty good joke," said the Reporter, laughing as well as he
could in the strangling rain--"a mule driver's prayer answered!"

"Child of levity and scoffing," replied the other; "you err again, misled
by these humble habiliments.  I am the Rev. Ezekiel Thrifft, a minister
of the gospel, now in the service of the great manufacturing firm of
Skinn & Sheer.  They make balloons, kites, dynamite bombs, and electrical
apparatus."



The Citizen and the Snakes


A Public-Spirited Citizen who had failed miserably in trying to secure a
National political convention for his city suffered acutely from
dejection.  While in that frame of mind he leaned thoughtlessly against a
druggist's show-window, wherein were one hundred and fifty kinds of
assorted snakes.  The glass breaking, the reptiles all escaped into the
street.

"When you can't do what you wish," said the Public-spirited Citizen, "it
is worth while to do what you can."



Fortune and the Fabulist


A Writer of Fables was passing through a lonely forest when he met a
Fortune.  Greatly alarmed, he tried to climb a tree, but the Fortune
pulled him down and bestowed itself upon him with cruel persistence.

"Why did you try to run away?" said the Fortune, when his struggles had
ceased and his screams were stilled.  "Why do you glare at me so
inhospitably?"

"I don't know what you are," replied the Writer of Fables, deeply
disturbed.

"I am wealth; I am respectability," the Fortune explained; "I am elegant
houses, a yacht, and a clean shirt every day.  I am leisure, I am travel,
wine, a shiny hat, and an unshiny coat.  I am enough to eat."

"All right," said the Writer of Fables, in a whisper; "but for goodness'
sake speak lower."

"Why so?" the Fortune asked, in surprise.

"So as not to wake me," replied the Writer of Fables, a holy calm
brooding upon his beautiful face.



A Smiling Idol


An Idol said to a Missionary, "My friend, why do you seek to bring me
into contempt?  If it had not been for me, what would you have been?
Remember thy creator that thy days be long in the land."

"I confess," replied the Missionary, fingering a number of ten-cent
pieces which a Sunday-school in his own country had forwarded to him,
"that I am a product of you, but I protest that you cannot quote
Scripture with accuracy and point.  Therefore will I continue to go up
against you with the Sword of the Spirit."

Shortly afterwards the Idol's worshippers held a great religious ceremony
at the base of his pedestal, and as a part of the rites the Missionary
was roasted whole.  As the tongue was removed for the high priest's
table, "Ah," said the Idol to himself, "that is the Sword of the
Spirit--the only Sword that is less dangerous when unsheathed."

And he smiled so pleasantly at his own wit that the provinces of
Ghargaroo, M'gwana, and Scowow were affected with a blight.



Philosophers Three


A Bear, a Fox, and an Opossum were attacked by an inundation.

"Death loves a coward," said the Bear, and went forward to fight the
flood.

"What a fool!" said the Fox.  "I know a trick worth two of that."  And he
slipped into a hollow stump.

"There are malevolent forces," said the Opossum, "which the wise will
neither confront nor avoid.  The thing is to know the nature of your
antagonist."

So saying the Opossum lay down and pretended to be dead.



The Boneless King


Some Apes who had deposed their king fell at once into dissension and
anarchy.  In this strait they sent a Deputation to a neighbouring tribe
to consult the Oldest and Wisest Ape in All the World.

"My children," said the Oldest and Wisest Ape in All the World, when he
had heard the Deputation, "you did right in ridding yourselves of
tyranny, but your tribe is not sufficiently advanced to dispense with the
forms of monarchy.  Entice the tyrant back with fair promises, kill him
and enthrone.  The skeleton of even the most lawless despot makes a good
constitutional sovereign."

At this the Deputation was greatly abashed.  "It is impossible," they
said, moving away; "our king has no skeleton; he was stuffed."



Uncalculating Zeal


A Man-Eating tiger was ravaging the Kingdom of Damnasia, and the King,
greatly concerned for the lives and limbs of his Royal subjects, promised
his daughter Zodroulra to any man who would kill the animal.  After some
days Camaraladdin appeared before the King and claimed the reward.

"But where is the tiger?" the King asked.

"May jackasses sing above my uncle's grave," replied Camaraladdin, "if I
dared go within a league of him!"

"Wretch!" cried the King, unsheathing his consoler-under-disappointment;
"how dare you claim my daughter when you have done nothing to earn her?"

"Thou art wiser, O King, than Solyman the Great, and thy servant is as
dust in the tomb of thy dog, yet thou errest.  I did not, it is true,
kill the tiger, but behold!  I have brought thee the scalp of the man who
had accumulated five million pieces of gold and was after more."

The King drew his consoler-under-disappointment, and, flicking off
Camaraladdin's head, said:

"Learn, caitiff, the expediency of uncalculating zeal.  If the
millionaire had been let alone he would have devoured the tiger."



A Transposition


Travelling through the sage-brush country a Jackass met a rabbit, who
exclaimed in great astonishment:

"Good heavens! how did you grow so big?  You are doubtless the largest
rabbit living."

"No," said the Jackass, "you are the smallest donkey."

After a good deal of fruitless argument the question was referred for
decision to a passing Coyote, who was a bit of a demagogue and desirous
to stand well with both.

"Gentlemen," said he, "you are both right, as was to have been expected
by persons so gifted with appliances for receiving instruction from the
wise.  You, sir,"--turning to the superior animal--"are, as he has
accurately observed, a rabbit.  And you"--to the other--"are correctly
described as a jackass.  In transposing your names man has acted with
incredible folly."

They were so pleased with the decision that they declared the Coyote
their candidate for the Grizzly Bearship; but whether he ever obtained
the office history does not relate.



The Honest Citizen


A Political Preferment, labelled with its price, was canvassing the State
to find a purchaser.  One day it offered itself to a Truly Good Man, who,
after examining the label and finding the price was exactly twice as
great as he was willing to pay, spurned the Political Preferment from his
door.  Then the People said: "Behold, this is an honest citizen!"  And
the Truly Good Man humbly confessed that it was so.



A Creaking Tail


An American Statesman who had twisted the tail of the British Lion until
his arms ached was at last rewarded by a sharp, rasping sound.

"I knew your fortitude would give out after a while," said the American
Statesman, delighted; "your agony attests my political power."

"Agony I know not!" said the British Lion, yawning; "the swivel in my
tail needs a few drops of oil, that is all."



Wasted Sweets


A Candidate canvassing his district met a Nurse wheeling a Baby in a
carriage, and, stooping, imprinted a kiss upon the Baby's clammy muzzle.
Rising, he saw a Man, who laughed.

"Why do you laugh?" asked the Candidate.

"Because," replied the Man, "the Baby belongs to the Orphan Asylum."

"But the Nurse," said the Candidate--"the Nurse will surely relate the
touching incident wherever she goes, and perhaps write to her former
master."

"The Nurse," said the Man who had laughed, "is an inmate of the
Institution for the Illiterate-Deaf-and-Dumb."



Six and One


The Committee on Gerrymander worked late, drawing intricate lines on a
map of the State, and being weary sought repose in a game of poker.  At
the close of the game the six Republican members were bankrupt and the
single Democrat had all the money.  On the next day, when the Committee
was called to order for business, one of the luckless six mounted his
legs, and said:

"Mr. Chairman, before we bend to our noble task of purifying politics, in
the interest of good government I wish to say a word of the untoward
events of last evening.  If my memory serves me the disasters which
overtook the Majority of this honourable body always befell when it was
the Minority's deal.  It is my solemn conviction, Mr. Chairman, and to
its affirmation I pledge my life, my fortune, and my sacred honour, that
that wicked and unscrupulous Minority redistricted the cards!"



