"Fierce: How Competing for Myself Changed Everything" was written by gymnast, Aly Raisman.
"Best in Show" is a feature film based on a dog show in Philadelphia.
The singer, Alicia Moore, is better known to her fans as, "Pink".
In the early 1970's, the Los Angeles Rams were led by QB, Roman Gabriel.
Going head to head against Johnny Carson for the late night audience, Joey Bishop stopped his show knowing that he was fighting a losing battle.
The Rolling Stones release. "I Wanna Be Your Man" was written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon.
Playing for the Raiders against Tampa Bay in the Super Bowl 37, Rich Gannon threw five interceptions to help his team lose that year.
In 1951, Humphrey Bogart was awarded the Bst Actor Oscar for his role in "African Queen".
Michael Jackson's album, "Bad" had five top of the chart singles on it.
The Philadelphia Athletics were the first team to win a night football game.
The first actor to be featured on the cover of Time magazine was Charles Chaplin in 1925.
"California Dreamin" was the first major hit for The Mamas and The Papas.
The longest punt recorded in NFL history was 98 yards and kicked by Steve O"Neal in 1969.
Sid Ceasar's, "Your Show of Shows+ was a prominent feature of the Golden Age of Television.
The first major television show to feature only music-videos was MTV.
From 1967 till 1976, the slam dunk was banned in the NBA.
In 1989, Sally Field, Shirley MacLaine, Dolly Parton and Julia Roberts starred in the hit movie, "Steel Magnolias".
Taylor Swift was discovered when she performed at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville.
Women first participated in the modern Olympics in 1900. The sport was tennis.
For all his successes, Steven Spielberg's, "!941" uncharacteristically turned out to be a flop.
According to David Crosby, the best singer ever is Bonnie Raitt.
The Hula Hoop was a fad started in the 1950's that is still popular today.
In 1934, Egypt became the first country in Africa to qualify for the soccer World Cup.
With a total of 10, the United Kingdom has the most Formula One World Championship winners.
Reports are that Queen Elizabeth's all-time favorite TV show is "I Love Lucy".
The number of squares drawn from a radius of s circle that would fit into that circle is PI.
The hit song, "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" was recorded by The Platters.
The QB who holds the best rookie passer rating in the history of the NFL is Dak Prescott.
The NPR show, "Car Talk" is hosted by Click and Clack.
The only Top 40 hit ever recorded by Jimi Hendriz was, "All Along the Watchtower".
The San Francisco 49ers have the record for scoring the most points in a single Super Bowl game.
Before Johnny Carson became a TV personality, he performed as a magician.
The rock group, Duran Duran took their name from the movie, "Barbarella".
The only team to ever play in every soccer World Cup tournament is Brazil.
In 1999, the movie, "The Sixth Sense" was nominated for Best Picture and was the second highest money maker of that year.
John Lennon (the Beatle) suffered from dyslexia.
Meadowlark Lemon was one of the original stars of the Harlem Globetrotters.
William Shatner is best known for his leading roles in, "Star Trek" and "Boston Legal".
The MTV Best New Artist for 2000 went to Macy Gray for he release, "I Try".
Basketball player, Mark Davis was nicknamed, "The Chairman of the Boards".
"Cats are on the wrong side of every door" is a phrase coined by Andrew Lloyd Weber in "Cats".
Paul McCartney says that he learned much from Little Richard.
In motor racing, the winner is indicated by the waving of a checkered flag.
Tom Hulce starred as Mozart in the movie, "Amadeus".
At different times, both Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins served as the lead singer for Genesis
A marathon is 26.2 miles.
Both Holly Hunter and Ann Paquin won Oscars for their roles in the 1993 movie, "The Piano".
In 1996, Celine Dion's album, "Falling Into You" won the Grammy for Album of the Year.
The lead singer for the rock group, "Men at Work" was Colin Hay.
In the 2008 Olympics in Bejing, China won 100 medals.
Three strikes in a row by one bowler is called a "turkey".
Before writing the hit Broadway musical, "Hamilton", Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote, "In the Heights".
Say, Say, Say and The Girl is Mine were the two singles recorded by Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney.
Kesha wrote songs for Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears and Alice Cooper.
U.S. volleball player, Karch Kiraly, has won three Olympic Gold Medals.
In 1971, Clint Eastwood played a DJ in the film, "Play Misty for Me".
"Light My Fire" was a hit that put The Doors on the musical map.
The Maurice Podoloff Trophy is given to the NBA's most valuable player.
"West Side Story" was both a hit show on Broadway and a hit movie.
Chubby Checker sparked a new dance craze in the 60's with his hit, "The Twist".
Johnny Cash recorded two of his hit albums in prison, "Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison" and "Johnny Cash at San Quentin".
NBA player, Darrel Griffith was nicknamed, "Dr. Dunkenstein".
In 1996, the highest rated TV series was, "Seinfeld".
Frank Sinatra began his singing career with the orchestras of Harry James and Tommy Dorsey.
Followers of the group, "The Grateful Dead" were known as Deadheads.
Different from today, first place winners in the first modern Olympics were awarded silver medals, not gold.
Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt were the stars of the TV sitcom, "Mad About You".
The inspiration behind the hit Broadway show, "Jersey Boys" was Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.
In 2001, Goran Ivanisevic became the only wild card entry to have ever won at Wimbledon.
For his role in, "Jerry Maguire" in 1996, actor Cuba Gooding Jr. won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.
When he was growing up, frontman for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Anthony Kiedis numbered among his babysitters both Cher and Sonny Bono.
NFL's New York Jets were originally the New York Titans.
"Hill Street Blues" won more awards than any other dramtic series on TV.
In 1981, Prince formed the band, "The Time".
The first player ever to miss 5,000 free throws in his entire career was Wilt Chamberlain.
Television's Golden Age was highlighted by such stars as Milton Berle and Sid Caesar.
With his hit, "Islands in the Stream" in 2009, Tom Jones was the oldest artist to top the UK singles chart.
Beattie Feathers was the first player to ever rush for 1,ooo yards in a single season.
Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise starred as brothers in the 1988 hit fim, "Rainman".
Cyndi Lauper has had success with both hit songs and a hit Broadway show.
U.S. volleyball player, Karch Kiraly won three Olympic Gold Medals.
The first news show to ever show a profit was, "60 Minutes".
The hit song, "Landslide" was recorded by both Fleetwood Mac and Smashing Pumpkins.
The youngest player to ever score 10,000 points this century in the regular season of the NBA is Kobe Bryant.
"The Twist" was a dance popularized by Chubby Checker.
Travis Bickle is the character played by Robert De Niro in the movie, "Taxi Driver".
The Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots have each one the Super Bowl six different times.
The second best selling album of all time is Michael Jackson's, "Thriller".
Every year of the 1980's saw the top rated TV show to be either The Cosby Show, 60 Minutes or Dallas.
Wilt Chamberlain's record for the most points in a single game is 100.
"Call Me" was Blondie's number one hit in 1980.
Jodie Foster won an Oscar twice before she was 30 years-old.
In May, 2001, Andre Dawson of the Cubs was intentionally walked five times in one game.
The cover of Pink Floyd's, "Dark Side of the Moon" album featured a prism.
The city in which Hannibal Lecter was inprisoned in, "Silence of the Lambs" was Baltimore.
Micky Mantle and Roger Maris batted 3rd and 4th in the Yankee lineup when they played.
The object of Bob Marley's protest song, "I Shot the Sheriff" was reportedly his girlfriend's use of birth control.
"You can't handle the truth" was bellowed by Jack Nicholson in the hit film, A Few Good Men.
As a high school basketball player, Michael Jordan's nickname was "Magic" after Magic Johnson.
"Secrets of the Sparrow" is the autobiography of Diana Ross.
The phrase, "show me the money" became popular after it was said by Cuba Gooding Jr. in the film, Jerry Maguire.
At the Beijing Olympics, China won 100 medals.
On the hit, "Yeah" by Usher, the rap part of the recording is performed by Ludicris.
In the movie, "Rocky", Rocky's dog was named Butkus.
An average baseball game records only 18 minutes of actual action.
Tammi Terrell was the singing, duet partner for Marvin Gaye.
Father and son Martin and Charlie Sheen, have starring roles in the 1987 hit film, "Wall Street".
The oldest, recorded stick and ball sport in the world is field hockey.
The record for the most number of UK Top 10 Singles Chart hits is currently held by Elvis Presley with 77.
Although it is common knowledge that Michael Jordan played college basketball at UNC, what may be less known is that his first choice of colleges was UCLA.
The hometown of "The Simpsons" is Springfield.
Mariah Carey has scored at least one top Billboard hit in each of the last four decades.
Usain Bolt Won Gold Medals At The 100m, 200m, And 4 X 100m Relay At Three Consecutive Olympic Games From 2008 – 2016.
In the 1971 movie, "Play Misty for Me", Clint Eastwood served as both the star and the director.
The Broadway hit, "Jersey Boys" is a musical depicting the story of the Four Seasons.
In 1997, Tiger Woods scored his hist major tournament victory by winning the Masters.
In 1934, Cecil B. DeMille was nominated a director for Best Picture for the classic, "Cleopatra".
"It's My Party" and "You Don't Own Me" were two of Leslie Gore's hits.
Ten winning drivers of Formula One World Championships were from the United Kinddom.
The well-known comedian, Billy Crystal, was originally from Long Island, NY.
The first singer to ever sell over a million records was opera great, Enrico Caruso.
In tennis, a score of zero is expressed with the word love.
"Rolling in the Deep" was one of the first big hits for Adele.
The lead singer for Men at Work was Colin Hay.
The national sport of Canada is lacrosse.
The best selling single in history is Elton John's, "Candle in the Wind".
Carl Reiner created the Petrie family of the Dick Van Dyke Show to reside in New Rochelle, the city where he himself lived.
The Buffalo Bills competed in the four Super Bowls from 1991 through 1994 and lost them all.
William Bailey performed using the stage name, Axl Rose.
James Bond travels to space in the 1979 film, "Moonraker".
There are a total of three countries that no longer exist but when they did exist, hosted the Olympics.
The most successful British soloist in the U.S. is Elton John.
The 1980 movie, "Ordinary People" won Robert Redford the Academy Award for Best Director.
Former NBA player, Darryl Dawkins, was known as "Chocolate Thunder".
The longest running stage musical was the off-Broadway production of "The Fantasticks" (May 3, 1960-January 13, 2002).
The first movie ever to be rated PG-13 was, "Red Dawn" in 1984.
Roman Gabriel is a former quaterback of the Los Angeles Rams.
The title object of the hit song, "My Shirona" grew up to become a real estate agent.
The late Sean Connery played James Bond in Ian Fleming's film adventure series about Agent 007.
NY Yankee great, Yogi Berra, wore the number "8" and played the position of catcher.
The hit, "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" was performed by Cyndi Lauper.
In the movie, "Caddyshack", the part of Carl Spackler is played by Bill Murray.
The country having competed the most times in the Olympics without having won a gold medal is The Philippines.
James Garner starred in the 70's series, "The Rockford Files".
The hit, "I'm Just a Lonely Boy" was one of the first recorded by Paul Anka.
Jackie Robinson's older brother, Mack, was a silver medalist in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, but was overshadowed by the great Jesse Owens.
The original movie. "Thomas Crown Affair" starred Steve McQueen.
"Runaround Sue" was one of the first big hits for Dion and the Belmonts.
The longest recorded point in tennis played for 29 minutes.
The late George Reeves played the role of Superman on the TV series.
Michael Jackson originally wanted his hit, "Bad" to be a duet with Prince.
The firts male African-American tennis player to win both the I.S. Open and Wimbledon was the late Arthur Ashe.
The title characters of the classic film, "Bonnie and Clyde" were played by Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty.
"The Wailers" was the name of Bob Marley's band.
A record eight Grammy Awards were won by Michael Jackson in 1984 and Santana in 2000.
An average golf ball has 336 dimples.
The classic film, "Rear Window" starred James Stewart and Grace Kelly.
The U2 song, "Angel of Harlem", was written in honor of Billie Holiday.
Motown Records was formerly known as Tamla Records.
Before the introduction of plastic helmets in the NFL, helmets were constructed of leather.
The highest grossing war movie of all time is, "American Sniper".
Jazz musician, Dizzy Gillespie was known for playing a trumpet that was bent upwards.
The first Filipino-American to play in the NBA was Raymond Townsend.
Sylvester Stallone not only starred in "Rocky" but he wrote the screenplay as well.
The rock group, "Rush" was formed in Toronto.
Pink Floyd reunited for the first time in 24 years during the 2005 Live 8 Concert.
New York used to be the host of three major league baseball teams, the Dodgers, the Giants and the Yankees.
The iconic line from the superhit film, "Forest Gump" was "Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know just what you're going to get".
In 1962, The Beatles released their first sinle in the UK. It was, "Love Me Do".
The first golfer to win the US Open in consecutive years (1988,1989) was Curtis Strange.
Superstar JLO, started her career as a dancer on the Wayans Brothers' TV show, "In Living Color".
Oldie TV show, "The Fall Guy" starred Lee Majors.
Byron "Whizzer" White, a runner-up for the Heisman Trophy in 1937, was an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court from 1962 to 1993.
In 2012 superstar, Justin Bieber, was offered a contract with a mid-level professional ice hockey team in California.
To date, George Clooney has one only one Oscar and that was was for his performance in the movie, "Syriana".
While horse racing is considered the "sport of kings", soccer is considered the "king of sports".
Pop singer, Bruno Mars, was born in the state of Hawaii.
James Bond falls in love and gets married in the 1969 movie, "On Her Majesty's Secret Service".
The first Super Bowl in 1967 was won by Green Bay when they defeated Kansas City.
Professional singer, Kelly Clarkson, had her career thrown into high gear by having won the "American Idol" in 2002.
On his book tour in the sitcom, "Seinfeld", Kramer's first talk show stop was to "Regis and Kathie Lee".
The Naismith Hall of Fame in Massechusettes celebrtates NBA's geatest players.
At different times, the Yardbirds featured guitarists" Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton
The first CD commercially released in the U.S. was "Born in the USA" by Bruce Springsteen.
The Sportsman of the Year Award was awarded by Sports Illustrtated in both 1996 and 2000 to Tiger Woods.
Arnold Schwarzenegger made his film debut in the 1970 movie, "Hercules in New York".
The best selling female recording artist in history is Whitney Houston.
Baseball scorekeepers use the letter "K" to denote a strikeout.
The shortest song ever released was recorded by Napalm Death and was entitled, "You Suffer".
In 1927, the first film to win the Best Picture award was "Wings".
The youngest pitcher to ever throw a no-hitter was Amos Rusie in 1891 at the age of 20.
Some of the inspiration for Billie Eilish's first song came from the TV show, "The Walking Dead".
The original host of "Jeopardy" was Art Fleming.
In the minor leagues, NY Yankee centerfielder, Mickey Mantle, played shortstop.
In 1985, Michael Jackson purchased the rights to most of the songs performed by the Beatles.
Actresses in the film, "Moonstruck" won the 1987 academy awards for best actress (Cher) and best supporting actress (Olympia Dukakis).
Third baseman, Brooks Robinson, was considered at his job that he was nicknamed, "The Human Vacuum Cleaner" or "Mr. Hoover".
The title track from the movie, "Ghostbusters" was performed by Ray Parker Jr.
The only person ever to be nominated for a their role in a "Star Wars" movie was Alec Guinness.
The NFL record for the most consecutive losses is held by Tampa Bay for 26 of them in the 1976-1977 season.
The song, "Perfect" was performed by the team of Beyonce and Ed Sheeran.
Three Dog Night's hit, "Mama Told Me (Not to Come)" was written by Randy Newman.
Just before his death in 1875, Bizet wrote the opera, Carmen.
The first player ever drafted by the Carolina Panthers was Kerry Collins in the 1995 NFL Draft.
The rock group, AC/DC, was founded in 1973 in Sydney, Australia by brothers Malcolm and Angus Young.
Sylvester Stallone both starred in and wrote the screenplay for "Rocky".
Arthur Ashe was the first African-American tennis player to win both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.
In 1993, Taylor Dayne recorded the hit single, "Can't Get Enough of Your Love".
Tony Flow and the Miraculously Majestic Masters of Mayhem became the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
While the NFL started in 1920 with 10 teams, there are 32 teams in the league today.
The screen name of Lee Yuan Kam was Bruce Lee.
On the song, "Yeah" by Usher, the rap segment is performed by Ludacris.
NFL teams are allowed to have up to 53 players on their rosters.
Audrey Kathleen Ruston was better known as Audrey Hepburn.
Johnny Cash recorded two of his best selling albums in prison.
The NFL record for the most receptions in a playoff game is 15 and is shared by Darren Sproles and James White.
Don Knotts was hired onto the crew of The Andy Griffith Show at the urging of Andy Griffith. Lady Gaga is the godmother to Elton John's two sons, Zachary and Elijah.
The record for the most NFL MVP awards is held by Peyton Manning with five.
The James Dean classic, "Rebel Without a Cause" featured the Los Angeles landmark, the Griffith Observatory.
B.B. King named his guitar, "Lucille". Elvis Presley holds the UK Singles Chart record for the most Top 10 hits with 77.
Serena Williams won her first Wimbledon championship in 2002 by defeating her sister, Venus, in the finals. Best picture winner of 1942, "Casablanca", was adopted from the play, "Everybody Comes to Rick's".
"Maroon 5" member, PJ Morton returned to New Orleans in 2015 to start his own record label, Morton Records.
The NFL player who has appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated more than any other is Tom Brady.
In the movie, "12 Angry Men", Juror Number 8 was played by Henry Fonda.
Paul McCartney Way, John Lennon Drive, George Harrison Close and Ringo Starr Drive are all streets in Liverpool, England.
In 1994, David Robinson scored 71 points in a single NBA game.
The Irish-American actor, James Gagney, picked up at least some of his performance experience in Yiddish theatre in New York.
An album is considered diamond if it has sold ten million copies.
Rafael Palmeiro played 2,831 games in his MLB career but never played in the World Series.
"Name That Tune" was one of the first popular game shows to reach a national television audience.
The oldest living artist to reach the UK Singles Chart was Tom Jones.
The only NFL team and city to not play in or host a Super Bowl is the Browns of Cleveland.
Although the character of Mickey dies in "Rocky III", he makes an appearance in "Rocky V".
The oldest surviving musical instrument is the flute.
MLB history was made in 1990 in a game where Ken Griffey Sr. and Ken Griffey Jr. hit back-to-back homers.
In the movie, "Zombieland", actor Bill Murray plays himself.
Andre the Giant's real name was Andre Roussiemoff.
The first solid Gold Record was won in 1958 by Perry Como for, "Catch a Falling Star".
The diameter of a basketball hoop is 18 inches.
The computer in the movie "2001, A Space Odyssey" was named "HAL". The nextconsecutive letters in the alphabet of HAL are IBM.
Led Zeppelin was formerly known as the New Yardbirds.
The Australian Open was won in 2013 by Novak Djokovic by defeating Roger Federer.
Child star of "The Andy Griffith Show", Ron Howard, went on to long illustrious career as a film director.
In 1998, John Fogerty won the Best Rock Album Grammy for, "Blue Moon Swamp".
The Paris Olympics in 1900 were the first to allow women to participate.
Before the character, Sam Malone bought the bar in "Cheers", he played major league baseball as a pitcher.
The hit, "Landslide", was recorded both by Fleetwood Mac and Smashing Peanuts.
The national sport of Canada is lacrosse.
The Spanish-speaking album, "Mi Reflejo", was originally released by Christina Aguilera.
Music for the James Bond movie, "Live and Let Die" was performed by Paul McCartney and Wings.
Prior to forming the "Rolling Stones", Mick Jagger studied at the London School of Economics.
Former patriot QB, Tom Brady, was the 199th pick (6th round) in the 2000 NFL draft.
The first gold record was awarded to Perry Como in 1958 for "Catch a Falling Star".
In 2009, the cast of the TV show, "Glee" made the Billboard Top Ten with their recording of "Don't Stop Believin".
With 18,355 yards gained, Emmitt Smith of the Dallas Cowboys is the NFL's all-time leading rusher.
The large wind instrument used for cultural music by the indigenous people of Australia is the didgeridoo.
Film star, Denzel Washington, was born on December 28, 1954.
The NFL player with the most wins in playoff games is Tom Brady.
The biggest selling music single of all time is "Candle in the Wind".
The book, "The Wonderful Wizzard of Oz", whick later became a Judy Garland movie, was written by L. Frank Baum.
In 2015, the Atlantic Hawks sent four players to the NBA All-Star game.
The lyrics for Leonard Bernstein's "West Side Story" were written by Stephen Sondheim.
The youngest artist ever to win a Grammy was Taylor Swift in 2008.
In 1997, Tiger Woods won his major championship by 12 strokes at the Masters.
The top box office attraction on the big screen between 1935 and 1938 was Shirley Temple.
Antonio Vivaldi composed "The Four Seasons".
In the 2018 Wimbledon tournament, Roger Federer was defeated in the quarter finals by Kevin Anderson.
Daniel Craig made his debut as James Bond in the 2006 movie, Casino Royale.
In 1968, the New Yardbirds changed their name to Led Zeppelin.
Carlos Beltran has been named the 22nd manager of the NY Mets.
In the movie, "Polar Express", it is the voice of Tom Hanks that is heard in many of the main characters.
On the debut album, "For You", Prince played 27 different instruments.
The Chicago Bulls with Michael Jordan won six NBA championships.
In the James Bond, "Goldfinger", the target of the crime was Fort Knox.
The sackbut was an early form of the trombone.
What is known as football in most of the world, is known as soccer in the United States.
"The Traveling Wilurbys" was a musical group that included: George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty and Roy Orbison.
The Beatles first drummer was Pete Best (before Ringo Starr).
The quarterback who was credited with creating what became the huddle is Paul D. Hubbard, who was deaf.
Dustin Hoffman in "The Graduate" became the definition of Hollywood's antihero.
Rolling Stones' lead singer, Mick Jagger, engages in ballet as a means of keeping fit.
NBA great, David Robinson, was nicknamed "the Admiral" as a result of having served in the Navy prior to playing professional basketball.
The top grossing film of 1997 was "Independence Day".
The stage name of Eilleen Regina Edwards is Shania Twain.
The only Australian tennis player to win grand slams in two seasons was Rod Laver (1962 and 1969).
Maxwell Smart (Don Adams) was the hero character in the hit TV show, "Get Smart".
The pop music group, "Steely Dan" was made up of the musicians, Walter Becker and Donald Fagan.
The female recording artist with the most Billboard top ten recordings is Madonna, who had twenty-seven.
Carl Weathers (Apollo Creed) from the movie, "Rocky", was an undrafted NFL player from 1971 to 1984.
Michhael Jackson's video "Beat It" was the first one to cost over $150,000.
At the age of two, Bruno Mars' father started calling his son, "Bruno" due to his resmblance to the now late wrestler, Bruno Sammartino.
Before they were the Los Angeles Lakers, that NBA team played in Minnesota, which is where they got their name.
Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz produced their own show, "I Love Lucy".
The first Beatle to do a solo album was George Harrison, which was released in 1968.
The Los Angeles Dodgers were formerly the Brooklyn Dodgers.
After having exhausted all other options in 1969, the Woodstock backers were finally permitted to hold their festival at Max Yasgur's farm in Bethel Woods, NY.
In 1980, Robert Reford won the Oscar for Best Director for the film "Ordinary People".
On November 24, 1960, Philadelphia Warrior Wilt Chamberlain set an NBA record with 55 rebounds in a game against the Boston Celtics.
Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Kurt Corbain were all 27 years old when they died.
The TV show, "Maude", was spun off from a character created in the 1970's hit show, "All In The Family".
On July 30, 1930, the first World Cup was won by Uruguay as it defeated Argentina.
The first successful union of rock and rap was peformed by Aerosmith and Run DMC with the 1986 hit, "Walk This Way".
The highest rated TV show of 1996 was "Seinfeld".
Soccer player Edson Arantes do Nascimento is better known as Pele.
Patsy Cline's hit recording, "Crazy" was written by Willie Nelson.
The original and remake of "The Nutty Professor" starred Jerry Lewis and Eddie Murphy.
In 1972, the Miami Dolphins were the only NFL team to go undefeated including the Super Bowl.
Michael Lee Aday is better known as Meatloaf.
Gone With The Wind's final line that contained the curse word, "damn", shocked audiences at the time of the film's release.
The only city to win three major, professional championships in the same year is Detroit. In 1935, the Lions, Tigers and Red wings all emerged victorious in their respective sports.
A violin has four strings.
The top grossing movie of 1997 was "Independence Day".
The MLB all-time leader in hits (4,256), games played (3,562), at bats (14,053), singles (3,215) and outs (10,328) is Pete Rose.
Louis Armstrong's nickname, "Satchmo" was derived from the term satchel mouth.
In 1952, the fastest hat trick ever recorded in professional hockey was scored by Bill Mosienko in twenty-one seconds against the NY Rangers.
Elvis Presley's first number one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 charts was "Heartbreak Hotel".
"The Mouse That Roared" was a Peter Seller film about a small country that decided it was in its economic interest to declare war on the U.S. and then collect all of the financial benefits of being defeated.
Golf is a "good walk spoiled" was quippd by Mark Twain.
At the races, a "maiden" is a horse who has yet to win a race.
A “scratch” golfer has a handicap of zero.
“Peter and the Wolf” was composed by Sergei Prokofiev
The first Pocket Book appeared in 1939. It was James Hilton’s “Lost Horizon”
Elvis Presley’s best selling posthumous hit is “My Way”.
The biggest margin of victory win in a Triple Crown Race was 31 lengths by Secretariat in the 1973 Belmont Stakes.
The animated TV show, "The Simpsons" began as a filler in the the comedy, "The Tracey Ullman Show".
In 1989, Michael Chang surprised Ivan Lendl with an underhand serve to help him win the French Open.
Johnny Cash was fondly known as "the man in black".
The "Road to" movies with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby elevated the spiritsof a nation reeling from the aftermath of an economic depression.
In 1995, Jane Austin's 1811 classic, "Sense and Sensibility" was released as a film starring Emma Thompson and Hugh Grant.
The stage name of singer, Robin Fenty is Rihanna.
Before starring in the movie, "Star Wars", Harrison Ford appeared in the movie, "American Graffiti".
The first country to host the FIFI World Cup session was Uruguay in 1930.
The first Top Ten single for Madonna in the UK was, "Holiday".
Movie character, Forrest Gump, played football in the film of the same name under Alabama Coach Bear Bryant.
The only NHL coach to come off the bench in the Stanley Cup finals was Lester Patrick of the NY Rangers in 1928.
"The Mrs Carter Show" was the title of Beyonce's 2013 world tour.
The film, "Unforgiven" yielded Clint Eastwood an academy award for having directed it.
The tennis player who has won the most Grand Slam titles is Roger Federer.
The only person in the NBA to be named, Player of the Year, Coach of the Year and Executive of the Year was Larry Bird.
"White Christmas" by Irving berlin, made its debut in the film "Holiday Inn" in 1942.
The biggest selling single of all time was a double A-sided recording by Elton John, "Candle in the Wind 1997" and "Something About the Way You Look Tonight".
The fire scene in "Gone With The Wind" is actually old sets being burned.
In 2018, the New York Yankees set the all time record for most home runs in a season by one team.
Donald Sutherland was born in 1934 in Canada. His son, Kiefer, was born in 1967 in London.
In 1989, Ivan Lendl was defeated in the French Open with a surprising underhand serve by Michael Chang.
The number one hit of The Beatles was “From Me to You”.
Country pop sensation, Shania Twain, was born Eilleen Regina Edwards.
The first non-silent motion picture was "The Jazz Singer" and was released in 1927.
In 1936, the first players to be inducted into baseball's Hall of Fame included Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Honus Wagner and Christy Mathewson.
In 2016, Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature.
The only U.S. football team to be undefeated for the entire season including the Super Bowl was the Miami Dolphins in 1972.
The first female monster in the movies was The Bride of Frankenstein.
Mr. Ellington got his nickname, "Duke" in high school for the manner in which he dressed and behaved.
In 2013, Beyonce's world tour was called, "The Mrs. Carter Show".
The first popular Pocket Book was James Hilton's "Lost Horizon" in 1939.
From 1900 until 1920, Tug of War was an official Olympic event.
In different movies, Gary Oldman has played Sid Vicious, Lee Harvey Oswald, Count Dracula, Beethoven and Winston Churchill.
The only musical instrument played without touching it is the theremin.
In 1973, Secretariat won the Belmont Stake by 31 lengths.
The first feline to be featured on "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" was Morris the Cat.
The last professional hockey player to play without a helmet was Craig MacTavish.
The favorite food of the Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles is pizza.
The record for complete games pitched in the major leagues is held by Cy Young with 749.
Formed in 1988, the musical group, "The Traveling Wilburys" counted George Harrison, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan and Jeff Lynne as its members.
"The Life of Emile Zola" was a 1937 Academy Award winning movie about the French writer that helped Captain Dreyfus and starred Paul Muni.
The inventor of the solid-body electric guitar is Les Paul.
In 1981, "An American Werewolf in London" won the Academy Award in the newly created category of best make up.
The only professional athlete to ever play in a Super Bowl and a World Series is Deion Sanders.
Chicago Bears (and University of Illinois) running back, Harold Grange was nicknamed, "The Galloping Ghost".
In 1996, Tom Hanks earned his third straight Oscar nomination for "Apollo 13".
The first video to cost over $150,000 was Michael Jackson's "Beat It".
The mother of Maya Rudolph from SNL fame is Minnie Riperton.
Michael Jackson, whose middle name is Joseph and who was born in 1958, scored his first Number 1 solo single with the recording of "Ben".
Venus Williams make her 1274 mph serve in 1998 at the European Indoor Championships in Zurich.
The production company responsible for the "I Love Lucy" series was named after Lucy and her husband, Desi Arnaz (DesiLu).
L.L. Cool J derived his name after noticing ladies love Cool James.
The shortest player ever to play in the NBA was Tyrone Bogues (5'3'').
In Italian, "a cappella", which denotes a song sung without accompaniment with instruments, literally means in chapel style.
"When Doves Cry" was Prince's song that reached the highest on the musical charts.
The Los Angeles Dodgers were formerly the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Grammys are one of the awards in music to which an artist can aspire.
The TV show, "My Favorite Martian" starred Ray Walston and Bill Bixby.
Jimi Hendrix has been called one of the greatest guitarists in the history of the instrument.
The Houston Astros won their first ever World Series in 2017.
The Groucho Marks Show was actually named, "You Bet Your Life".
The Woodstock Music Festival of 1969 was actually held in Bethel Woods, NY.
The first known 4 minute mile was run by Roger Bannister in 1954.
In 1991, Barbara Streisand directed and starred in the movie, "Prince of Tides".
The most popular album of the 1980's was Michael Jackson's, "Thriller".
As of 2017, the four teams never having played in the Super Bowl are Cleveland, Detroit, Houston and Jacksonville.
Alfred Hitchcock's, "Psycho" was released in 1960.
The only head coach in basketball to lead teams to both NBA and NCAA championships is Larry Brown.
K-Pop is a genre of music that originated in South Korea.
The acronym SCUBA stands for self-contained underwater breathing apparatus.
One hit wonder, Norman Greenbaum, wrote and recorded "Spirit in the Sky". It was released in 1969.
In 1997, the movie, "Titanic" won 11 Oscars.
On the cover of the Beatles' "Abby Road", only Paul McCartney is barefoot.
The world's most popular spectator sport is auto racing.
The first release of the "Fast and Furious" series came in 2001.
The best selling soundtrack album from a movie was from "The Bodyguard".
The highest rated show in 1979-1980; 1982-1983; and 1991-1993 was 60 Minutes.
The world's oldest sport that uses a ball is polo.
Lou Gehrig's record of playing in the most consecutive baseball games (2030) was beaten in 1995 by Cal Ripken Jr.
The first NFL team to win four Super Bowls was the Pittsburgh Steelers (IX: X: XIII; XIV).
Although it may be hard to tell from TV, the pitcher's rubber on a baseball diamond is closer to home plate than it is to 2nd base.
The most top ten Billboard records by a female artist is 27 and the singer is Madonna.
The four tournaments that comprise the Grand Slam of Tennis are: Wimbledon, the French Open, the Australian Open and the U.S. Open.
The most popular board game in history is chess.
A three-way time for the most Oscars (11) being won by a movie is shared by "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King"; "Titanic"; and "Ben-Hur".
The U.S. governent spend approximately $500,000,000 daily to replace worn-out paper currency.
The two instruments in an orchestra with the highest pitch are the piccolo and the violin.
The first feature length animated movie was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
Buckingham Palace first opened its doors to the public in 1993
Before they moved to Atlanta, the Braves were located in Boston and Miluakee.
Uruguay hosted the first World Cup Soccer Championship in 1930.
The longest rushing touchdown in Super Bowl history was run in Super Bowl XL by Willie Parker and it was 75 yards.
The highest rated shows of the 1990's were "ER", "Seinfeld" and "Friends".
The first Wimbledon Tennis Championship was played in 1877.
A U.S. Gold Medal winner is awarded $25,000.
The first recorded four-minute mile in formal competition was run in 1954 by Roger Bannister.
A group of flamingos is known as a flamboyance.
A perfect game can only be achieved in two sports, both of which beging with the letter "B". (Baseball and Bowling)
Even though he took a break from basketball to try his hand at baseball, Michael Jordan remained on the Chicago Bulls' payroll throughout.
The averageuse in play of a major league baseball is seven pitches.
The first African-Americam winner of an Oscar was Hattie McDaniel for her best supporting actress role in Gone With The Wind (1939).
There is an image of Superman in every episode of Seinfeld.
The first Hard Rock Cafe was located in Piccadilly, London, England.
The best supporting actor award in 1997 went to Robin Williams for his role in the movie, Good Will Hunting.
In 1937, Irving Berlin wrote the song, "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm".
The word "music" is derived from the Greek work for "Muses' art".
Ludwig van Beethoven was born in the city of Bonn.
In the movie, "Pulp Fiction", every clock is stopped at 4:20.
The first Super Bowl was played in Los Angeles on January 15, 1967.
The world's most popular sport is soccer.
The original host of "The Tonight Show" was Steve Allen.
A group of owls is called a parliament.
Carol Channing won a Tony for her performance in one of the longest running shows, "Hello Dolly".
The longest running musical on Broadway was "Cats".
A violin consists of seventy separate pieces of wood.
In 1981, the Academy Award for Best Picture went to "Chariots of Fire", beating out "On Golden Pond", "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "Reds".
The most Oscars ever won by a movie was won by "Ben Hur" in 1959.
The first pinch hitter to hit a home run during a World Series was Yogi Berra.
As the day was pleasant, Madame Valmonde drove over to L'Abri to see Desiree and the baby. It made her laugh to think of Desiree with a baby. Why, it seemed but yesterday that Desiree was little more than a baby herself; when Monsieur in riding through the gateway of Valmonde had found her lying asleep in the shadow of the big stone pillar.
The little one awoke in his arms and began to cry for "Dada." That was as much as she could do or say. Some people thought she might have strayed there of her own accord, for she was of the toddling age. The prevailing belief was that she had been purposely left by a party of Texans, whose canvas-covered wagon, late in the day, had crossed the ferry that Coton Mais kept, just below the plantation. In time Madame Valmonde abandoned every speculation but the one that Desiree had been sent to her by a beneficent Providence to be the child of her affection, seeing that she was without child of the flesh. For the girl grew to be beautiful and gentle, affectionate and sincere - the idol of Valmonde.
It was no wonder, when she stood one day against the stone pillar in whose shadow she had lain asleep, eighteen years before, that Armand Aubigny riding by and seeing her there, had fallen in love with her. That was the way all the Aubignys fell in love, as if struck by a pistol shot. The wonder was that he had not loved her before; for he had known her since his father brought him home from Paris, a boy of eight, after his mother died there. The passion that awoke in him that day, when he saw her at the gate, swept along like an avalanche, or like a prairie fire, or like anything that drives headlong over all obstacles.
Monsieur Valmonde grew practical and wanted things well considered: that is, the girl's obscure origin. Armand looked into her eyes and did not care. He was reminded that she was nameless. What did it matter about a name when he could give her one of the oldest and proudest in Louisiana? He ordered the corbeille from Paris, and contained himself with what patience he could until it arrived; then they were married.
Madame Valmonde had not seen Desiree and the baby for four weeks. When she reached L'Abri she shuddered at the first sight of it, as she always did. It was a sad looking place, which for many years had not known the gentle presence of a mistress, old Monsieur Aubigny having married and buried his wife in France, and she having loved her own land too well ever to leave it. The roof came down steep and black like a cowl, reaching out beyond the wide galleries that encircled the yellow stuccoed house. Big, solemn oaks grew close to it, and their thick-leaved, far-reaching branches shadowed it like a pall. Young Aubigny's rule was a strict one, too, and under it his negroes had forgotten how to be gay, as they had been during the old master's easy-going and indulgent lifetime.
The young mother was recovering slowly, and lay full length, in her soft white muslins and laces, upon a couch. The baby was beside her, upon her arm, where he had fallen asleep, at her breast. The yellow nurse woman sat beside a window fanning herself.
Madame Valmonde bent her portly figure over Desiree and kissed her, holding her an instant tenderly in her arms. Then she turned to the child.
"This is not the baby!" she exclaimed, in startled tones. French was the language spoken at Valmonde in those days.
"I knew you would be astonished," laughed Desiree, "at the way he has grown. The little cochon de lait! Look at his legs, mamma, and his hands and fingernails - real finger-nails. Zandrine had to cut them this morning. Isn't it true, Zandrine?"
The woman bowed her turbaned head majestically, "Mais si, Madame."
"And the way he cries," went on Desiree, "is deafening. Armand heard him the other day as far away as La Blanche's cabin."
Madame Valmonde had never removed her eyes from the child. She lifted it and walked with it over to the window that was lightest. She scanned the baby narrowly, then looked as searchingly at Zandrine, whose face was turned to gaze across the fields.