The Sportsman and the Squirrel


A Sportsman who had wounded a Squirrel, which was making desperate
efforts to drag itself away, ran after it with a stick, exclaiming:

"Poor thing!  I will put it out of its misery."

At that moment the Squirrels stopped from exhaustion, and looking up at
its enemy, said:

"I don't venture to doubt the sincerity of your compassion, though it
comes rather late, but you seem to lack the faculty of observation.  Do
you not perceive by my actions that the dearest wish of my heart is to
continue in my misery?"

At this exposure of his hypocrisy, the Sportsman was so overcome with
shame and remorse that he would not strike the Squirrel, but pointing it
out to his dog, walked thoughtfully away.



The Fogy and the Sheik


A Fogy who lived in a cave near a great caravan route returned to his
home one day and saw, near by, a great concourse of men and animals, and
in their midst a tower, at the foot of which something with wheels smoked
and panted like an exhausted horse.  He sought the Sheik of the Outfit.

"What sin art thou committing now, O son of a Christian dog?" said the
Fogy, with a truly Oriental politeness.

"Boring for water, you black-and-tan galoot!" replied the Sheik of the
Outfit, with that ready repartee which distinguishes the Unbeliever.

"Knowest thou not, thou whelp of darkness and father of disordered
livers," cried the Fogy, "that water will cause grass to spring up here,
and trees, and possibly even flowers?  Knowest thou not, that thou art,
in truth, producing an oasis?"

"And don't you know," said the Sheik of the Outfit, "that caravans will
then stop here for rest and refreshments, giving you a chance to steal
the camels, the horses, and the goods?"

"May the wild hog defile my grave, but thou speakest wisdom!" the Fogy
replied, with the dignity of his race, extending his hand.  "Sheik."

They shook.



At Heaven's Gate


Having arisen from the tomb, a Woman presented herself at the gate of
Heaven, and knocked with a trembling hand.

"Madam," said Saint Peter, rising and approaching the wicket, "whence do
you come?"

"From San Francisco," replied the Woman, with embarrassment, as great
beads of perspiration spangled her spiritual brow.

"Never mind, my good girl," the Saint said, compassionately.  "Eternity
is a long time; you can live that down."

"But that, if you please, is not all."  The Woman was growing more and
more confused.  "I poisoned my husband.  I chopped up my babies.  I--"

"Ah," said the Saint, with sudden austerity, "your confession suggests a
very grave possibility.  Were you a member of the Women's Press
Association?"

The lady drew herself up and replied with warmth:

"I was not."

The gates of pearl and jasper swung back upon their golden hinges, making
the most ravishing music, and the Saint, stepping aside, bowed low,
saying:

"Enter, then, into thine eternal rest."

But the Woman hesitated.

"The poisoning--the chopping--the--the--" she stammered.

"Of no consequence, I assure you.  We are not going to be hard on a lady
who did not belong to the Women's Press Association.  Take a harp."

"But I applied for membership--I was blackballed."

"Take two harps."



The Catted Anarchist


An Anarchist Orator who had been struck in the face with a Dead Cat by
some Respector of Law to him unknown, had the Dead Cat arrested and taken
before a Magistrate.

"Why do you appeal to the law?" said the Magistrate--"You who go in for
the abolition of law."

"That," replied the Anarchist, who was not without a certain hardness of
head, "that is none of your business; I am not bound to be consistent.
You sit here to do justice between me and this Dead Cat."

"Very well," said the Magistrate, putting on the black cap and a solemn
look; "as the accused makes no defence, and is undoubtedly guilty, I
sentence her to be eaten by the public executioner; and as that position
happens to be vacant, I appoint you to it, without bonds."

One of the most delighted spectators at the execution was the anonymous
Respector of Law who had flung the condemned.



The Honourable Member


A Member of a Legislature, who had pledged himself to his Constituents
not to steal, brought home at the end of the session a large part of the
dome of the Capitol.  Thereupon the Constituents held an indignation
meeting and passed a resolution of tar and feathers.

"You are most unjust," said the Member of the Legislature.  "It is true I
promised you I would not steal; but had I ever promised you that I would
not lie?"

The Constituents said he was an honourable man and elected him to the
United States Congress, unpledged and unfledged.



The Expatriated Boss


A Boss who had gone to Canada was taunted by a Citizen of Montreal with
having fled to avoid prosecution.

"You do me a grave injustice," said the Boss, parting with a pair of
tears.  "I came to Canada solely because of its political attractions;
its Government is the most corrupt in the world."

"Pray forgive me," said the Citizen of Montreal.

They fell upon each other's neck, and at the conclusion of that touching
rite the Boss had two watches.



An Inadequate Fee


An Ox, unable to extricate himself from the mire into which he sank, was
advised to make use of a Political Pull.  When the Political Pull had
arrived, the Ox said: "My good friend, please make fast to me, and let
nature take her course."

So the Political Pull made fast to the Ox's head and nature took her
course.  The Ox was drawn, first, from the mire, and, next, from his
skin.  Then the Political Pull looked back upon the good fat carcase of
beef that he was dragging to his lair and said, with a discontented
spirit:

"That is hardly my customary fee; I'll take home this first instalment,
then return and bring an action for salvage against the skin."



The Judge and the Plaintiff


A Man of Experience in Business was awaiting the judgment of the Court in
an action for damages which he had brought against a railway company.  The
door opened and the Judge of the Court entered.

"Well," said he, "I am going to decide your case to-day.  If I should
decide in your favour, I wonder how you would express your satisfaction?"

"Sir," said the Man of Experience in Business, "I should risk your anger
by offering you one half the sum awarded."

"Did I say I was going to decide that case?" said the Judge, abruptly, as
if awakening from a dream.  "Dear me, how absent-minded I am.  I mean I
have already decided it, and judgment has been entered for the full
amount that you sued for."

"Did I say I would give you one half?" said the Man of Experience in
Business, coldly.  "Dear me, how near I came to being a rascal.  I mean,
that I am greatly obliged to you."



The Return of the Representative


Hearing that the Legislature had adjourned, the people of an Assembly
District held a mass-meeting to devise a suitable punishment for their
representative.  By one speaker it was proposed that he be disembowelled,
by another that he be made to run the gauntlet.  Some favoured hanging,
some thought that it would do him good to appear in a suit of tar and
feathers.  An old man, famous for his wisdom and his habit of drooling on
his shirt-front, suggested that they first catch their hare.  So the
Chairman appointed a committee to watch for the victim at midnight, and
take him as he should attempt to sneak into town across-lots from the
tamarack swamp.  At this point in the proceedings they were interrupted
by the sound of a brass band.  Their dishonoured representative was
driving up from the railway station in a coach-and-four, with music and a
banner.  A few moments later he entered the hall, went upon the platform,
and said it was the proudest moment of his life. (Cheers.)



A Statesman


A Statesman who attended a meeting of a Chamber of Commerce rose to
speak, but was objected to on the ground that he had nothing to do with
commerce.

"Mr. Chairman," said an Aged Member, rising, "I conceive that the
objection is not well taken; the gentleman's connection with commerce is
close and intimate.  He is a Commodity."



Two Dogs


The Dog, as created, had a rigid tail, but after some centuries of a
cheerless existence, unappreciated by Man, who made him work for his
living, he implored the Creator to endow him with a wag.  This being done
he was able to dissemble his resentment with a sign of affection, and the
earth was his and the fulness thereof.  Observing this, the Politician
(an animal created later) petitioned that a wag might be given him too.
As he was incaudate it was conferred upon his chin, which he now wags
with great profit and gratification except when he is at his meals.



Three Recruits


A Farmer, an Artisan, and a Labourer went to the King of their country
and complained that they were compelled to support a large standing army
of mere consumers, who did nothing for their keep.

"Very well," said the King, "my subjects' wishes are the highest law."