"Yes, the child has grown, has changed," said Madame Valmonde, slowly, as she replaced it beside its mother. "What does Armand say?"
Desiree's face became suffused with a glow that was happiness itself.
"Oh, Armand is the proudest father in the parish, I believe, chiefly because it is a boy, to bear his name; though he says not - that he would have loved a girl as well. But I know it isn't true. I know he says that to please me. And mamma," she added, drawing Madame Valmonde's head down to her, and speaking in a whisper, "he hasn't punished one of them - not one of them - since baby is born. Even Negrillon, who pretended to have burnt his leg that he might rest from work - he only laughed, and said Negrillon was a great scamp. Oh, mamma, I'm so happy; it frightens me."
What Desiree said was true. Marriage, and later the birth of his son had softened Armand Aubigny's imperious and exacting nature greatly. This was what made the gentle Desiree so happy, for she loved him desperately. When he frowned she trembled, but loved him. When he smiled, she asked no greater blessing of God. But Armand's dark, handsome face had not often been disfigured by frowns since the day he fell in love with her.
When the baby was about three months old, Desiree awoke one day to the conviction that there was something in the air menacing her peace. It was at first too subtle to grasp. It had only been a disquieting suggestion; an air of mystery among the blacks; unexpected visits from far-off neighbors who could hardly account for their coming. Then a strange, an awful change in her husband's manner, which she dared not ask him to explain. When he spoke to her, it was with averted eyes, from which the old love-light seemed to have gone out. He absented himself from home; and when there, avoided her presence and that of her child, without excuse. And the very spirit of Satan seemed suddenly to take hold of him in his dealings with the slaves. Desiree was miserable enough to die.
She sat in her room, one hot afternoon, in her peignoir, listlessly drawing through her fingers the strands of her long, silky brown hair that hung about her shoulders. The baby, half naked, lay asleep upon her own great mahogany bed, that was like a sumptuous throne, with its satin-lined half-canopy. One of La Blanche's little quadroon boys - half naked too - stood fanning the child slowly with a fan of peacock feathers. Desiree's eyes had been fixed absently and sadly upon the baby, while she was striving to penetrate the threatening mist that she felt closing about her. She looked from her child to the boy who stood beside him, and back again; over and over. "Ah!" It was a cry that she could not help; which she was not conscious of having uttered. The blood turned like ice in her veins, and a clammy moisture gathered upon her face.
She tried to speak to the little quadroon boy; but no sound would come, at first. When he heard his name uttered, he looked up, and his mistress was pointing to the door. He laid aside the great, soft fan, and obediently stole away, over the polished floor, on his bare tiptoes.
She stayed motionless, with gaze riveted upon her child, and her face the picture of fright.
Presently her husband entered the room, and without noticing her, went to a table and began to search among some papers which covered it.
"Armand," she called to him, in a voice which must have stabbed him, if he was human. But he did not notice. "Armand," she said again. Then she rose and tottered towards him. "Armand," she panted once more, clutching his arm, "look at our child. What does it mean? Tell me."
He coldly but gently loosened her fingers from about his arm and thrust the hand away from him. "Tell me what it means!" she cried despairingly.
"It means," he answered lightly, "that the child is not white; it means that you are not white."
A quick conception of all that this accusation meant for her nerved her with unwonted courage to deny it. "It is a lie; it is not true, I am white! Look at my hair, it is brown; and my eyes are gray, Armand, you know they are gray. And my skin is fair," seizing his wrist. "Look at my hand; whiter than yours, Armand," she laughed hysterically.
"As white as La Blanche's," he returned cruelly; and went away leaving her alone with their child.
When she could hold a pen in her hand, she sent a despairing letter to Madame Valmonde.
"My mother, they tell me I am not white. Armand has told me I am not white. For God's sake tell them it is not true. You must know it is not true. I shall die. I must die. I cannot be so unhappy, and live."
The answer that came was brief:
"My own Desiree: Come home to Valmonde; back to your mother who loves you. Come with your child."
When the letter reached Desiree she went with it to her husband's study, and laid it open upon the desk before which he sat. She was like a stone image: silent, white, motionless after she placed it there.
In silence heran his cold eyes over the written words.
He said nothing. "Shall I go, Armand?" she asked in tones sharp with agonized suspense.
"Do you want me to go?"
"Yes, I want you to go."
He thought Almighty God had dealt cruelly and unjustly with him; and felt, somehow, that he was paying Him back in kind when he stabbed thus into his wife's soul. Moreover he no longer loved her, because of the unconscious injury she had brought upon his home and his name.
She turned away like one stunned by a blow, and walked slowly towards the door, hoping he would call her back.
"Good-by, Armand," she moaned.
He did not answer her. That was his last blow at fate.
Desiree went in search of her child. Zandrine was pacing the sombre gallery with it. She took the little one from the nurse's arms with no word of explanation, and descending the steps, walked away, under the live-oak branches.
It was an October afternoon; the sun was just sinking. Out in the still fields the negroes were picking cotton.
Desiree had not changed the thin white garment nor the slippers which she wore. Her hair was uncovered and the sun's rays brought a golden gleam from its brown meshes. She did not take the broad, beaten road which led to the far-off plantation of Valmonde. She walked across a deserted field, where the stubble bruised her tender feet, so delicately shod, and tore her thin gown to shreds.
She disappeared among the reeds and willows that grew thick along the banks of the deep, sluggish bayou; and she did not come back again.
Some weeks later there was a curious scene enacted at L'Abri. In the centre of the smoothly swept back yard was a great bonfire. Armand Aubigny sat in the wide hallway that commanded a view of the spectacle; and it was he who dealt out to a half dozen negroes the material which kept this fire ablaze.
A graceful cradle of willow, with all its dainty furbishings, was laid upon the pyre, which had already been fed with the richness of a priceless layette. Then there were silk gowns, and velvet and satin ones added to these; laces, too, and embroideries; bonnets and gloves; for the corbeille had been of rare quality.
The last thing to go was a tiny bundle of letters; innocent little scribblings that Desiree had sent to him during the days of their espousal. There was the remnant of one back in the drawer from which he took them. But it was not Desiree's; it was part of an old letter from his mother to his father. He read it. She was thanking God for the blessing of her husband's love:--
"But above all," she wrote, "night and day, I thank the good God for having so arranged our lives that our dear Armand will never know that his mother, who adores him, belongs to the race that is cursed with the brand of slavery."
The Man and His Two Wives
In days when a man was allowed more wives than one, a middle-aged bachelor, who could be called neither young nor old, and whose hair was only just beginning to turn grey, must needs fall in love with two women at once and marry them both. The one was young and blooming and wished her husband to appear as youthful as herself. The other was somewhat more advanced in age and was as anxious that her husband should appear a suitable match for her.
So, while the young one seized every opportunity of pulling out the good man's grey hairs, the old one was as industrious in plucking out every black hair she could find. For a time the man was highly gratified by their attention and devotion, till he found one morning that, between the one and the other, he had not a hair left.
He that submits his principles to the influence and caprices of opposite parties will end in having no principles at all.
The Three Questions by Leo Tolstoy
It once occurred to a certain king that if he always knew the right time to begin everything; if he knew who were the right people to listen to, and whom to avoid; and, above all, if he always knew what was the most important thing to do, he would never fail in anything he might undertake.
And this thought having occurred to him, he had it proclaimed throughout his kingdom that he would give a great reward to anyone who would teach him what was the right time for every action, and who were the most necessary people, and how he might know what was the most important thing to do.
And learned men came to the king, but they all answered his questions differently.
In reply to the first question, some said that to know the right time for every action, one must draw up in advance a table of days, months, and years, and must live strictly according to it. Only thus, said they, could everything be done at its proper time. Others declared that it was impossible to decide beforehand the right time for every action, but that, not letting oneself be absorbed in idle pastimes, one should always attend to all that was going on, and then do what was most needful. Others, again, said that however attentive the king might be to what was going on, it was impossible for one man to decide correctly the right time for every action, but that he should have a council of wise men who would help him to fix the proper time for everything.
But then again others said there were some things which could not wait to be laid before a council, but about which one had at once to decide whether to undertake them or not. But in order to decide that, one must know beforehand what was going to happen. It is only magicians who know that; and, therefore, in order to know the right time for every action, one must consult magicians.
Equally various were the answers to the second question. Some said the people the king most needed were his councilors; others, the priests; others, the doctors; while some said the warriors were the most necessary.
To the third question, as to what was the most important occupation, some replied that the most important thing in the world was science. Others said it was skill in warfare; and others, again, that it was religious worship.
All the answers being different, the king agreed with none of them, and gave the reward to none. But still wishing to find the right answers to his questions, he decided to consult a hermit, widely renowned for his wisdom.
The hermit lived in a wood which he never quitted, and he received none but common folk. So the king put on simple clothes and, before reaching the hermit’s cell, dismounted from his horse. Leaving his bodyguard behind, he went on alone.
When the king approached, the hermit was digging the ground in front of his hut. Seeing the king, he greeted him and went on digging. The hermit was frail and weak, and each time he stuck his spade into the ground and turned a little earth, he breathed heavily.
The king went up to him and said: “I have come to you, wise hermit, to ask you to answer three questions: How can I learn to do the right thing at the right time? Who are the people I most need, and to whom should I, therefore, pay more attention than to the rest? And, what affairs are the most important and need my first attention?”
The hermit listened to the king, but answered nothing. He just spat on his hand and recommenced digging.
“You are tired,” said the king, “let me take the spade and work awhile for you.”
“Thanks!” said the hermit, and, giving the spade to the king, he sat down on the ground.
When he had dug two beds, the king stopped and repeated his questions. The hermit again gave no answer, but rose, stretched out his hand for the spade, and said:
“Now rest awhile – and let me work a bit.”
But the king did not give him the spade, and continued to dig. One hour passed, and another. The sun began to sink behind the trees, and the king at last stuck the spade into the ground, and said:
“I came to you, wise man, for an answer to my questions. If you can give me none, tell me so, and I will return home.”
“Here comes someone running,” said the hermit. “Let us see who it is.”
The king turned round and saw a bearded man come running out of the wood. The man held his hands pressed against his stomach, and blood was flowing from under them. When he reached the king, he fell fainting on the ground, moaning feebly. The king and the hermit unfastened the man’s clothing. There was a large wound in his stomach. The king washed it as best he could, and bandaged it with his handkerchief and with a towel the hermit had. But the blood would not stop flowing, and the king again and again removed the bandage soaked with warm blood, and washed and re-bandaged the wound. When at last the blood ceased flowing, the man revived and asked for something to drink. The king brought fresh water and gave it to him. Meanwhile the sun had set, and it had become cool. So the king, with the hermit’s help, carried the wounded man into the hut and laid him on the bed. Lying on the bed, the man closed his eyes and was quiet; but the king was so tired from his walk and from the work he had done that he crouched down on the threshold, and also fell asleep – so soundly that he slept all through the short summer night.
When he awoke in the morning, it was long before he could remember where he was, or who was the strange bearded man lying on the bed and gazing intently at him with shining eyes.
“Forgive me!” said the bearded man in a weak voice, when he saw that the king was awake and was looking at him.
“I do not know you, and have nothing to forgive you for,” said the king.
“You do not know me, but I know you. I am that enemy of yours who swore to revenge himself on you, because you executed his brother and seized his property. I knew you had gone alone to see the hermit, and I resolved to kill you on your way back. But the day passed and you did not return. So I came out from my ambush to find you, and came upon your bodyguard, and they recognized me, and wounded me. I escaped from them, but should have bled to death had you not dressed my wound. I wished to kill you, and you have saved my life. Now, if I live, and if you wish it, I will serve you as your most faithful slave, and will bid my sons do the same. Forgive me!”
The king was very glad to have made peace with his enemy so easily, and to have gained him for a friend, and he not only forgave him, but said he would send his servants and his own physician to attend him, and promised to restore his property.
Having taken leave of the wounded man, the king went out into the porch and looked around for the hermit. Before going away he wished once more to beg an answer to the questions he had put. The hermit was outside, on his knees, sowing seeds in the beds that had been dug the day before.
The king approached him and said, “For the last time, I pray you to answer my questions, wise man.”
“You have already been answered!” said the hermit, still crouching on his thin legs, and looking up at the king, who stood before him.
“How answered? What do you mean?” asked the king.
“Do you not see?” replied the hermit. “If you had not pitied my weakness yesterday, and had not dug these beds for me, but had gone your way, that man would have attacked you, and you would have repented of not having stayed with me. So the most important time was when you were digging the beds; and I was the most important man; and to do me good was your most important business. Afterwards, when that man ran to us, the most important time was when you were attending to him, for if you had not bound up his wounds he would have died without having made peace with you. So he was the most important man, and what you did for him was your most important business. Remember then: there is only one time that is important – now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power. The most necessary person is the one with whom you are, for no man knows whether he will ever have dealings with anyone else: and the most important affair is to do that person good, because for that purpose alone was man sent into this life.”
The Mark on the Wall
by Virginia Woolf
Perhaps it was the middle of January in the present that I first looked up and saw the mark on the wall. In order to fix a date it is necessary to remember what one saw. So now I think of the fire; the steady film of yellow light upon the page of my book; the three chrysanthemums in the round glass bowl on the mantelpiece. Yes, it must have been the winter time, and we had just finished our tea, for I remember that I was smoking a cigarette when I looked up and saw the mark on the wall for the first time. I looked up through the smoke of my cigarette and my eye lodged for a moment upon the burning coals, and that old fancy of the crimson flag flapping from the castle tower came into my mind, and I thought of the cavalcade of red knights riding up the side of the black rock. Rather to my relief the sight of the mark interrupted the fancy, for it is an old fancy, an automatic fancy, made as a child perhaps. The mark was a small round mark, black upon the white wall, about six or seven inches above the mantelpiece. How readily our thoughts swarm upon a new object, lifting it a little way, as ants carry a blade of straw so feverishly, and then leave it.... If that mark was made by a nail, it can’t have been for a picture, it must have been for a miniature—the miniature of a lady with white powdered curls, powder-dusted cheeks, and lips like red carnations. A fraud of course, for the people who had this house before us would have chosen pictures in that way—an old picture for an old room. That is the sort of people they were—very interesting people, and I think of them so often, in such queer places, because one will never see them again, never know what happened next. They wanted to leave this house because they wanted to change their style of furniture, so he said, and he was in process of saying that in his opinion art should have ideas behind it when we were torn asunder, as one is torn from the old lady about to pour out tea and the young man about to hit the tennis ball in the back garden of the suburban villa as one rushes past in the train. But as for that mark, I’m not sure about it; I don’t believe it was made by a nail after all; it’s too big, too round, for that. I might get up, but if I got up and looked at it, ten to one I shouldn’t be able to say for certain; because once a thing’s done, no one ever knows how it happened. Oh! dear me, the mystery of life; The inaccuracy of thought! The ignorance of humanity! To show how very little control of our possessions we have—what an accidental affair this living is after all our civilization—let me just count over a few of the things lost in one lifetime, beginning, for that seems always the most mysterious of losses—what cat would gnaw, what rat would nibble—three pale blue canisters of book-binding tools? Then there were the bird cages, the iron hoops, the steel skates, the Queen Anne coal-scuttle, the bagatelle board, the hand organ—all gone, and jewels, too. Opals and emeralds, they lie about the roots of turnips. What a scraping paring affair it is to be sure! The wonder is that I’ve any clothes on my back, that I sit surrounded by solid furniture at this moment. Why, if one wants to compare life to anything, one must liken it to being blown through the Tube at fifty miles an hour—landing at the other end without a single hairpin in one’s hair! Shot out at the feet of God entirely naked! Tumbling head over heels in the asphodel meadows like brown paper parcels pitched down a shoot in the post office! With one’s hair flying back like the tail of a race-horse. Yes, that seems to express the rapidity of life, the perpetual waste and repair; all so casual, all so haphazard.... But after life. The slow pulling down of thick green stalks so that the cup of the flower, as it turns over, deluges one with purple and red light. Why, after all, should one not be born there as one is born here, helpless, speechless, unable to focus one’s eyesight, groping at the roots of the grass, at the toes of the Giants? As for saying which are trees, and which are men and women, or whether there are such things, that one won’t be in a condition to do for fifty years or so. There will be nothing but spaces of light and dark, intersected by thick stalks, and rather higher up perhaps, rose-shaped blots of an indistinct colour—dim pinks and blues—which will, as time goes on, become more definite, become—I don’t know what.... And yet that mark on the wall is not a hole at all. It may even be caused by some round black substance, such as a small rose leaf, left over from the summer, and I, not being a very vigilant housekeeper—look at the dust on the mantelpiece, for example, the dust which, so they say, buried Troy three times over, only fragments of pots utterly refusing annihilation, as one can believe. The tree outside the window taps very gently on the pane.... I want to think quietly, calmly, spaciously, never to be interrupted, never to have to rise from my chair, to slip easily from one thing to another, without any sense of hostility, or obstacle. I want to sink deeper and deeper, away from the surface, with its hard separate facts. To steady myself, let me catch hold of the first idea that passes.... Shakespeare.... Well, he will do as well as another. A man who sat himself solidly in an arm-chair, and looked into the fire, so— A shower of ideas fell perpetually from some very high Heaven down through his mind. He leant his forehead on his hand, and people, looking in through the open door,—for this scene is supposed to take place on a summer’s evening—But how dull this is, this historical fiction! It doesn’t interest me at all. I wish I could hit upon a pleasant track of thought, a track indirectly reflecting credit upon myself, for those are the pleasantest thoughts, and very frequent even in the minds of modest mouse-coloured people, who believe genuinely that they dislike to hear their own praises. They are not thoughts directly praising oneself; that is the beauty of them; they are thoughts like this: “And then I came into the room. They were discussing botany. I said how I’d seen a flower growing on a dust heap on the site of an old house in Kingsway. The seed, I said, must have been sown in the reign of Charles the First. What flowers grew in the reign of Charles the First?” I asked—(but, I don’t remember the answer). Tall flowers with purple tassels to them perhaps. And so it goes on. All the time I’m dressing up the figure of myself in my own mind, lovingly, stealthily, not openly adoring it, for if I did that, I should catch myself out, and stretch my hand at once for a book in self-protection. Indeed, it is curious how instinctively one protects the image of oneself from idolatry or any other handling that could make it ridiculous, or too unlike the original to be believed in any longer. Or is it not so very curious after all? It is a matter of great importance. Suppose the looking glass smashes, the image disappears, and the romantic figure with the green of forest depths all about it is there no longer, but only that shell of a person which is seen by other people—what an airless, shallow, bald, prominent world it becomes! A world not to be lived in. As we face each other in omnibuses and underground railways we are looking into the mirror that accounts for the vagueness, the gleam of glassiness, in our eyes. And the novelists in future will realize more and more the importance of these reflections, for of course there is not one reflection but an almost infinite number; those are the depths they will explore, those the phantoms they will pursue, leaving the description of reality more and