So he disbanded his army and the consumers became producers also.  The
sale of their products so brought down prices that farming was ruined,
and their skilled and unskilled labour drove the artisans and labourers
into the almshouses and highways.  In a few years the national distress
was so great that the Farmer, the Artisan, and the Labourer petitioned
the King to reorganize the standing army.

"What!" said the King; "you wish to support those idle consumers again?"

"No, your Majesty," they replied--"we wish to enlist."



The Mirror


A Silken-Eared Spaniel, who traced his descent from King Charles the
Second of England, chanced to look into a mirror which was leaning
against the wainscoting of a room on the ground floor of his mistress's
house.  Seeing his reflection, he supposed it to be another dog, outside,
and said:

"I can chew up any such milksoppy pup as that, and I will."

So he ran out-of-doors and around to the side of the house where he
fancied the enemy was.  It so happened that at that moment a Bulldog sat
there sunning his teeth.  The Spaniel stopped short in dire
consternation, and, after regarding the Bulldog a moment from a safe
distance, said:

"I don't know whether you cultivate the arts of peace or your flag is
flung to the battle and the breeze and your voice is for war.  If you are
a civilian, the windows of this house flatter you worse than a newspaper,
but if you're a soldier, they do you a grave injustice."

This speech being unintelligible to the Bulldog he only civilly smiled,
which so terrified the Spaniel that he dropped dead in his tracks.



Saint and Sinner


"My friend," said a distinguished officer of the Salvation Army, to a
Most Wicked Sinner, "I was once a drunkard, a thief, an assassin.  The
Divine Grace has made me what I am."

The Most Wicked Sinner looked at him from head to foot.  "Henceforth," he
said, "the Divine Grace, I fancy, will let well enough alone."



An Antidote


A Young Ostrich came to its Mother, groaning with pain and with its wings
tightly crossed upon its stomach.

"What have you been eating?" the Mother asked, with solicitude.

"Nothing but a keg of Nails," was the reply.

"What!" exclaimed the Mother; "a whole keg of Nails, at your age!  Why,
you will kill yourself that way.  Go quickly, my child, and swallow a
claw-hammer."



A Weary Echo


A Convention of female writers, which for two days had been stuffing
Woman's couch with goose-quills and hailing the down of a new era,
adjourned with unabated enthusiasm, shouting, "Place aux dames!"  And
Echo wearily replied, "Oh, damn."



The Ingenious Blackmailer


An Inventor went to a King and was granted an audience, when the
following conversation ensued:

_Inventor_.--"May it please your Majesty, I have invented a rifle that
discharges lightning."

_King_.--"Ah, you wish to sell me the secret."

_Inventor_.--"Yes; it will enable your army to overrun any nation that is
accessible."

_King_.--"In order to get any good of my outlay for your invention, I
must make a war, and do so as soon as I can arm my troops--before your
secret is discovered by foreign nations.  How much do you want?"

_Inventor_.--"One million dollars."

_King_.--"And how much will it cost to make the change of arms?"

_Inventor_.--"Fifty millions."

_King_.--"And the war will Cost--?"

_Inventor_.--"But consider the glory and the spoils!"

_King_.--"Exactly.  But if I am not seeking these advantages?  What if I
decline to purchase?"

_Inventor_.--"There is no economy in that.  Though a patriot, I am poor;
if my own country will not patronise me, I must seek a market elsewhere."

_King_ (to Prime Minister).--"Take this blackmailer and cut off his
head."



A Talisman


Having been summoned to serve as a juror, a Prominent Citizen sent a
physician's certificate stating that he was afflicted with softening of
the brain.

"The gentleman is excused," said the Judge, handing back the certificate
to the person who had brought it, "he has a brain."



The Ancient Order


Hardly had that ancient order, the Sultans of Exceeding Splendour, been
completely founded by the Grand Flashing Inaccessible, when a question
arose as to what should be the title of address among the members.  Some
wanted it to be simply "my Lord," others held out for "your Dukeness,"
and still others preferred "my Sovereign Liege."  Finally the gorgeous
jewel of the order, gleaming upon the breast of every member, suggested
"your Badgesty," which was adopted, and the order became popularly known
as the Kings of Catarrh.



A Fatal Disorder


A Dying Man who had been shot was requested by officers of the law to
make a statement, and be quick about it.

"You were assaulted without provocation, of course," said the District
Attorney, preparing to set down the answer.

"No," replied the Dying Man, "I was the aggressor."

"Yes, I understand," said the District Attorney; "you committed the
aggression--you were compelled to, as it were.  You did it in
self-defence."

"I don't think he would have hurt me if I had let him alone," said the
other.  "No, I fancy he was a man of peace, and would not have hurt a
fly.  I brought such a pressure to bear on him that he naturally had to
yield--he couldn't hold out.  If he had refused to shoot me I don't see
how I could decently have continued his acquaintance."

"Good Heavens!" exclaimed the District Attorney, throwing down his note-
book and pencil; "this is all quite irregular.  I can't make use of such
an ante-mortem statement as that."

"I never before knew a man to tell the truth," said the Chief of Police,
"when dying of violence."

"Violence nothing!" the Police Surgeon said, pulling out and inspecting
the man's tongue--"it is the truth that is killing him."



The Massacre


Some Holy Missionaries in China having been deprived of life by the
Bigoted Heathens, the Christian Press made a note of it, and was greatly
pained to point out the contrast between the Bigoted Heathens and the law-
abiding countrymen of the Holy Missionaries who had wickedly been sent to
eternal bliss.

"Yes," assented a Miserable Sinner, as he finished reading the articles,
"the Heathens of Ying Shing are deceitful above all things and
desperately wicked.  By the way," he added, turning over the paper to
read the entertaining and instructive Fables, "I know the Heathenese
lingo.  Ying Shing means Rock Creek; it is in the Province of Wyo Ming."



A Ship and a Man


Seeing a ship sailing by upon the sea of politics, an Ambitious Person
started in hot pursuit along the strand; but the people's eyes being
fixed upon the Presidency no one observed the pursuer.  This greatly
annoyed him, and recollecting that he was not aquatic, he stopped and
shouted across the waves' tumultous roar:

"Take my name off the passenger list."

Back to him over the waters, hollow and heartless, like laughter in a
tomb, rang the voice of the Skipper:

"'T ain't on!"

And there, in the focus of a million pairs of convergent eyes, the
Ambitious Person sat him down between the sun and moon and murmured sadly
to his own soul:

"Marooned, by thunder!"



Congress and the People


Successive Congresses having greatly impoverished the People, they were
discouraged and wept copiously.

"Why do you weep?" inquired an Angel who had perched upon a fence near
by.

"They have taken all we have," replied the People--"excepting," they
added, noting the suggestive visitant--"excepting our hope in heaven.
Thank God, they cannot deprive us of that!"

But at last came the Congress of 1889.



The Justice and His Accuser


An eminent Justice of the Supreme Court of Patagascar was accused of
having obtained his appointment by fraud.

"You wander," he said to the Accuser; "it is of little importance how I
obtained my power; it is only important how I have used it."

"I confess," said the Accuser, "that in comparison with the rascally way
in which you have conducted yourself on the Bench, the rascally way in
which you got there does seem rather a trifle."



The Highwayman and the Traveller


A Highwayman confronted a Traveller, and covering him with a firearm,
shouted: "Your money or your life!"

"My good friend," said the Traveller, "according to the terms of your
demand my money will save my life, my life my money; you imply you will
take one or the other, but not both.  If that is what you mean, please be
good enough to take my life."

"That is not what I mean," said the Highwayman; "you cannot save your
money by giving up your life."

"Then take it, anyhow," the Traveller said.  "If it will not save my
money, it is good for nothing."