more out of their stories, taking a knowledge of it for granted, as the Greeks did and Shakespeare perhaps—but these generalizations are very worthless. The military sound of the word is enough. It recalls leading articles, cabinet ministers—a whole class of things indeed which as a child one thought the thing itself, the standard thing, the real thing, from which one could not depart save at the risk of nameless damnation. Generalizations bring back somehow Sunday in London, Sunday afternoon walks, Sunday luncheons, and also ways of speaking of the dead, clothes, and habits—like the habit of sitting all together in one room until a certain hour, although nobody liked it. There was a rule for everything. The rule for tablecloths at that particular period was that they should be made of tapestry with little yellow compartments marked upon them, such as you may see in photographs of the carpets in the corridors of the royal palaces. Tablecloths of a different kind were not real tablecloths. How shocking, and yet how wonderful it was to discover that these real things, Sunday luncheons, Sunday walks, country houses, and tablecloths were not entirely real, were indeed half phantoms, and the damnation which visited the disbeliever in them was only a sense of illegitimate freedom. What now takes the place of those things I wonder, those real standard things? Men perhaps, should you be a woman; the masculine point of view which governs our lives, which sets the standard, which establishes Whitaker’s Table of Precedency, which has become, I suppose, since the war half a phantom to many men and women, which soon—one may hope, will be laughed into the dustbin where the phantoms go, the mahogany sideboards and the Landseer prints, Gods and Devils, Hell and so forth, leaving us all with an intoxicating sense of illegitimate freedom—if freedom exists.... In certain lights that mark on the wall seems actually to project from the wall. Nor is it entirely circular. I cannot be sure, but it seems to cast a perceptible shadow, suggesting that if I ran my finger down that strip of the wall it would, at a certain point, mount and descend a small tumulus, a smooth tumulus like those barrows on the South Downs which are, they say, either tombs or camps. Of the two I should prefer them to be tombs, desiring melancholy like most English people, and finding it natural at the end of a walk to think of the bones stretched beneath the turf.... There must be some book about it. Some antiquary must have dug up those bones and given them a name.... What sort of a man is an antiquary, I wonder? Retired Colonels for the most part, I daresay, leading parties of aged labourers to the top here, examining clods of earth and stone, and getting into correspondence with the neighbouring clergy, which, being opened at breakfast time, gives them a feeling of importance, and the comparison of arrow-heads necessitates cross-country journeys to the county towns, an agreeable necessity both to them and to their elderly wives, who wish to make plum jam or to clean out the study, and have every reason for keeping that great question of the camp or the tomb in perpetual suspension, while the Colonel himself feels agreeably philosophic in accumulating evidence on both sides of the question. It is true that he does finally incline to believe in the camp; and, being opposed, indites a pamphlet which he is about to read at the quarterly meeting of the local society when a stroke lays him low, and his last conscious thoughts are not of wife or child, but of the camp and that arrowhead there, which is now in the case at the local museum, together with the foot of a Chinese murderess, a handful of Elizabethan nails, a great many Tudor clay pipes, a piece of Roman pottery, and the wine-glass that Nelson drank out of—proving I really don’t know what. No, no, nothing is proved, nothing is known. And if I were to get up at this very moment and ascertain that the mark on the wall is really—what shall we say?—-the head of a gigantic old nail, driven in two hundred years ago, which has now, owing to the patient attrition of many generations of housemaids, revealed its head above the coat of paint, and is taking its first view of modern life in the sight of a white-walled fire-lit room, what should I gain?— Knowledge? Matter for further speculation? I can think sitting still as well as standing up. And what is knowledge? What are our learned men save the descendants of witches and hermits who crouched in caves and in woods brewing herbs, interrogating shrew-mice and writing down the language of the stars? And the less we honour them as our superstitions dwindle and our respect for beauty and health of mind increases.... Yes, one could imagine a very pleasant world. A quiet, spacious world, with the flowers so red and blue in the open fields. A world without professors or specialists or house-keepers with the profiles of policemen, a world which one could slice with one’s thought as a fish slices the water with his fin, grazing the stems of the water-lilies, hanging suspended over nests of white sea eggs.... How peaceful it is drown here, rooted in the centre of the world and gazing up through the grey waters, with their sudden gleams of light, and their reflections—if it were not for Whitaker’s Almanack—if it were not for the Table of Precedency! I must jump up and see for myself what that mark on the wall really is—a nail, a rose-leaf, a crack in the wood? Here is nature once more at her old game of self-preservation. This train of thought, she perceives, is threatening mere waste of energy, even some collision with reality, for who will ever be able to lift a finger against Whitaker’s Table of Precedency? The Archbishop of Canterbury is followed by the Lord High Chancellor; the Lord High Chancellor is followed by the Archbishop of York. Everybody follows somebody, such is the philosophy of Whitaker; and the great thing is to know who follows whom. Whitaker knows, and let that, so Nature counsels, comfort you, instead of enraging you; and if you can’t be comforted, if you must shatter this hour of peace, think of the mark on the wall. I understand Nature’s game—her prompting to take action as a way of ending any thought that threatens to excite or to pain. Hence, I suppose, comes our slight contempt for men of action—men, we assume, who don’t think. Still, there’s no harm in putting a full stop to one’s disagreeable thoughts by looking at a mark on the wall. Indeed, now that I have fixed my eyes upon it, I feel that I have grasped a plank in the sea; I feel a satisfying sense of reality which at once turns the two Archbishops and the Lord High Chancellor to the shadows of shades. Here is something definite, something real. Thus, waking from a midnight dream of horror, one hastily turns on the light and lies quiescent, worshipping the chest of drawers, worshipping solidity, worshipping reality, worshipping the impersonal world which is a proof of some existence other than ours. That is what one wants to be sure of.... Wood is a pleasant thing to think about. It comes from a tree; and trees grow, and we don’t know how they grow. For years and years they grow, without paying any attention to us, in meadows, in forests, and by the side of rivers—all things one likes to think about. The cows swish their tails beneath them on hot afternoons; they paint rivers so green that when a moorhen dives one expects to see its feathers all green when it comes up again. I like to think of the fish balanced against the stream like flags blown out; and of water-beetles slowly raiding domes of mud upon the bed of the river. I like to think of the tree itself:—first the close dry sensation of being wood; then the grinding of the storm; then the slow, delicious ooze of sap. I like to think of it, too, on winter’s nights standing in the empty field with all leaves close-furled, nothing tender exposed to the iron bullets of the moon, a naked mast upon an earth that goes tumbling, tumbling, all night long. The song of birds must sound very loud and strange in June; and how cold the feet of insects must feel upon it, as they make laborious progresses up the creases of the bark, or sun themselves upon the thin green awning of the leaves, and look straight in front of them with diamond-cut red eyes.... One by one the fibres snap beneath the immense cold pressure of the earth, then the last storm comes and, falling, the highest branches drive deep into the ground again. Even so, life isn’t done with; there are a million patient, watchful lives still for a tree, all over the world, in bedrooms, in ships, on the pavement, lining rooms, where men and women sit after tea, smoking cigarettes. It is full of peaceful thoughts, happy thoughts, this tree. I should like to take each one separately—but something is getting in the way.... Where was I? What has it all been about? A tree? A river? The Downs? Whitaker’s Almanack? The fields of asphodel? I can’t remember a thing. Everything’s moving, falling, slipping, vanishing.... There is a vast upheaval of matter. Someone is standing over me and saying— “I’m going out to buy a newspaper.” “Yes?” “Though it’s no good buying newspapers.... Nothing ever happens. Curse this war; God damn this war!... All the same, I don’t see why we should have a snail on our wall.” Ah, the mark on the wall! It was a snail.
The Goose with the Golden Eggs by Aesop
A certain man had the good fortune to possess a goose that laid him a Golden Egg every day. But dissatisfied with so slow an income, and thinking to seize the whole treasure at once, he killed the Goose; and cutting her open, found her just what any other goose would
The Man & the Satyr by Aesop
A long time ago a Man met a Satyr in the forest and succeeded in making friends with him. The two soon became the best of comrades, living together in the Man's hut. But one cold winter evening, as they were walking homeward, the Satyr saw the Man blow on his fingers.
"Why do you do that?" asked the Satyr.
"To warm my hands," the Man replied.
When they reached home the Man prepared two bowls of porridge. These he placed steaming hot on the table, and the comrades sat down very cheerfully to enjoy the meal. But much to the Satyr's surprise, the Man began to blow into his bowl of porridge.
"Why do you do that?" he asked.
"To cool my porridge," replied the Man.
The Satyr sprang hurriedly to his feet and made for the door.
"Goodby," he said, "I've seenenough. A fellow that blows hot and cold in the same breath cannot be friends with me!"
by O. Henry
The most notable thing about Time is that it is so purely relative. A large amount of reminiscence is, by common consent, conceded to the drowning man; and it is not past belief that one may review an entire courtship while removing one's gloves.
That is what Trysdale was doing, standing by a table in his bachelor apartments. On the table stood a singular-looking green plant in a red earthen jar. The plant was one of the species of cacti, and was provided with long, tentacular leaves that perpetually swayed with the slightest breeze with a peculiar beckoning motion.
Trysdale's friend, the brother of the bride, stood at a sideboard complaining at being allowed to drink alone. Both men were in evening dress. White favors like stars upon their coats shone through the gloom of the apartment.
As he slowly unbuttoned his gloves, there passed through Trysdale's mind a swift, scarifying retrospect of the last few hours. It seemed that in his nostrils was still the scent of the flowers that had been banked in odorous masses about the church, and in his ears the lowpitched hum of a thousand well-bred voices, the rustle of crisp garments, and, most insistently recurring, the drawling words of the minister irrevocably binding her to another.
From this last hopeless point of view he still strove, as if it had become a habit of his mind, to reach some conjecture as to why and how he had lost her. Shaken rudely by the uncompromising fact, he had suddenly found himself confronted by a thing he had never before faced --his own innermost, unmitigated, arid unbedecked self. He saw all the garbs of pretence and egoism that he had worn now turn to rags of folly. He shuddered at the thought that to others, before now, the garments of his soul must have appeared sorry and threadbare. Vanity and conceit? These were the joints in his armor. And how free from either she had always been--But why--
As she had slowly moved up the aisle toward the altar he had felt an unworthy, sullen exultation that had served to support him. He had told himself that her paleness was from thoughts of another than the man to whom she was about to give herself. But even that poor consolation had been wrenched from him. For, when he saw that swift, limpid, upward look that she gave the man when he took her hand, he knew himself to be forgotten. Once that same look had been raised to him, and he had gauged its meaning. Indeed, his conceit had crumbled; its last prop was gone. Why had it ended thus? There had been no quarrel between them, nothing--
For the thousandth time he remarshalled in his mind the events of those last few days before the tide had so suddenly turned.
She had always insisted upon placing him upon a pedestal, and he had accepted her homage with royal grandeur. It had been a very sweet incense that she had burned before him; so modest (he told himself); so childlike and worshipful, and (he would once have sworn) so sincere. She had invested him with an almost supernatural number of high attributes and excellencies and talents, and he had absorbed the oblation as a desert drinks the rain that can coax from it no promise of blossom or fruit.
As Trysdale grimly wrenched apart the seam of his last glove, the crowning instance of his fatuous and tardily mourned egoism came vividly back to him. The scene was the night when he had asked her to come up on his pedestal with him and share his greatness. He could not, now, for the pain of it, allow his mind to dwell upon the memory of her convincing beauty that night--the careless wave of her hair, the tenderness and virginal charm of her looks and words. But they had been enough, and they had brought him to speak. During their conversation she had said:
"And Captain Carruthers tells me that you speak the Spanish language like a native. Why have you hidden this accomplishment from me? Is there anything you do not know?"
Now, Carruthers was an idiot. No doubt he (Trysdale) had been guilty (he sometimes did such things) of airing at the club some old, canting Castilian proverb dug from the hotchpotch at the back of dictionaries. Carruthers, who was one of his incontinent admirers, was the very man to have magnified this exhibition of doubtful erudition.
But, alas! the incense of her admiration had been so sweet and flattering. He allowed the imputation to pass without denial. Without protest, he allowed her to twine about his brow this spurious bay of Spanish scholarship. He let it grace his conquering head, and, among its soft convolutions, he did not feel the prick of the thorn that was to pierce him later.
How glad, how shy, how tremulous she was! How she fluttered like a snared bird when he laid his mightiness at her feet! He could have sworn, and he could swear now, that unmistakable consent was in her eyes, but, coyly, she would give him no direct answer. "I will send you my answer to-morrow," she said; and he, the indulgent, confident victor, smilingly granted the delay. The next day he waited, impatient, in his rooms for the word. At noon her groom came to the door and left the strange cactus in the red earthen jar. There was no note, no message, merely a tag upon the plant bearing a barbarous foreign or botanical name. He waited until night, but her answer did not come. His large pride and hurt vanity kept him from seeking her. Two evenings later they met at a dinner. Their greetings were conventional, but she looked at him, breathless, wondering, eager. He was courteous, adamant, waiting her explanation. With womanly swiftness she took her cue from his manner, and turned to snow and ice. Thus, and wider from this on, they had drifted apart. Where was his fault? Who had been to blame? Humbled now, he sought the answer amid the ruins of his self-conceit. If--
The voice of the other man in the room, querulously intruding upon his thoughts, aroused him.
"I say, Trysdale, what the deuce is the matter with you? You look unhappy as if you yourself had been married instead of having acted merely as an accomplice. Look at me, another accessory, come two thousand miles on a garlicky, cockroachy banana steamer all the way from South America to connive at the sacrifice--please to observe how lightly my guilt rests upon my shoulders. Only little sister I had, too, and now she's gone. Come now! take something to ease your conscience."
"I don't drink just now, thanks," said Trysdale.
"Your brandy," resumed the other, coming over and joining him, "is abominable. Run down to see me some time at Punta Redonda, and try some of our stuff that old Garcia smuggles in. It's worth the, trip. Hallo! here's an old acquaintance. Wherever did you rake up this cactus, Trysdale?"
"A present," said Trysdale, "from a friend. Know the species?"
"Very well. It's a tropical concern. See hundreds of 'em around Punta every day. Here's the name on this tag tied to it. Know any Spanish, Trysdale?"
"No," said Trysdale, with the bitter wraith of a smile--"Is it Spanish?"
"Yes. The natives imagine the leaves are reaching out and beckoning to you. They call it by this name--Ventomarme. Name means in English, 'Come and take me.'"
On the Tram by Franz Kafka
I stand on the end platform of the tram and am completely unsure of my footing in this world, in this town, in my family. Not even casually could I indicate any claims that I might rightly advance in any direction. I have not even any defense to offer for standing on this platform, holding on to this strap, letting myself be carried along by this tram, nor for the people who give way to the tram or walk quietly along or stand gazing into shop windows. Nobody asks me to put up a defense, indeed, but that is irrelevant.
The tram approaches a stopping place and a girl takes up her position near the step, ready to alight. She is as distinct to me as if I had run my hands over her. She is dressed in black, the pleats of her skirt hang almost still, her blouse is tight and has a collar of white fine-meshed lace, her left hand is braced flat against the side of the tram, the umbrella in her right hand rests on the second top step. Her face is brown, her nose, slightly pinched at the sides, has a broad round tip. She has a lot of brown hair and stray little tendrils on the right temple. Her small ear is close-set, but since I am near her I can see the whole ridge of the whorl of her right ear and the shadow at the root of it.
At that point I asked myself: How is it that she is not amazed at herself, that she keeps her lips closed and makes no such remark?
The Wolf and the Crane by Aesop
The wolf ravished his prey one day. He ate so fiercely and hungrily that a bone got lodged in his throat, causing him grievous pain. He howled and howled in agony and offered a rich reward to anyone who could remove the bone. A crane passing by considered the money, and after seeing the wolf and hearing him scream in such pain, took pity upon him. She used her long thin bill to reach down his throat and remove the bone. And after removing the bone, she asked the wolf for the promised reward.
"Reward!" cried the wolf, "You greedy, insolent bird! Why do you deserve a reward? You're lucky that I didn't bite your head off when you stuck it in my mouth!"
The Tell-Tale Heart
by Edgar Allan Poe
True! --nervous --very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses --not destroyed --not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily --how calmly I can tell you the whole story.
It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once conceived, it haunted me day and night. Object there was none. Passion there was none. I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire. I think it was his eye! yes, it was this! He had the eye of a vulture --a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees --very gradually --I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever.
Now this is the point. You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen me. You should have seen how wisely I proceeded --with what caution --with what foresight --with what dissimulation I went to work! I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole week before I killed him. And every night, about midnight, I turned the latch of his door and opened it --oh so gently! And then, when I had made an opening sufficient for my head, I put in a dark lantern, all closed, closed, that no light shone out, and then I thrust in my head. Oh, you would have laughed to see how cunningly I thrust it in! I moved it slowly --very, very slowly, so that I might not disturb the old man's sleep. It took me an hour to place my whole head within the opening so far that I could see him as he lay upon his bed. Ha! would a madman have been so wise as this, And then, when my head was well in the room, I undid the lantern cautiously-oh, so cautiously --cautiously (for the hinges creaked) --I undid it just so much that a single thin ray fell upon the vulture eye. And this I did for seven long nights --every night just at midnight --but I found the eye always closed; and so it was impossible to do the work; for it was not the old man who vexed me, but his Evil Eye. And every morning, when the day broke, I went boldly into the chamber, and spoke courageously to him, calling him by name in a hearty tone, and inquiring how he has passed the night. So you see he would have been a very profound old man, indeed, to suspect that every night, just at twelve, I looked in upon him while he slept.
Upon the eighth night I was more than usually cautious in opening the door. A watch's minute hand moves more quickly than did mine. Never before that night had I felt the extent of my own powers --of my sagacity. I could scarcely contain my feelings of triumph. To think that there I was, opening the door, little by little, and he not even to dream of my secret deeds or thoughts. I fairly chuckled at the idea; and perhaps he heard me; for he moved on the bed suddenly, as if startled. Now you may think that I drew back --but no. His room was as black as pitch with the thick darkness, (for the shutters were close fastened, through fear of robbers,) and so I knew that he could not see the opening of the door, and I kept pushing it on steadily, steadily. I had my head in, and was about to open the lantern, when my thumb slipped upon the tin fastening, and the old man sprang up in bed, crying out --"Who's there?" I kept quite still and said nothing. For a whole hour I did not move a muscle, and in the meantime I did not hear him lie down. He was still sitting up in the bed listening; --just as I have done, night after night, hearkening to the death watches in the wall.
Presently I heard a slight groan, and I knew it was the groan of mortal terror. It was not a groan of pain or of grief --oh, no! --it was the low stifled sound that arises from the bottom of the soul when overcharged with awe. I knew the sound well. Many a night, just at midnight, when all the world slept, it has welled up from my own bosom, deepening, with its dreadful echo, the terrors that distracted me. I say I knew it well. I knew what the old man felt, and pitied him, although I chuckled at heart. I knew that he had been lying awake ever since the first slight noise, when he had turned in the bed. His fears had been ever since growing upon him. He had been trying to fancy them causeless, but could not. He had been saying to himself --"It is nothing but the wind in the chimney --it is only a mouse crossing the floor," or "It is merely a cricket which has made a single chirp." Yes, he had been trying to comfort himself with these suppositions: but he had found all in vain. All in vain; because Death, in approaching him had stalked with his black shadow before him, and enveloped the victim. And it was the mournful influence of the unperceived shadow that caused him to feel --although he neither saw nor heard --to feel the presence of my head within the room.