The Highwayman was so pleased with the Traveller's philosophy and wit
that he took him into partnership, and this splendid combination of
talent started a newspaper.



The Policeman and the Citizen


A Policeman, finding a man that had fallen in a fit, said, "This man is
drunk," and began beating him on the head with his club.  A passing
Citizen said:

"Why do you murder a man that is already harmless?"

Thereupon the Policeman left the man in a fit and attacked the Citizen,
who, after receiving several severe contusions, ran away.

"Alas," said the Policeman, "why did I not attack the sober one before
exhausting myself upon the other?"

Thenceforward he pursued that plan, and by zeal and diligence rose to be
Chief, and sobriety is unknown in the region subject to his sway.



The Writer and the Tramps


An Ambitious Writer, distinguished for the condition of his linen, was
travelling the high road to fame, when he met a Tramp.

"What is the matter with your shirt?" inquired the Tramp.

"It bears the marks of that superb unconcern which is the characteristic
of genius," replied the Ambitious Writer, contemptuously passing him by.

Resting by the wayside a little later, the Tramp carved upon the smooth
bark of a birch-tree the words, "John Gump, Champion Genius."



Two Politicians


Two Politicians were exchanging ideas regarding the rewards for public
service.

"The reward which I most desire," said the First Politician, "is the
gratitude of my fellow-citizens."

"That would be very gratifying, no doubt," said the Second Politician,
"but, alas! in order to obtain it one has to retire from politics."

For an instant they gazed upon each other with inexpressible tenderness;
then the First Politician murmured, "God's will be done!  Since we cannot
hope for reward, let us be content with what we have."

And lifting their right hands from the public treasury they swore to be
content.



The Fugitive Office


A Traveller arriving at the capitol of the nation saw a vast plain
outside the wall, filled with struggling and shouting men.  While he
looked upon the alarming spectacle an Office broke away from the Throng
and took shelter in a tomb close to where he stood, the crowd being too
intent upon hammering one another to observe that the cause of their
contention had departed.

"Poor bruised and bleeding creature," said the compassionate Traveller,
"what misfortune caused you to be so far away from the source of power?"

"I 'sought the man,'" said the Office.



The Tyrant Frog


A Snake swallowing a frog head-first was approached by a Naturalist with
a stick.

"Ah, my deliverer," said the Snake as well as he could, "you have arrived
just in time; this reptile, you see, is pitching into me without
provocation."

"Sir," replied the Naturalist, "I need a snakeskin for my collection, but
if you had not explained I should not have interrupted you, for I thought
you were at dinner."



The Eligible Son-in-Law


A Truly Pious Person who conducted a savings bank and lent money to his
sisters and his cousins and his aunts of both sexes, was approached by a
Tatterdemalion, who applied for a loan of one hundred thousand dollars.

"What security have you to offer?" asked the Truly Pious Person.

"The best in the world," the applicant replied, confidentially; "I am
about to become your son-in-law."

"That would indeed be gilt-edged," said the banker, gravely; "but what
claim have you to the hand of my daughter?"

"One that cannot be lightly denied," said the Tatterdemalion.  "I am
about to become worth one hundred thousand dollars."

Unable to detect a weak point in this scheme of mutual advantage, the
financier gave the promoter in disguise an order for the money, and wrote
a note to his wife directing her to count out the girl.



The Statesman and the Horse


A Statesman who had saved his country was returning from Washington on
foot, when he met a Race Horse going at full speed, and stopped it.

"Turn about and travel the other way," said the Statesman, "and I will
keep you company as far as my home.  The advantages of travelling
together are obvious."

"I cannot do that," said the Race Horse; "I am following my master to
Washington.  I did not go fast enough to suit him, and he has gone on
ahead."

"Who is your master?" inquired the Statesman.

"He is the Statesman who saved his country," answered the Race Horse.

"There appears to be some mistake," the other said.  "Why did he wish to
travel so fast?"

"So as to be there in time to get the country that he saved."

"I guess he got it," said the other, and limped along, sighing.



An AErophobe


A Celebrated Divine having affirmed the fallibility of the Bible, was
asked why, then, he preached the religion founded upon it.

"If it is fallible," he replied, "there is the greater reason that I
explain it, lest it mislead."

"Then am I to infer," said his Questioner, "that _you_ are not fallible?"

"You are to infer that I am not pneumophagous."



The Thrift of Strength


A Weak Man going down-hill met a Strong Man going up, and said:

"I take this direction because it requires less exertion, not from
choice.  I pray you, sir, assist me to regain the summit."

"Gladly," said the Strong Man, his face illuminated with the glory of his
thought.  "I have always considered my strength a sacred gift in trust
for my fellow-men.  I will take you along with me.  Just get behind me
and push."



The Good Government


"What a happy land you are!" said a Republican Form of Government to a
Sovereign State.  "Be good enough to lie still while I walk upon you,
singing the praises of universal suffrage and descanting upon the
blessings of civil and religious liberty.  In the meantime you can
relieve your feelings by cursing the one-man power and the effete
monarchies of Europe."

"My public servants have been fools and rogues from the date of your
accession to power," replied the State; "my legislative bodies, both
State and municipal, are bands of thieves; my taxes are insupportable; my
courts are corrupt; my cities are a disgrace to civilisation; my
corporations have their hands at the throats of every private
interest--all my affairs are in disorder and criminal confusion."

"That is all very true," said the Republican Form of Government, putting
on its hobnail shoes; "but consider how I thrill you every Fourth of
July."



The Life Saver


An Ancient Maiden, standing on the edge of a wharf near a Modern Swain,
was overheard rehearsing the words:

"Noble preserver!  The life that you have saved is yours!"

Having repeated them several times with various intonations, she sprang
into the water, where she was suffered to drown.

"I am a noble preserver," said the Modern Swain, thoughtfully moving
away; "the life that I have saved is indeed mine."



The Man and the Bird


A Man with a Shotgun said to a Bird:

"It is all nonsense, you know, about shooting being a cruel sport.  I put
my skill against your cunning-that is all there is of it.  It is a fair
game."

"True," said the Bird, "but I don't wish to play."

"Why not?" inquired the Man with a Shotgun.

"The game," the Bird replied, "is fair as you say; the chances are about
even; but consider the stake.  I am in it for you, but what is there in
it for me?"

Not being prepared with an answer to the question, the Man with a Shotgun
sagaciously removed the propounder.



From the Minutes


An Orator afflicted with atrophy of the organ of common-sense rose in his
place in the halls of legislation and pointed with pride to his Unblotted
Escutcheon.  Seeing what it supposed to be the finger of scorn pointed at
it, the Unblotted Escutcheon turned black with rage.  Seeing the
Unblotted Escutcheon turning black with what he supposed to be the record
of his own misdeeds showing through the whitewash, the Orator fell dead
of mortification.  Seeing the Orator fall dead of what they supposed to
be atrophy of the organ of common-sense, his colleagues resolved that
whenever they should adjourn because they were tired, it should be out of
respect to the memory of him who had so frequently made them so.



Three of a Kind


A Lawyer in whom an instinct of justice had survived the wreck of his
ignorance of law was retained for the defence of a burglar whom the
police had taken after a desperate struggle with someone not in custody.
In consultation with his client the Lawyer asked, "Have you accomplices?"

"Yes, sir," replied the Burglar.  "I have two, but neither has been
taken.  I hired one to defend me against capture, you to defend me
against conviction."

This answer deeply impressed the Lawyer, and having ascertained that the
Burglar had accumulated no money in his profession he threw up the case.



The Fabulist and the Animals


A Wise and illustrious Writer of Fables was visiting a travelling
menagerie with a view to collecting literary materials.  As he was
passing near the Elephant, that animal said:

"How sad that so justly famous a satirist should mar his work by ridicule
of people with long noses--who are the salt of the earth!"