When I had waited a long time, very patiently, without hearing him lie down, I resolved to open a little --a very, very little crevice in the lantern. So I opened it --you cannot imagine how stealthily, stealthily --until, at length a simple dim ray, like the thread of the spider, shot from out the crevice and fell full upon the vulture eye. It was open --wide, wide open --and I grew furious as I gazed upon it. I saw it with perfect distinctness --all a dull blue, with a hideous veil over it that chilled the very marrow in my bones; but I could see nothing else of the old man's face or person: for I had directed the ray as if by instinct, precisely upon the damned spot. And have I not told you that what you mistake for madness is but over-acuteness of the sense? --now, I say, there came to my ears a low, dull, quick sound, such as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton. I knew that sound well, too. It was the beating of the old man's heart. It increased my fury, as the beating of a drum stimulates the soldier into courage.
But even yet I refrained and kept still. I scarcely breathed. I held the lantern motionless. I tried how steadily I could maintain the ray upon the eve. Meantime the hellish tattoo of the heart increased. It grew quicker and quicker, and louder and louder every instant. The old man's terror must have been extreme! It grew louder, I say, louder every moment! --do you mark me well I have told you that I am nervous: so I am. And now at the dead hour of the night, amid the dreadful silence of that old house, so strange a noise as this excited me to uncontrollable terror. Yet, for some minutes longer I refrained and stood still. But the beating grew louder, louder! I thought the heart must burst. And now a new anxiety seized me --the sound would be heard by a neighbour! The old man's hour had come! With a loud yell, I threw open the lantern and leaped into the room. He shrieked once --once only. In an instant I dragged him to the floor, and pulled the heavy bed over him. I then smiled gaily, to find the deed so far done. But, for many minutes, the heart beat on with a muffled sound. This, however, did not vex me; it would not be heard through the wall. At length it ceased. The old man was dead. I removed the bed and examined the corpse. Yes, he was stone, stone dead. I placed my hand upon the heart and held it there many minutes. There was no pulsation. He was stone dead. His eye would trouble me no more.
If still you think me mad, you will think so no longer when I describe the wise precautions I took for the concealment of the body. The night waned, and I worked hastily, but in silence. First of all I dismembered the corpse. I cut off the head and the arms and the legs. I then took up three planks from the flooring of the chamber, and deposited all between the scantlings. I then replaced the boards so cleverly, so cunningly, that no human eye --not even his --could have detected any thing wrong. There was nothing to wash out --no stain of any kind --no blood-spot whatever. I had been too wary for that. A tub had caught all --ha! ha! When I had made an end of these labors, it was four o'clock --still dark as midnight. As the bell sounded the hour, there came a knocking at the street door. I went down to open it with a light heart, --for what had I now to fear? There entered three men, who introduced themselves, with perfect suavity, as officers of the police. A shriek had been heard by a neighbour during the night; suspicion of foul play had been aroused; information had been lodged at the police office, and they (the officers) had been deputed to search the premises. I smiled, --for what had I to fear? I bade the gentlemen welcome. The shriek, I said, was my own in a dream. The old man, I mentioned, was absent in the country. I took my visitors all over the house. I bade them search --search well. I led them, at length, to his chamber. I showed them his treasures, secure, undisturbed. In the enthusiasm of my confidence, I brought chairs into the room, and desired them here to rest from their fatigues, while I myself, in the wild audacity of my perfect triumph, placed my own seat upon the very spot beneath which reposed the corpse of the victim.
The officers were satisfied. My manner had convinced them. I was singularly at ease. They sat, and while I answered cheerily, they chatted of familiar things. But, ere long, I felt myself getting pale and wished them gone. My head ached, and I fancied a ringing in my ears: but still they sat and still chatted. The ringing became more distinct: --It continued and became more distinct: I talked more freely to get rid of the feeling: but it continued and gained definiteness --until, at length, I found that the noise was not within my ears. No doubt I now grew very pale; --but I talked more fluently, and with a heightened voice. Yet the sound increased --and what could I do? It was a low, dull, quick sound --much such a sound as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton. I gasped for breath --and yet the officers heard it not. I talked more quickly --more vehemently; but the noise steadily increased. I arose and argued about trifles, in a high key and with violent gesticulations; but the noise steadily increased. Why would they not be gone? I paced the floor to and fro with heavy strides, as if excited to fury by the observations of the men --but the noise steadily increased. Oh God! what could I do? I foamed --I raved --I swore! I swung the chair upon which I had been sitting, and grated it upon the boards, but the noise arose over all and continually increased. It grew louder --louder --louder! And still the men chatted pleasantly, and smiled. Was it possible they heard not? Almighty God! --no, no! They heard! --they suspected! --they knew! --they were making a mockery of my horror!-this I thought, and this I think. But anything was better than this agony! Anything was more tolerable than this derision! I could bear those hypocritical smiles no longer! I felt that I must scream or die! and now --again! --hark! louder! louder! louder! louder!
"Villains!" I shrieked, "dissemble no more! I admit the deed! --tear up the planks! here, here! --It is the beating of his hideous heart!"
The Old Hound Fable by Aesop
A Hound, who in the days of his youth and strength had never yielded to any beast of the forest, encountered in his old age a boar in the chase.
He seized him boldly by the ear, but could not retain his hold because of the decay of his teeth, so that the boar escaped.
His master, quickly coming up, was very much disappointed, and fiercely abused the dog.
The Hound looked up and said: "It was not my fault, master; my spirit was as good as ever, but I could not help mine infirmities. I rather deserve to be praised for what I have been, than to be blamed for what I am."
The Oxen & the Wheels
A pair of Oxen were drawing a heavily loaded wagon along a miry country road. They had to use all their strength to pull the wagon, but they did not complain.
The Wheels of the wagon were of a different sort. Though the task they had to do was very light compared with that of the Oxen, they creaked and groaned at every turn. The poor Oxen, pulling with all their might to draw the wagon through the deep mud, had their ears filled with the loud complaining of the Wheels. And this, you may well know, made their work so much the harder to endure.
"Silence!" the Oxen cried at last, out of patience. "What have you Wheels to complain about so loudly? We are drawing all the weight, not you, and we are keeping still about it besides."
Sleepy by Anton Chekov
Night. Varka, the little nurse, a girl of thirteen, is rocking the cradle in which the baby is lying, and humming hardly audibly:
“Hush-a-bye, my baby wee,
While I sing a song for thee.”
A little green lamp is burning before the ikon; there is a string stretched from one end of the room to the other, on which baby-clothes and a pair of big black trousers are hanging. There is a big patch of green on the ceiling from the ikon lamp, and the baby-clothes and the trousers throw long shadows on the stove, on the cradle, and on Varka… When the lamp begins to flicker, the green patch and the shadows come to life, and are set in motion, as though by the wind. It is stuffy. There is a smell of cabbage soup, and of the inside of a boot-shop.
The baby’s crying. For a long while he has been hoarse and exhausted with crying; but he still goes on screaming, and there is no knowing when he will stop. And Varka is sleepy. Her eyes are glued together, her head droops, her neck aches. She cannot move her eyelids or her lips, and she feels as though her face is dried and wooden, as though her head has become as small as the head of a pin.
“Hush-a-bye, my baby wee,” she hums, “while I cook the groats for thee…”
A cricket is churring in the stove. Through the door in the next room the master and the apprentice Afanasy are snoring… The cradle creaks plaintively, Varka murmurs — and it all blends into that soothing music of the night to which it is so sweet to listen, when one is lying in bed. Now that music is merely irritating and oppressive, because it goads her to sleep, and she must not sleep; if Varka — God forbid! — should fall asleep, her master and mistress would beat her.
The lamp flickers. The patch of green and the shadows are set in motion, forcing themselves on Varka’s fixed, half-open eyes, and in her half slumbering brain are fashioned into misty visions. She sees dark clouds chasing one another over the sky, and screaming like the baby. But then the wind blows, the clouds are gone, and Varka sees a broad high road covered with liquid mud; along the high road stretch files of wagons, while people with wallets on their backs are trudging along and shadows flit backwards and forwards; on both sides she can see forests through the cold harsh mist. All at once the people with their wallets and their shadows fall on the ground in the liquid mud. “What is that for?” Varka asks. “To sleep, to sleep!” they answer her. And they fall sound asleep, and sleep sweetly, while crows and magpies sit on the telegraph wires, scream like the baby, and try to wake them.
“Hush-a-bye, my baby wee, and I will sing a song to thee,” murmurs Varka, and now she sees herself in a dark stuffy hut.
Her dead father, Yefim Stepanov, is tossing from side to side on the floor. She does not see him, but she hears him moaning and rolling on the floor from pain. “His guts have burst,” as he says; the pain is so violent that he cannot utter a single word, and can only draw in his breath and clack his teeth like the rattling of a drum:
Her mother, Pelageya, has run to the master’s house to say that Yefim is dying. She has been gone a long time, and ought to be back. Varka lies awake on the stove, and hears her father’s “boo–boo–boo.” And then she hears someone has driven up to the hut. It is a young doctor from the town, who has been sent from the big house where he is staying on a visit. The doctor comes into the hut; he cannot be seen in the darkness, but he can be heard coughing and rattling the door.
“Light a candle,” he says.
“Boo–boo–boo,” answers Yefim.
Pelageya rushes to the stove and begins looking for the broken pot with the matches. A minute passes in silence. The doctor, feeling in his pocket, lights a match.
“In a minute, sir, in a minute,” says Pelageya. She rushes out of the hut, and soon afterwards comes back with a bit of candle.
Yefim’s cheeks are rosy and his eyes are shining, and there is a peculiar keenness in his glance, as though he were seeing right through the hut and the doctor.
“Come, what is it? What are you thinking about?” says the doctor, bending down to him. “Aha! have you had this long?”
“What? Dying, your honour, my hour has come… I am not to stay among the living.”
“Don’t talk nonsense! We will cure you!”
“That’s as you please, your honour, we humbly thank you, only we understand… Since death has come, there it is.”
The doctor spends a quarter of an hour over Yefim, then he gets up and says:
“I can do nothing. You must go into the hospital, there they will operate on you. Go at once… You must go! It’s rather late, they will all be asleep in the hospital, but that doesn’t matter, I will give you a note. Do you hear?”
“Kind sir, but what can he go in?” says Pelageya. “We have no horse.”
“Never mind. I’ll ask your master, he’ll let you have a horse.”
The doctor goes away, the candle goes out, and again there is the sound of “boo–boo–boo.” Half an hour later someone drives up to the hut. A cart has been sent to take Yefim to the hospital. He gets ready and goes…
But now it is a clear bright morning. Pelageya is not at home; she has gone to the hospital to find what is being done to Yefim. Somewhere there is a baby crying, and Varka hears someone singing with her own voice:
“Hush-a-bye, my baby wee, I will sing a song to thee.”
Pelageya comes back; she crosses herself and whispers:
“They put him to rights in the night, but towards morning he gave up his soul to God… The Kingdom of Heaven be his and peace everlasting… They say he was taken too late… He ought to have gone sooner…”
Varka goes out into the road and cries there, but all at once someone hits her on the back of her head so hard that her forehead knocks against a birch tree. She raises her eyes, and sees facing her, her master, the shoemaker.
“What are you about, you scabby slut?” he says. “The child is crying, and you are asleep!”
He gives her a sharp slap behind the ear, and she shakes her head, rocks the cradle, and murmurs her song. The green patch and the shadows from the trousers and the baby-clothes move up and down, nod to her, and soon take possession of her brain again. Again she sees the high road covered with liquid mud. The people with wallets on their backs and the shadows have lain down and are fast asleep. Looking at them, Varka has a passionate longing for sleep; she would lie down with enjoyment, but her mother Pelageya is walking beside her, hurrying her on. They are hastening together to the town to find situations.
“Give alms, for Christ’s sake!” her mother begs of the people they meet. “Show us the Divine Mercy, kind-hearted gentlefolk!”
“Give the baby here!” a familiar voice answers. “Give the baby here!” the same voice repeats, this time harshly and angrily. “Are you asleep, you wretched girl?”
Varka jumps up, and looking round grasps what is the matter: there is no high road, no Pelageya, no people meeting them, there is only her mistress, who has come to feed the baby, and is standing in the middle of the room. While the stout, broad-shouldered woman nurses the child and soothes it, Varka stands looking at her and waiting till she has done. And outside the windows the air is already turning blue, the shadows and the green patch on the ceiling are visibly growing pale, it will soon be morning.
“Take him,” says her mistress, buttoning up her chemise over her bosom; “he is crying. He must be bewitched.”
Varka takes the baby, puts him in the cradle and begins rocking it again. The green patch and the shadows gradually disappear, and now there is nothing to force itself on her eyes and cloud her brain. But she is as sleepy as before, fearfully sleepy! Varka lays her head on the edge of the cradle, and rocks her whole body to overcome her sleepiness, but yet her eyes are glued together, and her head is heavy.
“Varka, heat the stove!” she hears the master’s voice through the door.
So it is time to get up and set to work. Varka leaves the cradle, and runs to the shed for firewood. She is glad. When one moves and runs about, one is not so sleepy as when one is sitting down. She brings the wood, heats the stove, and feels that her wooden face is getting supple again, and that her thoughts are growing clearer.
“Varka, set the samovar!” shouts her mistress.
Varka splits a piece of wood, but has scarcely time to light the splinters and put them in the samovar, when she hears a fresh order:
“Varka, clean the master’s goloshes!”
She sits down on the floor, cleans the goloshes, and thinks how nice it would be to put her head into a big deep golosh, and have a little nap in it… And all at once the golosh grows, swells, fills up the whole room. Varka drops the brush, but at once shakes her head, opens her eyes wide, and tries to look at things so that they may not grow big and move before her eyes.
“Varka, wash the steps outside; I am ashamed for the customers to see them!”
Varka washes the steps, sweeps and dusts the rooms, then heats another stove and runs to the shop. There is a great deal of work: she hasn’t one minute free.
But nothing is so hard as standing in the same place at the kitchen table peeling potatoes. Her head droops over the table, the potatoes dance before her eyes, the knife tumbles out of her hand while her fat, angry mistress is moving about near her with her sleeves tucked up, talking so loud that it makes a ringing in Varka’s ears. It is agonising, too, to wait at dinner, to wash, to sew, there are minutes when she longs to flop on to the floor regardless of everything, and to sleep.
The day passes. Seeing the windows getting dark, Varka presses her temples that feel as though they were made of wood, and smiles, though she does not know why. The dusk of evening caresses her eyes that will hardly keep open, and promises her sound sleep soon. In the evening visitors come.
“Varka, set the samovar!” shouts her mistress. The samovar is a little one, and before the visitors have drunk all the tea they want, she has to heat it five times. After tea Varka stands for a whole hour on the same spot, looking at the visitors, and waiting for orders.
“Varka, run and buy three bottles of beer!”
She starts off, and tries to run as quickly as she can, to drive away sleep.
“Varka, fetch some vodka! Varka, where’s the corkscrew? Varka, clean a herring!”
But now, at last, the visitors have gone; the lights are put out, the master and mistress go to bed.
“Varka, rock the baby!” she hears the last order.
The cricket churrs in the stove; the green patch on the ceiling and the shadows from the trousers and the baby-clothes force themselves on Varka’s half-opened eyes again, wink at her and cloud her mind.
“Hush-a-bye, my baby wee,” she murmurs, “and I will sing a song to thee.”
And the baby screams, and is worn out with screaming. AgainVarka sees the muddy high road, the people with wallets, her mother Pelageya, her father Yefim. She understands everything, she recognises everyone, but through her half sleep she cannot understand the force which binds her, hand and foot, weighs upon her, and prevents her from living. She looks round, searches for that force that she may escape from it, but she cannot find it. At last, tired to death, she does her very utmost, strains her eyes, looks up at the flickering green patch, and listening to the screaming, finds the foe who will not let her live.
That foe is the baby.
She laughs. It seems strange to her that she has failed to grasp such a simple thing before. The green patch, the shadows, and the cricket seem to laugh and wonder too.
The hallucination takes possession of Varka. She gets up from her stool, and with a broad smile on her face and wide unblinking eyes, she walks up and down the room. She feels pleased and tickled at the thought that she will be rid directly of the baby that binds her hand and foot… Kill the baby and then sleep, sleep, sleep…
Laughing and winking and shaking her fingers at the green patch, Varka steals up to the cradle and bends over the baby. When she has strangled him, she quickly lies down on the floor, laughs with delight that she can sleep, and in a minute is sleeping as sound as the dead.
The Mountains in Labor Fable
One day the Countrymen noticed that the Mountains were in labor; smoke came out of their summits, the earth was quaking at their feet, trees were crashing, and huge rocks were tumbling. They felt sure that something horrible was going to happen. They all gathered together in one place to see what terrible thing this could be.They waited and they waited, but nothing came. At last there was a still more violent earthquake, and a huge gap appeared in the side of the Mountains.They all fell down upon their knees and waited.At last, and at last, a teeny, tiny mouse poked its little head and bristles out of the gap and came running down towards them, and ever after they used to say: "Much outcry, little outcome."
A Princess of Mars
by Edgar Rice Burroughs
It was dark when I opened my eyes again. Strange, stiff garments were upon my body; garments that cracked and powdered away from me as I rose to a sitting posture.
I felt myself over from head to foot and from head to foot I was clothed, though when I fell unconscious at the little doorway I had been naked. Before me was a small patch of moonlit sky which showed through a ragged aperture.
As my hands passed over my body they came in contact with pockets and in one of these a small parcel of matches wrapped in oiled paper. One of these matches I struck, and its dim flame lighted up what appeared to be a huge cave, toward the back of which I discovered a strange, still figure huddled over a tiny bench. As I approached it I saw that it was the dead and mummified remains of a little old woman with long black hair, and the thing it leaned over was a small charcoal burner upon which rested a round copper vessel containing a small quantity of greenish powder.
Von Kempelen and His Discovery
by Edgar Allan Poe
AFTER THE very minute and elaborate paper by Arago, to say nothing of the summary in 'Silliman's Journal,' with the detailed statement just published by Lieutenant Maury, it will not be supposed, of course, that in offering a few hurried remarks in reference to Von Kempelen's discovery, I have any design to look at the subject in a scientific point of view. My object is simply, in the first place, to say a few words of Von Kempelen himself (with whom, some years ago, I had the honor of a slight personal acquaintance), since every thing which concerns him must necessarily, at this moment, be of interest; and, in the second place, to look in a general way, and speculatively, at the results of the discovery. It may be as well, however, to premise the cursory observations which I have to offer, by denying, very decidedly, what seems to be a general impression (gleaned, as usual in a case of this kind, from the newspapers), viz.: that this discovery, astounding as it unquestionably is, is unanticipated.
By reference to the 'Diary of Sir Humphrey Davy' (Cottle and Munroe, London, pp. 150), it will be seen at pp. 53 and 82, that this illustrious chemist had not only conceived the idea now in question, but had actually made no inconsiderable progress, experimentally, in the very identical analysis now so triumphantly brought to an issue by Von Kempelen, who although he makes not the slightest allusion to it, is, without doubt (I say it unhesitatingly, and can prove it, if required), indebted to the 'Diary' for at least the first hint of his own undertaking.