The Kangaroo said:

"I do so enjoy that great man's censure of the ridiculous--particularly
his attacks on the Proboscidae; but, alas! he has no reverence for the
Marsupials, and laughs at our way of carrying our young in a pouch."

The Camel said:

"If he would only respect the sacred Hump, he would be faultless.  As it
is, I cannot permit his fables to be read in the presence of my family."

The Ostrich, seeing his approach, thrust her head in the straw, saying:

"If I do not conceal myself, he may be reminded to write something
disagreeable about my lack of a crest or my appetite for scrap-iron; and
although he is inexpressibly brilliant when he devotes himself to censure
of folly and greed, his dulness is matchless when he transcends the
limits of legitimate comment."

"That," said the Buzzard to his mate, "is the distinguished author of
that glorious fable, 'The Ostrich and the Keg of Raw Nails.'  I regret to
add, that he wrote, also, 'The Buzzard's Feast,' in which a carrion diet
is contumeliously disparaged.  A carrion diet is the foundation of sound
health.  If nothing else but corpses were eaten, death would be unknown."

Seeing an attendant approaching, the wise and illustrious Writer of
Fables passed out of the tent and mingled with the crowd.  It was
afterward discovered that he had crept in under the canvas without
paying.



A Revivalist Revived


A Revivalist who had fallen dead in the pulpit from too violent religious
exercise was astonished to wake up in Hades.  He promptly sent for the
Adversary of Souls and demanded his freedom, explaining that he was
entirely orthodox, and had always led a pious and holy life.

"That is all very true," said the Adversary, "but you taught by example
that a verb should not agree with its subject in person and number,
whereas the Good Book says that contention is worse than a dinner of
herbs.  You also tried to release the objective case from its thraldom to
the preposition, and it is written that servants should obey their
masters.  You stay right here."



The Debaters


A Hurled-Back Allegation, which, after a brief rest, had again started
forth upon its mission of mischief, met an Ink-stand in mid-air.

"How did the Honourable Member whom you represent know that I was coming
again?" inquired the Hurled-back Allegation.

"He did not," the Inkstand replied; "he isn't at all forehanded at
repartee."

"Why, then, do you come, things being even when he had hurled me back?"

"He wanted to be a little ahead."



Two of the Pious


A Christian and a Heathen in His Blindness were disputing, when the
Christian, with that charming consideration which serves to distinguish
the truly pious from the wolves that perish, exclaimed:

"If I could have my way, I'd blow up all your gods with dynamite."

"And if I could have mine," retorted the Heathen in His Blindness,
bitterly malevolent but oleaginuously suave, "I'd fan all yours out of
the universe."



The Desperate Object


A Dishonest Gain was driving in its luxurious carriage through its
private park, when it saw something which frantically and repeatedly ran
against a stone wall, endeavouring to butt out its brains.

"Hold!  Hold! thou desperate Object," cried the Dishonest Gain; "these
beautiful private grounds are no place for such work as thine."

"True," said the Object, pausing; "I have other and better grounds for
it."

"Then thou art a happy man," said the Dishonest Gain, "and thy bleeding
head is but mere dissembling.  Who art thou, great actor?"

"I am known," said the Object, dashing itself again at the wall, "as the
Consciousness of Duty Well Performed."



The Appropriate Memorial


A High Public Functionary having died, the citizens of his town held a
meeting to consider how to honour his memory, and an Other High Public
Functionary rose and addressed the meeting.

"Mr. Chairman and Gintlemen," said the Other, "it sames to me, and I'm
hopin' yez wull approve the suggistion, that an appropriet way to honour
the mimory of the decaised would be to erect an emolument sootably
inscribed wid his vartues."

The soul of the great man looked down from Heaven and wept.



A Needless Labour


After waiting many a weary day to revenge himself upon a Lion for some
unconsidered manifestation of contempt, a Skunk finally saw him coming,
and posting himself in the path ahead uttered the inaudible discord of
his race.  Observing that the Lion gave no attention to the matter, the
Skunk, keeping carefully out of reach, said:

"Sir, I beg leave to point out that I have set on foot an implacable
odour."

"My dear fellow," the Lion replied, "you have taken a needless trouble; I
already knew that you were a Skunk."



A Flourishing Industry


"Are the industries of this country in a flourishing condition?" asked a
Traveller from a Foreign Land of the first man he met in America.

"Splendid!" said the Man.  "I have more orders than I can fill."

"What is your business?" the Traveller from a Foreign Land inquired.

The Man replied, "I make boxing-gloves for the tongues of pugilists."



The Self-Made Monkey


A Man of humble birth and no breading, who held a high political office,
was passing through a forest, when he met a Monkey.

"I take it you are one of my constituents," the Man said.

"No," replied the Monkey; "but I will support you if you can urge a valid
claim to my approval."

"I am a self-made man," said the other, proudly.

"That is nothing," the Monkey said.  And going to a bigger pine, he rose
by his own unaided exertions to the top branch, where he sat, all
bedaubed with the pitch which that vegetable exudes.  "Now," he added, "I
am a self-made Monkey."



The Patriot and the Banker


A Patriot who had taken office poor and retired rich was introduced at a
bank where he desired to open an account.

"With pleasure," said the Honest Banker; "we shall be glad to do business
with you; but first you must make yourself an honest man by restoring
what you stole from the Government."

"Good heavens!" cried the Patriot; "if I do that, I shall have nothing to
deposit with you."

"I don't see that," the Honest Banker replied.  "We are not the whole
American people."

"Ah, I understand," said the Patriot, musing.  "At what sum do you
estimate this bank's proportion of the country's loss by me?"

"About a dollar," answered the Honest Banker.

And with a proud consciousness of serving his country wisely and well he
charged that sum to the account.



The Mourning Brothers


Observing that he was about to die, an Old Man called his two Sons to his
bedside and expounded the situation.

"My children," said he, "you have not shown me many marks of respect
during my life, but you will attest your sorrow for my death.  To him who
the longer wears a weed upon his hat in memory of me shall go my entire
fortune.  I have made a will to that effect."

So when the Old Man was dead each of the youths put a weed upon his hat
and wore it until he was himself old, when, seeing that neither would
give in, they agreed that the younger should leave off his weeds and the
elder give him half of the estate.  But when the elder applied for the
property he found that there had been an Executor!

Thus were hypocrisy and obstinacy fitly punished.



The Disinterested Arbiter


Two Dogs who had been fighting for a bone, without advantage to either,
referred their dispute to a Sheep.  The Sheep patiently heard their
statements, then flung the bone into a pond.

"Why did you do that?" said the Dogs.

"Because," replied the Sheep, "I am a vegetarian."



The Thief and the Honest Man


A Thief who had brought a suit against his accomplices to recover his
share of the plunder taken from an Honest Man, demanded the Honest Man's
attendance at the trial to testify to his loss.  But the Honest Man
explained that as he was merely the agent of a company of other honest
men it was none of his affair; and when the officers came to serve him
with a subpoena he hid himself behind his back and wiled away the
dragging hours of retirement and inaction by picking his own pockets.



The Dutiful Son


A Millionaire who had gone to an almshouse to visit his father met a
Neighbour there, who was greatly surprised.

"What!" said the Neighbour, "you do sometimes visit your father?"

"If our situations were reversed," said the Millionaire, "I am sure he
would visit me.  The old man has always been rather proud of me.
Besides," he added, softly, "I had to have his signature; I am insuring
his life."



AESOPUS EMENDATUS


The Cat and the Youth


A Cat fell in love with a handsome Young Man, and entreated Venus to
change her into a woman.

"I should think," said Venus, "you might make so trifling a change
without bothering me.  However, be a woman."

Afterward, wishing to see if the change were complete, Venus caused a
mouse to approach, whereupon the woman shrieked and made such a show of
herself that the Young Man would not marry her.



The Farmer and His Sons


A Farmer being about to die, and knowing that during his illness his Sons
had permitted the vineyard to become overgrown with weeds while they
improved the shining hour by gambling with the doctor, said to them:

"My boys, there is a great treasure buried in the vineyard.  You dig in
the ground until you find it."

So the Sons dug up all the weeds, and all the vines too, and even
neglected to bury the old man.



Jupiter and the Baby Show


Jupiter held a baby show, open to all animals, and a Monkey entered her
hideous cub for a prize, but Jupiter only laughed at her.

"It is all very well," said the Monkey, "to laugh at my offspring, but
you go into any gallery of antique sculpture and look at the statues and
busts of the fellows that you begot yourself."

"'Sh! don't expose me," said Jupiter, and awarded her the first prize.



The Man and the Dog


A Man who had been bitten by a Dog was told that the wound would heal if
he would dip a piece of bread in the blood and give it to the Dog.  He
did so.

"No," said the Dog; "if I were to accept that, it might be thought that
in biting you I was actuated by improper motives."

"And by what motives were you actuated?" asked the Man.

"I desired," replied the Dog, "merely to harmonise myself with the Divine
Scheme of Things.  I'm a child of Nature."



The Cat and the Birds


Hearing that the Birds in an aviary were ill, a Cat went to them and said
that he was a physician, and would cure them if they would let him in.

"To what school of medicine do you belong?" asked the Birds.

"I am a Miaulopathist," said the Cat.

"Did you ever practise Gohomoeopathy?" the Birds inquired, winking
faintly.

The Cat took the hint and his leave.



Mercury and the Woodchopper


A Woodchopper, who had dropped his axe into a deep pool, besought Mercury
to recover it for him.  That thoughtless deity immediately plunged into
the pool, which became so salivated that the trees about its margin all
came loose and dropped out.



The Fox and the Grapes


A Fox, seeing some sour grapes hanging within an inch of his nose, and
being unwilling to admit that there was anything he would not eat,
solemnly declared that they were out of his reach.



The Penitent Thief


A Boy who had been taught by his Mother to steal grew to be a man and was
a professional public official.  One day he was taken in the act and
condemned to die.  While going to the place of execution he passed his
Mother and said to her:

"Behold your work!  If you had not taught me to steal, I should not have
come to this."

"Indeed!" said the Mother.  "And who, pray, taught you to be detected?"



The Archer and the Eagle


An Eagle mortally wounded by an Archer was greatly comforted to observe
that the arrow was feathered with one of his own quills.

"I should have felt bad, indeed," he said, "to think that any other eagle
had a hand in this."



Truth and the Traveller


A Man travelling in a desert met a Woman.

"Who art thou?" asked the Man, "and why dost thou dwell in this dreadful
place?"

"My name," replied the Woman, "is Truth; and I live in the desert in
order to be near my worshippers when they are driven from among their
fellows.  They all come, sooner or later."

"Well," said the Man, looking about, "the country doesn't seem to be very
thickly settled here."



The Wolf and the Lamb


A Lamb, pursued by a Wolf, fled into the temple.

"The priest will catch you and sacrifice you," said the Wolf, "if you
remain there."

"It is just as well to be sacrificed by the priest as to be eaten by
you," said the Lamb.

"My friend," said the Wolf, "it pains me to see you considering so great
a question from a purely selfish point of view.  It is not just as well
for me."



The Lion and the Boar


A Lion and a Boar, who were fighting for water at a pool, saw some
vultures hovering significantly above them.  "Let us make up our
quarrel," said the Boar, "or these fellows will get one of us, sure."

"I should not so much mind that," replied the Lion, "if they would get
the right one.  However, I am willing to stop fighting, and then perhaps
I can grab a vulture.  I like chicken better than pork, anyhow."



The Grasshopper and the Ant


One day in winter a hungry Grasshopper applied to an Ant for some of the
food which they had stored.

"Why," said the Ant, "did you not store up some food for yourself,
instead of singing all the time?"

"So I did," said the Grasshopper; "so I did; but you fellows broke in and
carried it all away."



The Fisher and the Fished


A Fisherman who had caught a very small Fish was putting it in his basket
when it said:

"I pray you put me back into the stream, for I can be of no use to you;
the gods do not eat fish."

"But I am no god," said the Fisherman.

"True," said the Fish, "but as soon as Jupiter has heard of your exploit,
he will elevate you to the deitage.  You are the only man that ever
caught a small fish."



The Farmer and the Fox


A Farmer who had a deadly and implacable hatred against a certain Fox,
caught him and tied some tow to his tail; then carrying him to the centre
of his own grain-field, set the tow on fire and let the animal go.

"Alas!" said the Farmer, seeing the result; "if that grain had not been
heavily insured, I might have had to dissemble my hatred of the Fox."



Dame Fortune and the Traveller


A Weary Traveller who had lain down and fallen asleep on the brink of a
deep well was discovered by Dame Fortune.

"If this fool," she said, "should have an uneasy dream and roll into the
well men would say that I did it.  It is painful to me to be unjustly
accused, and I shall see that I am not."

So saying she rolled the man into the well.



The Victor and the Victim


Two Game Cocks, having fought a battle, the defeated one skulked away and
hid, but the victor mounted a wall and crowed lustily.  This attracted
the attention of a hawk, who said:

"Behold! how pride goeth before a fall."

So he swooped down upon the boasting bird and was about to destroy him,
when the vanquished Cock came out of his hiding-place, and between the
two the Hawk was calamitously defeated.



The Wolf and the Shepherds


A Wolf passing a Shepherd's hut looked in and saw the shepherds dining.

"Come in," said one of them, ironically, "and partake of your favourite
dish, a haunch of mutton."

"Thank you," said the Wolf, moving away, "but you must excuse me; I have
just had a saddle of shepherd."



The Goose and the Swan


A Certain rich man reared a Goose and a Swan, the one for his table, the
other because she was reputed a good singer.  One night when the Cook
went to kill the Goose he got hold of the Swan instead.  Thereupon the
Swan, to induce him to spare her life, began to sing; but she saved him
nothing but the trouble of killing her, for she died of the song.



The Lion, the Cock, and the Ass


A Lion was about to attack a braying Ass, when a Cock near by crowed
shrilly, and the Lion ran away.  "What frightened him?" the Ass asked.

"Lions have a superstitious terror of my voice," answered the Cock,
proudly.

"Well, well, well," said the Ass, shaking his head; "I should think that
any animal that is afraid of your voice and doesn't mind mine must have
an uncommon kind of ear."



The Snake and the Swallow


A Swallow who had built her nest in a court of justice reared a fine
family of young birds.  One day a Snake came out of a chink in the wall
and was about to eat them.  The Just Judge at once issued an injunction,
and making an order for their removal to his own house, ate them himself.



The Wolves and the Dogs


"Why should there be strife between us?" said the Wolves to the Sheep.
"It is all owing to those quarrelsome dogs.  Dismiss them, and we shall
have peace."

"You seem to think," replied the Sheep, "that it is an easy thing to
dismiss dogs.  Have you always found it so?"



The Hen and the Vipers


A Hen who had patiently hatched out a brood of vipers, was accosted by a
Swallow, who said: "What a fool you are to give life to creatures who
will reward you by destroying you."

"I am a little bit on the destroy myself," said the Hen, tranquilly
swallowing one of the little reptiles; "and it is not an act of folly to
provide oneself with the delicacies of the season."



A Seasonable Joke


A Spendthrift, seeing a single swallow, pawned his cloak, thinking that
Summer was at hand.  It was.