The paragraph from the 'Courier and Enquirer,' which is now going the rounds of the press, and which purports to claim the invention for a Mr. Kissam, of Brunswick, Maine, appears to me, I confess, a little apocryphal, for several reasons; although there is nothing either impossible or very improbable in the statement made. I need not go into details. My opinion of the paragraph is founded principally upon its manner. It does not look true. Persons who are narrating facts, are seldom so particular as Mr. Kissam seems to be, about day and date and precise location. Besides, if Mr. Kissam actually did come upon the discovery he says he did, at the period designated -- nearly eight years ago -- how happens it that he took no steps, on the instant, to reap the immense benefits which the merest bumpkin must have known would have resulted to him individually, if not to the world at large, from the discovery? It seems to me quite incredible that any man of common understanding could have discovered what Mr. Kissam says he did, and yet have subsequently acted so like a baby -- so like an owl -- as Mr. Kissam admits that he did. By-the-way, who is Mr. Kissam? and is not the whole paragraph in the 'Courier and Enquirer' a fabrication got up to 'make a talk'? It must be confessed that it has an amazingly moon-hoaxy-air. Very little dependence is to be placed upon it, in my humble opinion; and if I were not well aware, from experience, how very easily men of science are mystified, on points out of their usual range of inquiry, I should be profoundly astonished at finding so eminent a chemist as Professor Draper, discussing Mr. Kissam's (or is it Mr. Quizzem's?) pretensions to the discovery, in so serious a tone.
But to return to the 'Diary' of Sir Humphrey Davy. This pamphlet was not designed for the public eye, even upon the decease of the writer, as any person at all conversant with authorship may satisfy himself at once by the slightest inspection of the style. At page 13, for example, near the middle, we read, in reference to his researches about the protoxide of azote: 'In less than half a minute the respiration being continued, diminished gradually and were succeeded by analogous to gentle pressure on all the muscles.' That the respiration was not 'diminished,' is not only clear by the subsequent context, but by the use of the plural, 'were.' The sentence, no doubt, was thus intended: 'In less than half a minute, the respiration [being continued, these feelings] diminished gradually, and were succeeded by [a sensation] analogous to gentle pressure on all the muscles.' A hundred similar instances go to show that the MS. so inconsiderately published, was merely a rough note-book, meant only for the writer's own eye, but an inspection of the pamphlet will convince almost any thinking person of the truth of my suggestion. The fact is, Sir Humphrey Davy was about the last man in the world to commit himself on scientific topics. Not only had he a more than ordinary dislike to quackery, but he was morbidly afraid of appearing empirical; so that, however fully he might have been convinced that he was on the right track in the matter now in question, he would never have spoken out, until he had every thing ready for the most practical demonstration. I verily believe that his last moments would have been rendered wretched, could he have suspected that his wishes in regard to burning this 'Diary' (full of crude speculations) would have been unattended to; as, it seems, they were. I say 'his wishes,' for that he meant to include this note-book among the miscellaneous papers directed 'to be burnt,' I think there can be no manner of doubt. Whether it escaped the flames by good fortune or by bad, yet remains to be seen. That the passages quoted above, with the other similar ones referred to, gave Von Kempelen the hint, I do not in the slightest degree question; but I repeat, it yet remains to be seen whether this momentous discovery itself (momentous under any circumstances) will be of service or disservice to mankind at large. That Von Kempelen and his immediate friends will reap a rich harvest, it would be folly to doubt for a moment. They will scarcely be so weak as not to 'realize,' in time, by large purchases of houses and land, with other property of intrinsic value.
In the brief account of Von Kempelen which appeared in the 'Home Journal,' and has since been extensively copied, several misapprehensions of the German original seem to have been made by the translator, who professes to have taken the passage from a late number of the Presburg 'Schnellpost.' 'Viele' has evidently been misconceived (as it often is), and what the translator renders by 'sorrows,' is probably 'lieden,' which, in its true version, 'sufferings,' would give a totally different complexion to the whole account; but, of course, much of this is merely guess, on my part.
Von Kempelen, however, is by no means 'a misanthrope,' in appearance, at least, whatever he may be in fact. My acquaintance with him was casual altogether; and I am scarcely warranted in saying that I know him at all; but to have seen and conversed with a man of so prodigious a notoriety as he has attained, or will attain in a few days, is not a small matter, as times go.
'The Literary World' speaks of him, confidently, as a native of Presburg (misled, perhaps, by the account in 'The Home Journal') but I am pleased in being able to state positively, since I have it from his own lips, that he was born in Utica, in the State of New York, although both his parents, I believe, are of Presburg descent. The family is connected, in some way, with Maelzel, of Automaton-chess-player memory. In person, he is short and stout, with large, fat, blue eyes, sandy hair and whiskers, a wide but pleasing mouth, fine teeth, and I think a Roman nose. There is some defect in one of his feet. His address is frank, and his whole manner noticeable for bonhomie. Altogether, he looks, speaks, and acts as little like 'a misanthrope' as any man I ever saw. We were fellow-sojouners for a week about six years ago, at Earl's Hotel, in Providence, Rhode Island; and I presume that I conversed with him, at various times, for some three or four hours altogether. His principal topics were those of the day, and nothing that fell from him led me to suspect his scientific attainments. He left the hotel before me, intending to go to New York, and thence to Bremen; it was in the latter city that his great discovery was first made public; or, rather, it was there that he was first suspected of having made it. This is about all that I personally know of the now immortal Von Kempelen; but I have thought that even these few details would have interest for the public.
There can be little question that most of the marvellous rumors afloat about this affair are pure inventions, entitled to about as much credit as the story of Aladdin's lamp; and yet, in a case of this kind, as in the case of the discoveries in California, it is clear that the truth may be stranger than fiction. The following anecdote, at least, is so well authenticated, that we may receive it implicitly.
Von Kempelen had never been even tolerably well off during his residence at Bremen; and often, it was well known, he had been put to extreme shifts in order to raise trifling sums. When the great excitement occurred about the forgery on the house of Gutsmuth & Co., suspicion was directed toward Von Kempelen, on account of his having purchased a considerable property in Gasperitch Lane, and his refusing, when questioned, to explain how he became possessed of the purchase money. He was at length arrested, but nothing decisive appearing against him, was in the end set at liberty. The police, however, kept a strict watch upon his movements, and thus discovered that he left home frequently, taking always the same road, and invariably giving his watchers the slip in the neighborhood of that labyrinth of narrow and crooked passages known by the flash name of the 'Dondergat.' Finally, by dint of great perseverance, they traced him to a garret in an old house of seven stories, in an alley called Flatzplatz, -- and, coming upon him suddenly, found him, as they imagined, in the midst of his counterfeiting operations. His agitation is represented as so excessive that the officers had not the slightest doubt of his guilt. After hand-cuffing him, they searched his room, or rather rooms, for it appears he occupied all the mansarde.
Opening into the garret where they caught him, was a closet, ten feet by eight, fitted up with some chemical apparatus, of which the object has not yet been ascertained. In one corner of the closet was a very small furnace, with a glowing fire in it, and on the fire a kind of duplicate crucible -- two crucibles connected by a tube. One of these crucibles was nearly full of lead in a state of fusion, but not reaching up to the aperture of the tube, which was close to the brim. The other crucible had some liquid in it, which, as the officers entered, seemed to be furiously dissipating in vapor. They relate that, on finding himself taken, Kempelen seized the crucibles with both hands (which were encased in gloves that afterwards turned out to be asbestic), and threw the contents on the tiled floor. It was now that they hand-cuffed him; and before proceeding to ransack the premises they searched his person, but nothing unusual was found about him, excepting a paper parcel, in his coat-pocket, containing what was afterward ascertained to be a mixture of antimony and some unknown substance, in nearly, but not quite, equal proportions. All attempts at analyzing the unknown substance have, so far, failed, but that it will ultimately be analyzed, is not to be doubted.
Passing out of the closet with their prisoner, the officers went through a sort of ante-chamber, in which nothing material was found, to the chemist's sleeping-room. They here rummaged some drawers and boxes, but discovered only a few papers, of no importance, and some good coin, silver and gold. At length, looking under the bed, they saw a large, common hair trunk, without hinges, hasp, or lock, and with the top lying carelessly across the bottom portion. Upon attempting to draw this trunk out from under the bed, they found that, with their united strength (there were three of them, all powerful men), they 'could not stir it one inch.' Much astonished at this, one of them crawled under the bed, and looking into the trunk, said:
'No wonder we couldn't move it -- why it's full to the brim of old bits of brass!'
Putting his feet, now, against the wall so as to get a good purchase, and pushing with all his force, while his companions pulled with an theirs, the trunk, with much difficulty, was slid out from under the bed, and its contents examined. The supposed brass with which it was filled was all in small, smooth pieces, varying from the size of a pea to that of a dollar; but the pieces were irregular in shape, although more or less flat-looking, upon the whole, 'very much as lead looks when thrown upon the ground in a molten state, and there suffered to grow cool.' Now, not one of these officers for a moment suspected this metal to be any thing but brass. The idea of its being gold never entered their brains, of course; how could such a wild fancy have entered it? And their astonishment may be well conceived, when the next day it became known, all over Bremen, that the 'lot of brass' which they had carted so contemptuously to the police office, without putting themselves to the trouble of pocketing the smallest scrap, was not only gold -- real gold -- but gold far finer than any employed in coinage-gold, in fact, absolutely pure, virgin, without the slightest appreciable alloy.
I need not go over the details of Von Kempelen's confession (as far as it went) and release, for these are familiar to the public. That he has actually realized, in spirit and in effect, if not to the letter, the old chimaera of the philosopher's stone, no sane person is at liberty to doubt. The opinions of Arago are, of course, entitled to the greatest consideration; but he is by no means infallible; and what he says of bismuth, in his report to the Academy, must be taken cum granosalis. The simple truth is, that up to this period all analysis has failed; and until Von Kempelen chooses to let us have the key to his own published enigma, it is more than probable that the matter will remain, for years, in statu quo. All that as yet can fairly be said to be known is, that 'Pure gold can be made at will, and very readily from lead in connection with certain other substances, in kind and in proportions, unknown.'
Speculation, of course, is busy as to the immediate and ultimate results of this discovery -- a discovery which few thinking persons will hesitate in referring to an increased interest in the matter of gold generally, by the late developments in California; and this reflection brings us inevitably to another -- the exceeding inopportuneness of Von Kempelen's analysis. If many were prevented from adventuring to California, by the mere apprehension that gold would so materially diminish in value, on account of its plentifulness in the mines there, as to render the speculation of going so far in search of it a doubtful one -- what impression will be wrought now, upon the minds of those about to emigrate, and especially upon the minds of those actually in the mineral region, by the announcement of this astounding discovery of Von Kempelen? a discovery which declares, in so many words, that beyond its intrinsic worth for manufacturing purposes (whatever that worth may be), gold now is, or at least soon will be (for it cannot be supposed that Von Kempelen can long retain his secret), of no greater value than lead, and of far inferior value to silver. It is, indeed, exceedingly difficult to speculate prospectively upon the consequences of the discovery, but one thing may be positively maintained -- that the announcement of the discovery six months ago would have had material influence in regard to the settlement of California.
In Europe, as yet, the most noticeable results have been a rise of two hundred per cent. in the price of lead, and nearly twenty-five per cent. that of silver.
The Belly and the Members by Aesop
One fine day it occurred to the Members of the Body that they were doing all the work and the Belly was having all the food.
So they held a meeting, and after a long discussion, decided to strike work till the Belly consented to take its proper share of the work.
So for a day or two, the Hands refused to take the food, the Mouth refused to receive it, and the Teeth had no work to do.
But after a day or two the Members began to find that they themselves were not in a very active condition:
The Hands could hardly move, and the Mouth was all parched and dry, while the Legs were unable to support the rest.
So thus they found that even the Belly in its dull quiet way was doing necessary work for the Body, and that all must work together or the Body will go to pieces.
A Haunted House by Virginia Woolf
Whatever hour you woke there was a door shutting. From room to room they went, hand in hand, lifting here, opening there, making sure—a ghostly couple.
“Here we left it,” she said. And he added, “Oh, but here too!” “It’s upstairs,” she murmured. “And in the garden,” he whispered “Quietly,” they said, “or we shall wake them.”
But it wasn’t that you woke us. Oh, no. “They’re looking for it; they’re drawing the curtain,” one might say, and so read on a page or two. “Now they’ve found it,” one would be certain, stopping the pencil on the margin. And then, tired of reading, one might rise and see for oneself, the house all empty, the doors standing open, only the wood pigeons bubbling with content and the hum of the threshing machine sounding from the farm. “What did I come in here for? What did I want to find?” My hands were empty. “Perhaps it’s upstairs then?” The apples were in the loft. And so down again, the garden still as ever, only the book had slipped into the grass.
But they had found it in the drawing room. Not that one could ever see them. The window panes reflected apples, reflected roses; all the leaves were green in the glass. If they moved in the drawing room, the apple only turned its yellow side. Yet, the moment after, if the door was opened, spread about the floor, hung upon the walls, pendant from the ceiling—what? My hands were empty. The shadow of a thrush crossed the carpet; from the deepest wells of silence the wood pigeon drew its bubble of sound. “Safe, safe, safe,” the pulse of the house beat softly. “The treasure buried; the room . . . ” the pulse stopped short. Oh, was that the buried treasure?
A moment later the light had faded. Out in the garden then? But the trees spun darkness for a wandering beam of sun. So fine, so rare, coolly sunk beneath the surface the beam I sought always burnt behind the glass. Death was the glass; death was between us; coming to the woman first, hundreds of years ago, leaving the house, sealing all the windows; the rooms were darkened. He left it, left her, went North, went East, saw the stars turned in the Southern sky; sought the house, found it dropped beneath the Downs. “Safe, safe, safe,” the pulse of the house beat gladly. “The Treasure yours.”
The wind roars up the avenue. Trees stoop and bend this way and that. Moonbeams splash and spill wildly in the rain. But the beam of the lamp falls straight from the window. The candle burns stiff and still. Wandering through the house, opening the windows, whispering not to wake us, the ghostly couple seek their joy.
“Here we slept,” she says. And he adds, “Kisses without number.” “Waking in the morning—” “Silver between the trees—” “Upstairs—” “In the garden—” “When summer came—” “In winter snowtime—” The doors go shutting far in the distance, gently knocking like the pulse of a heart.
Nearer they come; cease at the doorway. The wind falls, the rain slides silver down the glass. Our eyes darken; we hear no steps beside us; we see no lady spread her ghostly cloak. His hands shield the lantern. “Look,” he breathes. “Sound asleep. Love upon their lips.”
Stooping, holding their silver lamp above us, long they look and deeply. Long they pause. The wind drives straightly; the flame stoops slightly. Wild beams of moonlight cross both floor and wall, and, meeting, stain the faces bent; the faces pondering; the faces that search the sleepers and seek their hidden joy.
“Safe, safe, safe,” the heart of the house beats proudly. “Long years—” he sighs. “Again you found me.” “Here,” she murmurs, “sleeping; in the garden reading; laughing, rolling apples in the loft. Here we left our treasure—” Stooping, their light lifts the lids upon my eyes. “Safe! safe! safe!” the pulse of the house beats wildly. Waking, I cry “Oh, is this your buried treasure? The light in the heart.”
Hercules and the Wagoner
by Aesop A carter was driving a wagon along a country lane, when the wheels sank down deep into a rut. The rustic driver, stupefied and aghast, stoodlooking at the wagon, and did nothing but utter loud cries to Hercules to come and help him. Hercules, it is said, appeared and thus addressedhim: "Put your shoulders to the wheels, my man. Goad on your bullocks, and never more pray to me for help, until you have done your best to help yourself, or depend upon it you will henceforth pray in vain."
The Bundle of Sticks by Aesop
An old man on the point of death summoned his sons around him to give them some parting advice.He ordered his servants to bring in a faggot of sticks, and said to his eldest son: "Break it."The son strained and strained, but with all his efforts was unable to break the Bundle.The other sons also tried, but none of them was successful. "Untie the faggots," said the father, "and each of you take a stick."When they had done so, he called out to them: "Now, break," and each stick was easily broken."You see my meaning," said their father.
Two Fellows and the Bear Fable by Aesop
Two Fellows were travelling together through a wood, when a Bear rushed out upon them. One of the travellers happened to be in front, and he seized hold of the branch of a tree, and hid himself among the leaves. The other, seeing no help for it, threw himself flat down upon the ground, with his face in the dust. The Bear, coming up to him, put his muzzle close to his ear, and sniffed and sniffed. But at last with a growl he shook his head and slouched off, for bears will not touch dead meat. Then the fellow in the tree came down to his comrade, and, laughing, said hat was it that Master Bruin whispered to you?" "He told me," trust a friend who deserts you at a pinch"
The Cat, the Rooster, and the Young Mouse
A very young mouse made his first trip out of the hole and into the world. He returned to tell his mother of the wonderful creatures he saw.
"Oh, Mother," said the mouse, "I saw some curious animals. There was one beautiful animal with fluffy fur and a long winding tail. She made such a tender vibratingnoise. I saw another animal, a terrible looking monster. He had raw meat on his head and on his chin that wiggled and shook as he walked. He spread out his sides and cried with such a powerful and frightening wail, that I scurried away in fear, without even talking to the kind beautiful animal.
Mother Mouse smiled, "My dear, that horrible creature was a harmless bird, but that beautiful animal with the fluffy fur was a mouse-eating cat. You are lucky she did not have you for dinner."
The Man, the Boy, and the Donkey Fable by Aesop
A Man and his son were once going with their Donkey to market.
As they were walking along by its side a countryman passed them and said: "You fools, what is a Donkey for but to ride upon?"
So the Man put the Boy on the Donkey and they went on their way.
But soon they passed a group of men, one of whom said: "See that lazy youngster, he lets his father walk while he rides."
So the Man ordered his Boy to get off, and got on himself.
But they hadn't gone far when they passed two women, one of whom said to the other: "Shame on that lazy lout to let his poor little son trudge along."
Well, the Man didn't know what to do, but at last he took his Boy up before him on the Donkey.
By this time they had come to the town, and the passers-by began to jeer and point at them.
The Man stopped and asked what they were scoffing at.
The men said: "Aren't you ashamed of yourself for overloading that poor donkey of yours and your hulking son?"
The Man and Boy got off and tried to think what to do.
They thought and they thought, till at last they cut down a pole, tied the donkey's feet to it, and raised the pole and the donkey to their shoulders.
They went along amid the laughter of all who met them till they came to Market Bridge, when the Donkey, getting one of his feet loose, kicked out and caused the Boy to drop his end of the pole.
In the struggle the Donkey fell over the bridge, and his fore-feet being tied together he was drowned.
"That will teach you," said an old man who had followed them: "Please all, and you will please none"
A slave named Androcles once escaped from his master and fled to the forest. As he was wandering about there he came upon a Lion lying down moaning and groaning. At first he turned to flee, but finding that the Lion did not pursue him, he turned back and went up to him.