The Lion and the Thorn


A Lion roaming through the forest, got a thorn in his foot, and, meeting
a Shepherd, asked him to remove it.  The Shepherd did so, and the Lion,
having just surfeited himself on another shepherd, went away without
harming him.  Some time afterward the Shepherd was condemned on a false
accusation to be cast to the lions in the amphitheatre.  When they were
about to devour him, one of them said:

"This is the man who removed the thorn from my foot."

Hearing this, the others honourably abstained, and the claimant ate the
Shepherd all himself.



The Fawn and the Buck


A Fawn said to its father: "You are larger, stronger, and more active
than a dog, and you have sharp horns.  Why do you run away when you hear
one barking?"

"Because, my child," replied the Buck, "my temper is so uncertain that if
I permit one of those noisy creatures to come into my presence I am
likely to forget myself and do him an injury."



The Kite, the Pigeons, and the Hawk


Some Pigeons exposed to the attacks of a Kite asked a Hawk to defend
them.  He consented, and being admitted into the cote waited for the
Kite, whom he fell upon and devoured.  When he was so surfeited that he
could scarcely move, the grateful Pigeons scratched out his eyes.



The Wolf and the Babe


A Famishing Wolf, passing the door of a cottage in the forest, heard a
Mother say to her babe:

"Be quiet, or I will throw you out of the window, and the wolves will get
you."

So he waited all day below the window, growing more hungry all the time.
But at night the Old Man, having returned from the village club, threw
out both Mother and Child.



The Wolf and the Ostrich


A Wolf, who in devouring a man had choked himself with a bunch of keys,
asked an ostrich to put her head down his throat and pull them out, which
she did.

"I suppose," said the Wolf, "you expect payment for that service."

"A kind act," replied the Ostrich, "is its own reward; I have eaten the
keys."



The Herdsman and the Lion


A Herdsman who had lost a bullock entreated the gods to bring him the
thief, and vowed he would sacrifice a goat to them.  Just then a Lion,
his jaws dripping with bullock's blood, approached the Herdsman.

"I thank you, good deities," said the Herdsman, continuing his prayer,
"for showing me the thief.  And now if you will take him away, I will
stand another goat."



The Man and the Viper


A Man finding a frozen Viper put it into his bosom.

"The coldness of the human heart," he said, with a grin, "will keep the
creature in his present condition until I can reach home and revive him
on the coals."

But the pleasures of hope so fired his heart that the Viper thawed, and
sliding to the ground thanked the Man civilly for his hospitality and
glided away.



The Man and the Eagle


An Eagle was once captured by a Man, who clipped his wings and put him in
the poultry yard, along with the chickens.  The Eagle was much depressed
in spirits by the change.

"Why should you not rather rejoice?" said the Man.  "You were only an
ordinary fellow as an eagle; but as an old rooster you are a fowl of
incomparable distinction."



The War-horse and the Miller


Having heard that the State was about to be invaded by a hostile army, a
War-horse belonging to a Colonel of the Militia offered his services to a
passing Miller.

"No," said the patriotic Miller, "I will employ no one who deserts his
position in the hour of danger.  It is sweet to die for one's country."

Something in the sentiment sounded familiar, and, looking at the Miller
more closely the War-horse recognised his master in disguise.



The Dog and the Reflection


A Dog passing over a stream on a plank saw his reflection in the water.

"You ugly brute!" he cried; "how dare you look at me in that insolent
way."

He made a grab in the water, and, getting hold of what he supposed was
the other dog's lip, lifted out a fine piece of meat which a butcher's
boy had dropped into the stream.



The Man and the Fish-horn


A Truthful Man, finding a musical instrument in the road, asked the name
of it, and was told that it was a fish-horn.  The next time he went
fishing he set his nets and blew the fish-horn all day to charm the fish
into them; but at nightfall there were not only no fish in his nets, but
none along that part of the coast.  Meeting a friend while on his way
home he was asked what luck he had had.

"Well," said the Truthful Man, "the weather is not right for fishing, but
it's a red-letter day for music."



The Hare and the Tortoise


A Hare having ridiculed the slow movements of a Tortoise, was challenged
by the latter to run a race, a Fox to go to the goal and be the judge.
They got off well together, the hare at the top of her speed, the
Tortoise, who had no other intention than making his antagonist exert
herself, going very leisurely.  After sauntering along for some time he
discovered the Hare by the wayside, apparently asleep, and seeing a
chance to win pushed on as fast as he could, arriving at the goal hours
afterward, suffering from extreme fatigue and claiming the victory.

"Not so," said the Fox; "the Hare was here long ago, and went back to
cheer you on your way."



Hercules and the Carter


A Carter was driving a waggon loaded with a merchant's goods, when the
wheels stuck in a rut.  Thereupon he began to pray to Hercules, without
other exertion.

"Indolent fellow!" said Hercules; "you ask me to help you, but will not
help yourself."

So the Carter helped himself to so many of the most valuable goods that
the horses easily ran away with the remainder.



The Lion and the Bull


A Lion wishing to lure a Bull to a place where it would be safe to attack
him, said: "My friend, I have killed a fine sheep; will you come with me
and partake of the mutton?"

"With pleasure," said the Bull, "as soon as you have refreshed yourself a
little for the journey.  Pray have some grass."



The Man and his Goose


"See these valuable golden eggs," said a Man that owned a Goose.  "Surely
a Goose which can lay such eggs as those must have a gold mine inside
her."

So he killed the Goose and cut her open, but found that she was just like
any other goose.  Moreover, on examining the eggs that she had laid he
found they were just like any other eggs.



The Wolf and the Feeding Goat


A Wolf saw a Goat feeding at the summit of a rock, where he could not get
at her.

"Why do you stay up there in that sterile place and go hungry?" said the
Wolf.  "Down here where I am the broken-bottle vine cometh up as a
flower, the celluloid collar blossoms as the rose, and the tin-can tree
brings forth after its kind."

"That is true, no doubt," said the Goat, "but how about the circus-poster
crop?  I hear that it failed this year down there."

The Wolf, perceiving that he was being chaffed, went away and resumed his
duties at the doors of the poor.



Jupiter and the Birds


Jupiter commanded all the birds to appear before him, so that he might
choose the most beautiful to be their king.  The ugly jackdaw, collecting
all the fine feathers which had fallen from the other birds, attached
them to his own body and appeared at the examination, looking very gay.
The other birds, recognising their own borrowed plumage, indignantly
protested, and began to strip him.

"Hold!" said Jupiter; "this self-made bird has more sense than any of
you.  He is your king."



The Lion and the Mouse


A Lion who had caught a Mouse was about to kill him, when the Mouse said:

"If you will spare my life, I will do as much for you some day."

The Lion, good-naturedly let him go.  It happened shortly afterwards that
the Lion was caught by some hunters and bound with cords.  The Mouse,
passing that way, and seeing that his benefactor was helpless, gnawed off
his tail.



The Old Man and His Sons


An Old Man, afflicted with a family of contentious Sons, brought in a
bundle of sticks and asked the young men to break it.  After repeated
efforts they confessed that it could not be done.  "Behold," said the Old
Man, "the advantage of unity; as long as these sticks are in alliance
they are invincible, but observe how feeble they are individually."

Pulling a single stick from the bundle, he broke it easily upon the head
of the eldest Son, and this he repeated until all had been served.



The Crab and His Son


A Logical Crab said to his Son, "Why do you not walk straight forward?
Your sidelong gait is singularly ungraceful."

"Why don't you walk straight forward yourself," said the Son.

"Erring youth," replied the Logical Crab, "you are introducing new and
irrelevant matter."



The North Wind and the Sun


The Sun and the North Wind disputed which was the more powerful, and
agreed that he should be declared victor who could the sooner strip a
traveller of his clothes.  So they waited until a traveller came by.  But
the traveller had been indiscreet enough to stay over night at a summer
hotel, and had no clothes.



The Mountain and the Mouse


A Mountain was in labour, and the people of seven cities had assembled to
watch its movements and hear its groans.  While they waited in breathless
expectancy out came a Mouse.

"Oh, what a baby!" they cried in derision.

"I may be a baby," said the Mouse, gravely, as he passed outward through
the forest of shins, "but I know tolerably well how to diagnose a
volcano."



The Bellamy and the Members


The Members of a body of Socialists rose in insurrection against their
Bellamy.

"Why," said they, "should we be all the time tucking you out with food
when you do nothing to tuck us out?"

So, resolving to take no further action, they went away, and looking
backward had the satisfaction to see the Bellamy compelled to sell his
own book.



OLD SAWS WITH NEW TEETH
CERTAIN ANCIENT FABLES APPLIED TO
THE LIFE OF OUR TIMES


The Wolf and the Crane


A Rich Man wanted to tell a certain lie, but the lie was of such
monstrous size that it stuck in his throat; so he employed an Editor to
write it out and publish it in his paper as an editorial.  But when the
Editor presented his bill, the Rich Man said:

"Be content--is it nothing that I refrained from advising you about
investments?"



The Lion and the Mouse


A Judge was awakened by the noise of a lawyer prosecuting a Thief.  Rising
in wrath he was about to sentence the Thief to life imprisonment when the
latter said:

"I beg that you will set me free, and I will some day requite your
kindness."

Pleased and flattered to be bribed, although by nothing but an empty
promise, the Judge let him go.  Soon afterward he found that it was more
than an empty promise, for, having become a Thief, he was himself set
free by the other, who had become a Judge.



The Hares and the Frogs


The Members of a Legislature, being told that they were the meanest
thieves in the world, resolved to commit suicide.  So they bought
shrouds, and laying them in a convenient place prepared to cut their
throats.  While they were grinding their razors some Tramps passing that
way stole the shrouds.

"Let us live, my friends," said one of the Legislators to the others;
"the world is better than we thought.  It contains meaner thieves than
we."



The Belly and the Members


Some Workingmen employed in a shoe factory went on a strike, saying: "Why
should we continue to work to feed and clothe our employer when we have
none too much to eat and wear ourselves?"

The Manufacturer, seeing that he could get no labour for a long time and
finding the times pretty hard anyhow, burned down his shoe factory for
the insurance, and when the strikers wanted to resume work there was no
work to resume.  So they boycotted a tanner.



The Piping Fisherman


An Editor who was always vaunting the purity, enterprise, and
fearlessness of his paper was pained to observe that he got no
subscribers.  One day it occurred to him to stop saying that his paper
was pure and enterprising and fearless, and make it so.  "If these are
not good qualities," he reasoned, "it is folly to claim them."

Under the new policy he got so many subscribers that his rivals
endeavoured to discover the secret of his prosperity, but he kept it, and
when he died it died with him.



The Ants and the Grasshopper


Some Members of a Legislature were making schedules of their wealth at
the end of the session, when an Honest Miner came along and asked them to
divide with him.  The members of the Legislature inquired:

"Why did you not acquire property of your own?"

"Because," replied the Honest Miner, "I was so busy digging out gold that
I had no leisure to lay up something worth while."

Then the Members of the Legislature derided him, saying:

"If you waste your time in profitless amusement, you cannot, of course,
expect to share the rewards of industry."



The Dog and His Reflection


A State Official carrying off the Dome of the Capitol met the Ghost of
his predecessor, who had come out of his political grave to warn him that
God saw him.  As the place of meeting was lonely and the time midnight,
the State Official set down the Dome of the Capitol, and commanded the
supposed traveller to throw up his hands.  The Ghost replied that he had
not eaten them, and while he was explaining the situation another State
Official silently added the dome to his own collection.



The Lion, the Bear, and the Fox


Two Thieves having stolen a Piano and being unable to divide it fairly
without a remainder went to law about it and continued the contest as
long as either one could steal a dollar to bribe the judge.  When they
could give no more an Honest Man came along and by a single small payment
obtained a judgment and took the Piano home, where his daughter used it
to develop her biceps muscles, becoming a famous pugiliste.



The Ass and the Lion's Skin


A Member of the State Militia stood at a street corner, scowling
stormily, and the people passing that way went a long way around him,
thinking of the horrors of war.  But presently, in order to terrify them
still more, he strode toward them, when, his sword entangling his legs,
he fell upon the field of glory, and the people passed over him singing
their sweetest songs.



The Ass and the Grasshoppers


A Statesman heard some Labourers singing at their work, and wishing to be
happy too, asked them what made them so.

"Honesty," replied the Labourers.

So the Statesman resolved that he too would be honest, and the result was
that he died of want.



The Wolf and the Lion


An Indian who had been driven out of a fertile valley by a White Settler,
said:

"Now that you have robbed me of my land, there is nothing for me to do
but issue invitations to a war-dance."

"I don't so much mind your dancing," said the White Settler, putting a
fresh cartridge into his rifle, "but if you attempt to make me dance you
will become a good Indian lamented by all who didn't know you.  How did
_you_ get this land, anyhow?"

The Indian's claim was compromised for a plug hat and a tin horn.



The Hare and the Tortoise


Of two Writers one was brilliant but indolent; the other though dull,
industrious.  They set out for the goal of fame with equal opportunities.
Before they died the brilliant one was detected in seventy languages as
the author of but two or three books of fiction and poetry, while the
other was honoured in the Bureau of Statistics of his native land as the
compiler of sixteen volumes of tabulated information relating to the
domestic hog.



The Milkmaid and Her Bucket


A Senator fell to musing as follows: "With the money which I shall get
for my vote in favour of the bill to subsidise cat-ranches, I can buy a
kit of burglar's tools and open a bank.  The profit of that enterprise
will enable me to obtain a long, low, black schooner, raise a death's-
head flag and engage in commerce on the high seas.  From my gains in that
business I can pay for the Presidency, which at $50,000 a year will give
me in four years--" but it took him so long to make the calculation that
the bill to subsidise cat-ranches passed without his vote, and he was
compelled to return to his constituents an honest man, tormented with a
clean conscience.



King Log and King Stork


The People being dissatisfied with a Democratic Legislature, which stole
no more than they had, elected a Republican one, which not only stole all
they had but exacted a promissory note for the balance due, secured by a
mortgage upon their hope of death.



The Wolf Who Would Be a Lion


A Foolish Fellow who had been told that he was a great man believed it,
and got himself appointed a Commissioner to the Interasylum Exposition of
Preserved Idiots.  At the first meeting of the Board he was mistaken for
one of the exhibits, and the janitor was ordered to remove him to his
appropriate glass case.

"Alas!" he exclaimed as he was carried out, "why was I not content to
remain where the cut of my forehead is so common as to be known as the
Pacific Slope?"



The Monkey and the Nuts


A Certain City desiring to purchase a site for a public Deformatory
procured an appropriation from the Government of the country.  Deeming
this insufficient for purchase of the site and payment of reasonable
commissions to themselves, the men in charge of the matter asked for a
larger sum, which was readily given.  Believing that the fountain could
not be dipped dry, they applied for still more and more yet.  Wearied at
last by their importunities, the Government said it would be damned if it
gave anything.  So it gave nothing and was damned all the harder.



The Boys and the Frogs


Some editors of newspapers were engaged in diffusing general intelligence
and elevating the moral sentiment of the public.  They had been doing
this for some time, when an Eminent Statesman stuck his head out of the
pool of politics, and, speaking for the members of his profession, said:

"My friends, I beg you will desist.  I know you make a great deal of
money by this kind of thing, but consider the damage you inflict upon the
business of others!"





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