As he came near, the Lion put out his paw, which was all swollen and bleeding, and Androcles found that a huge thorn had got into it, and was causing all the pain. He pulled out the thorn and bound up the paw of the Lion, who was soon able to rise and lick the hand of Androcles like a dog. Then the Lion took Androcles to his cave, and every day used to bring him meat from which to live.
But shortly afterwards both Androcles and the Lion were captured, and the slave was sentenced to be thrown to the Lion, after the latter had been kept without food for several days. The Emperor and all his Court came to see the spectacle, and Androcles was led out into the middle of the arena. Soon the Lion was let loose from his den, and rushed bounding and roaring towards his victim.
But as soon as he came near to Androcles he recognised his friend, and fawned upon him, and licked his hands like a friendly dog. The Emperor, surprised at this, summoned Androcles to him, who told him the whole story. Whereupon the slave was pardoned and freed, and the Lion let loose to his native forest.
The Sick Stag by Aesop
A sick Stag lay down in a quiet corner of his pasture-ground.
His companions came in great numbers to inquire after his health, and each one helped himself to a share of the food which had been placed for his use; so that he died, not from his sickness, but from the failure of the means of living.
A slave named Androcles once escaped from his master and fled to the forest. As he was wandering about there he came upon a Lion lying down moaning and groaning. At first he turned to flee, but finding that the Lion did not pursue him, he turned back and went up to him.
As he came near, the Lion put out his paw, which was all swollen and bleeding, and Androcles found that a huge thorn had got into it, and was causing all the pain. He pulled out the thorn and bound up the paw of the Lion, who was soon able to rise and lick the hand of Androcles like a dog. Then the Lion took Androcles to his cave, and every day used to bring him meat from which to live.
But shortly afterwards both Androcles and the Lion were captured, and the slave was sentenced to be thrown to the Lion, after the latter had been kept without food for several days. The Emperor and all his Court came to see the spectacle, and Androcles was led out into the middle of the arena. Soon the Lion was let loose from his den, and rushed bounding and roaring towards his victim.
But as soon as he came near to Androcles he recognised his friend, and fawned upon him, and licked his hands like a friendly dog. The Emperor, surprised at this, summoned Androcles to him, who told him the whole story. Whereupon the slave was pardoned and freed, and the Lion let loose to his native forest.
The Dog and the Shadow by Aesop
It happened that a Dog had got a piece of meat and was carrying it home in his mouth to eat it in peace.
Now on his way home he had to cross a plank lying across a running brook.
As he crossed, he looked down and saw his own shadow reflected in the water beneath.
Thinking it was another dog with another piece of meat, he made up his mind to have that also.
So he made a snap at the shadow in the water, but as he opened his mouth the piece of meat fell out, dropped into the water and was never seen more.
The Shepherd Boy and the Wolf by Aesop
A Shepherd Boy tended his master's Sheep near a dark forest not far from the village. Soon he found life in the pasture very dull. All he could do to amuse himself was to talk to his dog or play on his shepherd's pipe.
One day as he sat watching the Sheep and the quiet forest, and thinking what he would do should he see a Wolf, he thought of a plan to amuse himself.
His Master had told him to call for help should a Wolf attack the flock, and the Villagers would drive it away. So now, though he had not seen anything that even looked like a Wolf, he ran toward the village shouting at the top of his voice, "Wolf! Wolf!"
As he expected, the Villagers who heard the cry dropped their work and ran in great excitement to the pasture. But when they got there they found the Boy doubled up with laughter at the trick he had played on them.
A few days later the Shepherd Boy again shouted, "Wolf! Wolf!" Again the Villagers ran to help him, only to be laughed at again.
Then one evening as the sun was setting behind the forest and the shadows were creeping out over the pasture, a Wolf really did spring from the underbrush and fall upon the Sheep.
In terror the Boy ran toward the village shouting "Wolf! Wolf!" But though the Villagers heard the cry, they did not run to help him as they had before. "He cannot fool us again," they said.
The Wolf killed a great many of the Boy's sheep and then slipped away into the forest.
The Bundle of Sticks
A certain Father had a family of Sons, who were forever quarreling among themselves. No words he could say did the least good, so he cast about in his mind for some very striking example that should make them see that discord would lead them to misfortune.
One day when the quarreling had been much more violent than usual and each of the Sons was moping in a surly manner, he asked one of them to bring him a bundle of sticks. Then handing the bundle to each of his Sons in turn he told them to try to break it. But although each one tried his best, none was able to do so.
The Father then untied the bundle and gave the sticks to his Sons to break one by one. This they did very easily.
"My Sons," said the Father, "do you not see how certain it is that if you agree with each other and help each other, it will be impossible for your enemies to injure you? But if you are divided among yourselves, you will be no stronger than a single stick in that bundle."
THE FOX AND THE MASK
One day a fox went rummaging in the house of an actor. He came across a pile of the actor's stage accessories and noticed a mask in the midst of the pile.
He swatted and played with the mask for a few moments before saying, "What a handsome face this person has. It's a pity he has no brains."
The Bear and the Bees by Aesop
A bear came across a log where a swarm of bees had nested to make their honey. As he snooped around, a single little bee flew out of the log to protect the swarm. Knowing that the bear would eat all the honey, the little bee stung him sharply on the nose and flew back into the log.
This flew the bear into an angry rage. He swatted at the log with his big claws, determined to destroy the nest of bees inside. This only alerted the bees and quick as a wink, the entire swarm of bees flew out of the log and began to sting the bear from head to heel. The bear saved himself by running to and diving into the nearest pond.
A Dog and His Reflection by Aesop
A dog was walking home with his dinner, a large slab of meat, in his mouth. On his way home, he walked by a river. Looking in the river, he saw another dog with a handsome chunk of meat in his mouth.
"I want that meat, too," thought the dog, and he snapped at the dog to grab his meat which caused him to drop his dinner in the river.
The Wind and the Sun by Aesop
The wind and the sun argued one day over which one was the stronger. Spotting a man man traveling on the road, they sported a challenge to see which one could remove the coat from the man's back the quickest. The wind began. He blew strong gusts of air, so strong that the man could barely walk against them. But the man clutched his coat tight against him. The wind blew harder and longer, and the harder the wind blew, the tighter the man held his coat against him. The wind blew until he was exhausted, but he could not remove the coat from the man's back. It was now the sun's turn. He gently sent his beams upon the traveler. The sun did very little, but quietly shone upon his head and back until the man became so warm that he took off his coat and headed for the nearest shade tree.
The Tree nd the Axe Fable by Aesop
A Man came into a forest, and made a petition to the Trees to provide him a handle for his axe. The Trees consented to his request, and gave him a young ash-tree. No sooner had the man fitted from it a new handle to his axe, than he began to use it, and quickly felled with his strokes the noblest giants of the forest. An old oak, lamenting when too late the destruction of his companions, said to a neighboring cedar: "The first step has lost us all. If we had not given up the rights of the ash, we might yet have retained our own privileges and have stood for ages."
The Belly and the Members Fable by Aesop
One fine day it occurred to the Members of the Body that they were doing all the work and the Belly was having all the food. So they held a meeting, and after a long discussion, decided to strike work till the Belly consented to take its proper share of the work. So for a day or two, the Hands refused to take the food, the Mouth refused to receive it, and the Teeth had no work to do. But after a day or two the Members began to find that they themselves were not in a very active condition: The Hands could hardly move, and the Mouth was all parched and dry, while the Legs were unable to support the rest. So thus they found that even the Belly in its dull quiet way was doing necessary work for the Body, and that all must work together or the Body will go to pieces.
Belling the Cat
The Mice once called a meeting to decide on a plan to free themselves of their enemy, the Cat. At least they wished to find some way of knowing when she was coming, so they might have time to run away. Indeed, something had to be done, for they lived in such constant fear of her claws that they hardly dared stir from their dens by night or day.
Many plans were discussed, but none of them was thought good enough. At last a very young Mouse got up and said:
"I have a plan that seems very simple, but I know it will be successful.
All we have to do is to hang a bell about the Cat's neck. When we hear the bell ringing we will know immediately that our enemy is coming."
All the Mice were much surprised that they had not thought of such a plan before. But in the midst of the rejoicing over their good fortune, an old Mouse arose and said:
"I will say that the plan of the young Mouse is very good. But let me ask one question: Who will bell the Cat?"
The Boys and the Frogs
Some boys, playing near a pond, saw a number of Frogs in the water, and began to pelt them with stones. They killed several of them, when one of the Frogs, lifting his head out of the water, cried out: "Pray stop, my boys; what is sport to you is death to us."
The Plane Tree
Two travelers, walking in the noonday sun, sought the shade of a widespreading tree to rest. As they lay looking up among the pleasant leaves, they saw that it was a Plane Tree.
“How useless is the Plane!” said one of them. “It bears no fruit whatever, and only serves to litter the ground with leaves.”
“Ungrateful creatures!” said a voice from the Plane Tree. “You lie here in my cooling shade, and yet you say I am useless! Thus ungratefully, O Jupiter, do men receive their blessings!”
The Crow and the Pitcher by Aesop
A Crow, half-dead with thirst, came upon a Pitcher which had once been full of water; but when the Crow put its beak into the mouth of the Pitcher he found that only very little water was left in it, and that he could not reach far enough down to get at it.
He tried, and he tried, but at last had to give up in despair.
Then a thought came to him, and he took a pebble and dropped it into thePitcher.
Then he took another pebble and dropped it into the Pitcher.
Then he took another pebble and dropped that into the Pitcher.
Then he took another pebble and dropped that into the Pitcher.
Then he took another pebble and dropped that into the Pitcher.
Then he took another pebble and dropped that into the Pitcher.
At last, at last, he saw the water mount up near him, and after casting in a few more pebbles he was able to quench his thirst and save his life.
The Animals And The Plague by Aesop
Once upon a time a severe plague raged among the animals. Many died, and those who lived were so ill, that they cared for neither food nor drink, and dragged themselves about listlessly. No longer could a fat young hen tempt Master Fox to dinner, nor a tender lamb rouse greedy Sir Wolf's appetite.
At last the Lion decided to call a council. When all the animals were gathered together he arose and said:
"Dear friends, I believe the gods have sent this plague upon us as a punishment for our sins. Therefore, the most guilty one of us must be offered in sacrifice. Perhaps we may thus obtain forgiveness and cure for all.
"I will confess all my sins first. I admit that I have been very greedy and have devoured many sheep. They had done me no harm. I have eaten goats and bulls and stags. To tell the truth, I even ate up a shepherd now and then.
"Now, if I am the most guilty, I am ready to be sacrificed. But I think it best that each one confess his sins as I have done. Then we can decide in all justice who is the most guilty."
"Your majesty," said the Fox, "you are too good. Can it be a crime to eat sheep, such stupid mutton heads? No, no, your majesty. You have done them great honor by eating them up.
"And so far as shepherds are concerned, we all know they belong to that puny race that pretends to be our masters."
All the animals applauded the Fox loudly. Then, though the Tiger, the Bear, the Wolf, and all the savage beasts recited the most wicked deeds, all were excused and made to appear very saint-like and innocent.
It was now the Ass's turn to confess.
"I remember," he said guiltily, "that one day as I was passing a field belonging to some priests, I was so tempted by the tender grass and my hunger, that I could not resist nibbling a bit of it. I had no right to do it, I admit—"
A great uproar among the beasts interrupted him. Here was the culprit who had brought misfortune on all of them! What a horrible crime it was to eat grass that belonged to someone else! It was enough to hang anyone for, much more an Ass.
Immediately they all fell upon him, the Wolf in the lead, and soon had made an end to him, sacrificing him to the gods then and there, and without the formality of an altar.
The Ant and the Grasshopper by Aesop
In a field one summer's day a Grasshopper was hopping about, chirping and singing to its heart's content. An Ant passed by, bearing along with great toil an ear of corn he was taking to the nest.
"Why not come and chat with me," said the Grasshopper, "instead of toiling and moiling in that way?"
"I am helping to lay up food for the winter," said the Ant, "and recommend you to do the same."
"Why bother about winter?" said the Grasshopper; we have got plenty of food at present." But the Ant went on its way and continued its toil. When the winter came the Grasshopper had no food and found itself dying of hunger, while it saw the ants distributing every day corn and grain from the stores they had collected in the summer. Then the Grasshopper knew:
It is best to prepare for the days of necessity.
The Boy and the Filberts by Aesop
A boy was given permission to put his hand in a pitcher to get some filberts. But he took such a great fistful that he could not draw his hand out again. There he stood unwilling to give up a single filbert and yet unable to get all of them out at once. Vexed and disappointed he began to cry.
"My boy", said his mother, "be satisfied with half the nuts you have taken and you will easily get your hand out. Then perhaps you have some more filberts some other time."
by H.H. Munro
Octavian Ruttle was one of those lively cheerful individuals on whom amiability had set its unmistakable stamp, and, like most of his kind, his soul's peace depended in large measure on the unstinted approval of his fellows. In hunting to death a small tabby cat he had done a thing of which he scarcely approved himself, and he was glad when the gardener had hidden the body in its hastily dug grave under a lone oak-tree in the meadow, the same tree that the hunted quarry had climbed as a last effort towards safety. It had been a distasteful and seemingly ruthless deed, but circumstances had demanded the doing of it. Octavian kept chickens; at least he kept some of them; others vanished from his keeping, leaving only a few bloodstained feathers to mark the manner of their going. The tabby cat from the large grey house that stood with its back to the meadow had been detected in many furtive visits to the hen-coups, and after due negotiation with those in authority at the grey house a sentence of death had been agreed on. "The children will mind, but they need not know," had been the last word on the matter.
The children in question were a standing puzzle to Octavian; in the course of a few months he considered that he should have known their names, ages, the dates of their birthdays, and have been introduced to their favourite toys. They remained however, as non-committal as the long blank wall that shut them off from the meadow, a wall over which their three heads sometimes appeared at odd moments. They had parents in India -- that much Octavian had learned in the neighbourhood; the children, beyond grouping themselves garment-wise into sexes, a girl and two boys, carried their life-story no further on his behoof. And now it seemed he was engaged in something which touched them closely, but must be hidden from their knowledge.
The poor helpless chickens had gone one by one to their doom, so it was meet that their destroyer should come to a violent end; yet Octavian felt some qualms when his share of the violence was ended. The little cat, headed off from its wonted tracks of safety, had raced unfriended from shelter to shelter, and its end had been rather piteous. Octavian walked through the long grass of the meadow with a step less jaunty than usual. And as he passed beneath the shadow of the high blank wall he glanced up and became aware that his hunting had had undesired witnesses. Three white set faces were looking down at him, and if ever an artist wanted a threefold study of cold human hate, impotent yet unyielding, raging yet masked in stillness, he would have found it in the triple gaze that met Octavian's eye.
"I'm sorry, but it had to be done," said Octavian, with genuine apology in his voice.
The answer came from three throats with startling intensity.
Octavian felt that the blank wall would not be more impervious to his explanations than the bunch of human hostility that peered over its coping; he wisely decided to withhold his peace overtures till a more hopeful occasion.
Two days later he ransacked the best sweet shop in the neighbouring market town for a box of chocolates that by its size and contents should fitly atone for the dismal deed done under the oak tree in the meadow. The two first specimens that were shown him he hastily rejected; one had a group of chickens pictured on its lid, the other bore the portrait of a tabby kitten. A third sample was more simply bedecked with a spray of painted poppies, and Octavian hailed the flowers of forgetfulness as a happy omen. He felt distinctly more at ease with his surroundings when the imposing package had been sent across to the grey house, and a message returned to say that it had been duly given to the children. The next morning he sauntered with purposeful steps past the long blank wall on his way to the chicken-run and piggery that stood at the bottom of the meadow. The three children were perched at their accustomed look-out, and their range of sight did not seem to concern itself with Octavian's presence. As he became depressingly aware of the aloofness of their gaze he also noted a strange variegation in the herbage at his feet; the greensward for a considerable space around was strewn and speckled with a chocolate-coloured hail, enlivened here and there with gay tinsel-like wrappings or the glistening mauve of crystallised violets. It was as though the fairy paradise of a greedyminded child had taken shape and substance in the vegetation of the meadow. Octavian's bloodmoney had been flung back at him in scorn.
To increase his discomfiture the march of events tended to shift the blame of ravaged chicken-coops from the supposed culprit who had already paid full forfeit; the young chicks were still carried off, and it seemed highly probable that the cat had only haunted the chicken-run to prey on the rats which harboured there. Through the flowing channels of servant talk the children learned of this belated revision of verdict, and Octavian one day picked up a sheet of copy-book paper on which was painstakingly written: "Beast. Rats eated your chickens." More ardently than ever did he wish for an opportunity for sloughing off the disgrace that enwrapped him, and earning some happier nickname from his three unsparing judges.
And one day a chance inspiration came to him. Olivia, his two-year-old daughter, was accustomed to spend the hour from high noon till one o'clock with her father while the nursemaid gobbled and digested her dinner and novelette. About the same time the blank wall was usually enlivened by the presence of its three small wardens. Octavian, with seeming carelessness of purpose, brought Olivia well within hail of the watchers and noted with hidden delight the growing interest that dawned in that hitherto sternly hostile quarter. His little Olivia, with her sleepy placid ways, was going to succeed where he, with his anxious well-meant overtures, had so signally failed. He brought her a large yellow dahlia, which she grasped tightly in one hand and regarded with a stare of benevolent boredom, such as one might bestow on amateur classical dancing performed in aid of a deserving charity. Then he turned shyly to the group perched on the wall and asked with affected carelessness, "Do you like flowers?" Three solemn nods rewarded his venture.
"Which sorts do you like best?" he asked, this time with a distinct betrayal of eagerness in his voice.
"Those with all the colours, over there." Three chubby arms pointed to a distant tangle of sweetpea. Child-like, they had asked for what lay farthest from hand, but Octavian trotted off gleefully to obey their welcome behest. He pulled and plucked with unsparing hand, and brought every variety of tint that he could see into his bunch that was rapidly becoming a bundle. Then he turned to retrace his steps, and found the blank wall blanker and more deserted than ever, while the foreground was void of all trace of Olivia. Far down the meadow three children were pushing a go-cart at the utmost speed they could muster in the direction of the piggeries; it was Olivia's go-cart and Olivia sat in it, somewhat bumped and shaken by the pace at which she was being driven, but apparently retaining her wonted composure of mind. Octavian stared for a moment at the rapidly moving group, and then started in hot pursuit, shedding as he ran sprays of blossom from the mass of sweet-pea that he still clutched in his hands. Fast as he ran the children had reached the piggery before he could overtake them, and he arrived just in time to see Olivia, wondering but unprotesting, hauled and pushed up to the roof of the nearest sty. They were old buildings in some need of repair, and the rickety roof would certainly not have borne Octavian's weight if he had attempted to follow his daughter and her captors on their new vantage ground.
"What are you going to do with her?" he panted. There was no mistaking the grim trend of mischief in those flushed by sternly composed young faces.
"Hang her in chains over a slow fire," said one of the boys. Evidently they had been reading English history.
"Frow her down the pigs will d'vour her, every bit 'cept the palms of her hands," said the other boy. It was also evident that they had studied Biblical history.
The last proposal was the one which most alarmed Octavian, since it might be carried into effect at a moment's notice; there had been cases, he remembered, of pigs eating babies.
"You surely wouldn't treat my poor little Olivia in that way?" he pleaded.
"You killed our little cat," came in stern reminder from three throats.
"I'm sorry I did," said Octavian, and if there is a standard measurement in truths Octavian's statement was assuredly a large nine.
"We shall be very sorry when we've killed Olivia," said the girl, "but we can't be sorry till we've done it."
The inexorable child-logic rose like an unyielding rampart before Octavian's scared pleadings. Before he could think of any fresh line of appeal his energies were called out in another direction. Olivia had slid off the roof and fallen with a soft, unctuous splash into a morass of muck and decaying straw. Octavian scrambled hastily over the pigsty wall to her rescue, and at once found himself in a quagmire that engulfed his feet. Olivia, after the first shock of surprise at her sudden drop through the air, had been mildly pleased at finding herself in close and unstinted contact with the sticky element that oozed around her, but as she began to sink gently into the bed of slime a feeling dawned on her that she was not after all very happy, and she began to cry in the tentative fashion of the normally good child. Octavian, battling with the quagmire, which seemed to have learned the rare art of giving way at all points without yielding an inch, saw his daughter slowly disappearing in the engulfing slush, her smeared face further distorted with the contortions of whimpering wonder, while from their perch on the pigsty roof the three children looked down with the cold unpitying detachment of the Parcae Sisters.
"I can't reach her in time," gasped Octavian, "she'll be choked in the muck. Won't you help her?"
"No one helped our cat," came the inevitable reminder.
"I'll do anything to show you how sorry I am about that," cried Octavian, with a further desperate flounder, which carried him scarcely two inches forward.
"Will you stand in a white sheet by the grave?"
"Yes," screamed Octavian.
"Holding a candle?"
"An' saying 'I'm a miserable Beast'?"
Octavian agreed to both suggestions.
"For a long, long time?"
"For half an hour," said Octavian. There was an anxious ring in his voice as he named the time-limit; was there not the precedent of a German king who did open- air penance for several days and nights at Christmas-time clad only in his shirt? Fortunately the children did not appear to have read German history, and half an hour seemed long and goodly in their eyes.
"All right," came with threefold solemnity from the roof, and a moment later a short ladder had been laboriously pushed across to Octavian, who lost no time in propping it against the low pigsty wall. Scrambling gingerly along its rungs he was able to lean across the morass that separated him from his slowly foundering offspring and extract her like an unwilling cork from it's slushy embrace. A few minutes later he was listening to the shrill and repeated assurances of the nursemaid that her previous experience of filthy spectacles had been on a notably smaller scale.
That same evening when twilight was deepening into darkness Octavian took up his position as penitent under the lone oak-tree, having first carefully undressed the part. Clad in a zephyr shirt, which on this occasion thoroughly merited its name, he held in one hand a lighted candle and in the other a watch, into which the soul of a dead plumber seemed to have passed. A box of matches lay at his feet and was resorted to on the fairly frequent occasions when the candle succumbed to the night breezes. The house loomed inscrutable in the middle distance, but as Octavian conscientiously repeated the formula of his penance he felt certain that three pairs of solemn eyes were watching his moth-shared vigil.
And the next morning his eyes were gladdened by a sheet of copy-book paper lying beside the blank wall, on which was written the message "Un-Beast."
The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County
by Mark Twain
In compliance with the request of a friend of mine, who wrote me from the East, I called on good-natured, garrulous old Simon Wheeler, and inquired after my friend's friend, Leonidas W. Smiley, as requested to do, and I hereunto append the result. I have a lurking suspicion that Leonidas W. Smiley is a myth; that my friend never knew such a personage; and that he only conjectured that, if I asked old Wheeler about him, it would remind him of his infamous Jim Smiley, and he would go to work and bore me nearly to death with some infernal reminiscence of him as long and tedious as it should be useless to me. If that was the design, it certainly succeeded.
I found Simon Wheeler dozing comfortably by the bar-room stove of the old, dilapidated tavern in the ancient mining camp of Angel's, and I noticed that he was fat and bald-headed, and had an expression of winning gentleness and simplicity upon his tranquil countenance. He roused up and gave me good-day. I told him a friend of mine had commissioned me to make some inquiries about a cherished companion of his boyhood named Leonidas W. Smiley Rev. Leonidas W. Smiley a young minister of the Gospel, who he had heard was at one time a resident of Angel's Camp. I added that, if Mr. Wheeler could tell me any thing about this Rev. Leonidas W. Smiley, I would feel under many obligations to him.
Simon Wheeler backed me into a corner and blockaded me there with his chair, and then sat me down and reeled off the monotonous narrative which follows this paragraph. He never smiled, he never frowned, he never changed his voice from the gentle-flowing key to which he tuned the initial sentence, he never betrayed the slightest suspicion of enthusiasm; but all through the interminable narrative there ran a vein of impressive earnestness and sincerity, which showed me plainly that, so far from his imagining that there was any thing ridiculous or funny about his story, he regarded it as a really important matter, and admired its two heroes as men of transcendent genius in finesse. To me, the spectacle of a man drifting serenely along through such a queer yarn without ever smiling, was exquisitely absurd. As I said before, I asked him to tell me what he knew of Rev. Leonidas W. Smiley, and he replied as follows. I let him go on in his own way, and never interrupted him once:
There was a feller here once by the name of Jim Smiley, in the winter of '49 or may be it was the spring of '50 I don't recollect exactly, somehow, though what makes me think it was one or the other is because I remember the big flume wasn't finished when he first came to the camp; but any way, he was the curiosest man about always betting on any thing that turned up you ever see, if he could get any body to bet on the other side; and if he couldn't, he'd change sides. Any way that suited the other man would suit him any way just so's he got a bet, he was satisfied. But still he was lucky, uncommon lucky; he most always come out winner. He was always ready and laying for a chance; there couldn't be no solittry thing mentioned but that feller'd offer to bet on it, and -take any side you please, as I was just telling you. If there was a horse-race, you'd find him flush, or you'd find him busted at the end of it; if there was a dog-fight, he'd bet on it; if there was a cat-fight, he'd bet on it; if there was a chicken-fight, he'd bet on it; why, if there was two birds setting on a fence, he would bet you which one would fly first; or if there was a camp-meeting, he would be there reg'lar, to bet on Parson Walker, which he judged to be the best exhorter about here, and so he was, too, and a good man. If he even seen a straddle-bug start to go anywheres, he would bet you how long it would take him to get wherever he was going to, and if you took him up, he would foller that straddle-bug to Mexico but what he would find out where he was bound for and how long he was on the road. Lots of the boys here has seen that Smiley, and can tell you about him. Why, it never made no difference to him he would bet on any thing the dangdest feller. Parson Walker's wife laid very sick once, for a good while, and it seemed as if they warn's going to save her; but one morning he come in, and Smiley asked how she was, and he said she was considerable better thank the Lord for his inftnit mercy and coming on so smart that, with the blessing of Providence, she'd get well yet; and Smiley, before he thought, says, "Well, I'll risk two- and-a-half that she don't, any way."
Thish-yer Smiley had a mare the boys called her the fifteen- minute nag, but that was only in fun, you know, because, of course, she was faster than that and he used to win money on that horse, for all she was so slow and always had the asthma, or the distemper, or the consumption, or something of that kind. They used to give her two or three hundred yards start, and then pass her under way; but always at the fag-end of the race she'd get excited and desperate- like, and come cavorting and straddling up, and scattering her legs around limber, sometimes in the air, and sometimes out to one side amongst the fences, and kicking up m-o-r-e dust, and raising m-o-r-e racket with her coughing and sneezing and blowing her nose and always fetch up at the stand just about a neck ahead, as near as you could cipher it down.
And he had a little small bull pup, that to look at him you'd think he wan's worth a cent, but to set around and look ornery, and lay for a chance to steal something. But as soon as money was up on him, he was a different dog; his underjaw'd begin to stick out like the fo'castle of a steamboat, and his teeth would uncover, and shine savage like the furnaces. And a dog might tackle him, and bully- rag him, and bite him, and throw him over his shoulder two or three times, and Andrew Jackson which was the name of the pup Andrew Jackson would never let on but what he was satisfied, and hadn't expected nothing else and the bets being doubled and doubled on the other side all the time, till the money was all up; and then all of a sudden he would grab that other dog jest by the j'int of his hind leg and freeze on it not chew, you understand, but only jest grip and hang on till they thronged up the sponge, if it was a year. Smiley always come out winner on that pup, till he harnessed a dog once that didn't have no hind legs, because they'd been sawed off by a circular saw, and when the thing had gone along far enough, and the money was all up, and he come to make a snatch for his pet bolt, he saw in a minute how he'd been imposed on, and how the other dog had him in the door, so to speak, and he 'peered sur- prised, and then he looked sorter discouraged-like, and didn't try no more to win the fight, and so he got shucked out bad. He give Smiley a look, as much as to say his heart was broke, and it was his fault, for putting up a dog that hadn't no hind legs for him to take bolt of, which was his main dependence in a fight, and then he limped off a piece and laid down and died. It was a good pup, was that Andrew Jackson, and would have made a name for hisself if he'd lived, for the stuff was in him, and he had genius I know it, because he hadn't had no opportunities to speak of, and it don't stand to reason that a dog could make such a fight as he could under them circumstances, if he hadn't no talent. It always makes me feel sorry when I think of that last fight of his'n, and the way it turned out.
Well, thish-yer Smiley had rat-tarriers, and chicken cocks, and tom- cats, and all of them kind of things, till you couldn't rest, and you couldn't fetch nothing for him to bet on but he'd match you. He ketched a frog one day, and took him home, and said he cal'klated to edercate him; and so he never done nothing for three months but set in his back yard and learn that frog to jump. And you bet you he did learn him, too. He'd give him a little punch behind, and the next minute you'd see that frog whirling in the air like a doughnut see him turn one summerset, or may be a couple, if he got a good start, and come down flat-footed and all right, like a cat. He got him up so in the matter of catching flies, and kept him in practice so constant, that he'd nail a fly every time as far as he could see him. Smiley said all a frog wanted was education, and he could do most any thing and I believe him. Why, I've seen him set Dan'l Webster down here on this floor Dan'l Webster was the name of the frog and sing out, "Flies, Dan'l, flies!" and quicker'n you could wink, he'd spring straight up, and snake a fly off'n the counter there, and flop down on the floor again as solid as a gob of mud, and fall to scratching the side of his head with his hind foot as indifferent as if he hadn't no idea he'd been doin' any more'n any frog might do. You never see a frog so modest and straightforward as he was, for all he was so gifted. And when it come to fair and square jumping on a dead level, he could get over more ground at one straddle than any animal of his breed you ever see. Jumping on a dead level was his strong suit, you understand; and when it come to that, Smiley would ante up money on him as long as he had a red. Smiley was monstrous proud of his frog, and well he might be, for fellers that had traveled and been everywheres, all said he laid over any frog that ever they see.
Well, Smiley kept the beast in a little lattice box, and he used to fetch him down town sometimes and lay for a bet. One day a feller a stranger in the camp, he was come across him with his box, and says:
"What might it be that you've got in the box?"
And Smiley says, sorter indifferent like, "It might be a parrot, or it might be a canary, may be, but it an't it's only just a frog."
And the feller took it, and looked at it careful, and turned it round this way and that, and says, "H'm so 'tis. Well, what's he good for?"
"Well," Smiley says, easy and careless, "He's good enough for one thing, I should judge he can outjump any frog in Calaveras county."
The feller took the box again, and took another long, particular look, and give it back to Smiley, and says, very deliberate, "Well, I don't see no p'ints about that frog that's any better'n any other frog."
"May be you don't," Smiley says. "May be you understand frogs, and may be you don't understand 'em; may be you've had experience, and may be you an't only a amature, as it were. Anyways, I've got my opinion, and I'll risk forty dollars that he can outjump any frog in Calaveras county."
And the feller studied a minute, and then says, kinder sad like, "Well, I'm only a stranger here, and I an't got no frog; but if I had a frog, I'd bet you."
And then Smiley says, "That's all right that's all right if you'll hold my box a minute, I'll go and get you a frog." And so the feller took the box, and put up his forty dollars along with Smiley's, and set down to wait.
So he set there a good while thinking and thinking to hisself, and then he got the frog out and prized his mouth open and took a tea- spoon and filled him full of quail shot filled him pretty near up to his chin and set him on the floor. Smiley he went to the swamp and slopped around in the mud for a long time, and finally he ketched a frog, and fetched him in, and give him to this feller, and says:
"Now, if you're ready, set him alongside of Dan'l, with his fore- paws just even with Dan'l, and I'll give the word." Then he says, "One two three jump!" and him and the feller touched up the frogs from behind, and the new frog hopped off, but Dan'l give a heave, and hysted up his shoulders so like a Frenchman, but it wan's no use he couldn't budge; he was planted as solid as an anvil, and he couldn't no more stir than if he was anchored out. Smiley was a good deal surprised, and he was disgusted too, but he didn't have no idea what the matter was, of course.
The feller took the money and started away; and when he was going out at the door, he sorter jerked his thumb over his shoulders this way at Dan'l, and says again, very deliberate, "Well, I don't see no p'ints about that frog that's any better'n any other frog."
Smiley he stood scratching his head and looking down at Dan'l a long time, and at last he says, "I do wonder what in the nation that frog throw'd off for I wonder if there an't something the matter with him he 'pears to look mighty baggy, somehow." And he ketched Dan'l by the nap of the neck, and lifted him up and says, "Why, blame my cats, if he don't weigh five pound!" and turned him upside down, and he belched out a double handful of shot. And then he see how it was, and he was the maddest man he set the frog down and took out after that feller, but he never ketchd him. And-
[Here Simon Wheeler heard his name called from the front yard, and got up to see what was wanted.] And turning to me as he moved away, he said: "Just set where you are, stranger, and rest easy I an't going to be gone a second."
But, by your leave, I did not think that a continuation of the history of the enterprising vagabond Jim Smiley would be likely to afford me much information concerning the Rev. Leonidas W. Smiley, and so I started away.
At the door I met the sociable Wheeler returning, and he button- holed me and recommenced:
"Well, thish-yer Smiley had a yeller one-eyed cow that didn't have no tail, only jest a short stump like a bannanner, and "
"Oh! hang Smiley and his afflicted cow!" I muttered, good-naturedly, and bidding the old gentleman good-day, I departed.
Torched by D.W.R.
I never meant to set my grandmother on fire. She just sort of got in the way of my little combustion experiment, and anyway there wasn’t much permanent damage to her. She only had to start painting in her eyebrows.
Throughout my life, accidents like that were always happening to me. Mainly because I loved fire. The intense allure caused by the energy of this beautifully illuminating source enticed me to do but only one thing, play with it. It all really started when I was three. My first house caught on fire; I don’t know what caused it, probably faulty wiring or something. It was the middle of the night, and I was sound asleep in my comfortable bed. It was snowing heavily outside, which only added to my comfort.
“BRZ-Z-Z-Z-Z!!!!!!!!!!!!!” I opened my tired eyes still thinking I was asleep. I saw the fake glowing stars on the ceiling. I had no clue what was going on. That’s when my screaming, panicked mom came in and ruined my peace. She picked me up out of my bed and ran. I remember seeing the floor of our family room beginning to smoke. Then, before I knew it, the whole upstairs was up in smoke. I was mystified. Still not knowing what was going on, I wiggled myself out of my mom’s arms. I ran downstairs, where the smoke was coming from, and heard mom yell out my name,
“Seth!!!” She began to chase me right into the fire. I saw it glowing in front of me. The heat scorched my skin and the smoke burned my eyes and lungs. There I was at the source of all this destruction, and how amazing it was. I wanted to just reach out and touch it. I lifted up my hand and eased it out in front of me. Then, I was yet again, interrupted by my mom, “What are you doing? You’re gunna kill yourself.” She picked me up with a jerk and brought me to an open window on the top floor of our house. She sat me down next to it and told me, “Now I know your worried but the only way out of the house is this window.” Before she was finished saying that, I had already landed softly in the snow. Apparently, she had a rope ladder and didn’t mean for me to jump. However, when I was comfortably lying with my blanket wrapped around me in the snow, she yelled, “Oh my god Seth, are you alright!?”
“Great,” I replied in a happy tone. My mom came down and then came my Dad. We stood in the front of our house watching it being decimated by this magical force. This moment I remember better then anything that has ever happened in my life, the fire was gently warming the cold dry bitter air. The black sky, the white earth, and sandwiched in between was the yellowish orange fire. Our ignited house stood out amongst the rest of the world in my eyes. My mom was crying on my dads shoulder, and I was standing alone. I saw all this with my mouth wide open, in awe. From that day forward, the fire instead of scaring me, sparked my curiosity. Needless to say we moved away.
Fire is the only source that you can see, feel, smell, touch, and as I later proved, taste. Yet it doesn’t have mass, doesn’t take up any space, and is merely an illusion. By the age of twelve I began to associate fire with love; I mean lets look at the similarities. You can smell, taste, touch, and feel love; yet it isn’t there, it is just an illusion. A beautiful illusion, that can devour and consume a person, yet it is the most beautiful thing in the world. I wasn’t yet mature enough to be in love with girls. I guess I showed my affection by putting flaming tennis balls in their mailboxes and throwing lighted matches at them. But let’s not forget you don’t always have to love another person. You could love other things. Some people love sports, some love music, some people even love trees. I happen to be in love with the amazing intangible force; you can probably guess it by now, fire. My whole other existence seemed fake. I wasn’t a very mischievous kid; most of my actions were accidental. I did well in school, I was polite, and I was always willing to help out when I wasn’t burning things. I remember my teacher once accused me of smoking. I didn’t blame him. I would always come in smelling like smoke; I think that’s one reason why I wasn’t very popular with the ladies in seventh grade. Anyway, he thought I was a burnout that I went home and toked up on fatties all day. I replied “Are you crazy?!?! Smoking kills you.” I had burned my house down twice yet; smoking still seemed like a forbidden sin to me.
I had a couple friends, and many enemies who were once friends. Surprisingly, giving somebody a trip to the ER turned that person, or in my case, thirteen people against me. Many people would try to fight with me, but I was never the confrontational type. I would usually apologize, and many times I’d just end up running away. I’d usually run home, get a match, and set something on fire. This was all ok until about my senior year in high school. Surprisingly, I managed to have a girl friend and she was almost as beautiful as the magnificent glow of fire with brown hair, fair skin, and a pretty face. Dawn was very easy going. She seemed to be obsessed, not with fire, but with my obsession of fire. She was planning on being some sort of psyche major. Every night on the phone, she would give me a complete psychoanalysis. She thought fire was my way of releasing aggression and venting any pain. She said that while other people played sports, composed music, drew pictures, wrote stories, and talked to friends to express
themselves; I torched things. I guess it made sense, but I never fully believed it. I always thought it just was my curiosity. I never told her about my first encounter with fire when my house burned down, she would have had a field day with that.
The real problem started when I was out with my girlfriend and my friends. We were hanging out in the woods around my house. It was late, 11:00 or so; my friends were all drinking but I stayed away from alcohol. I didn’t like the idea of not being in complete control of myself, and that’s all alcohol did. People drank to lose themselves, to forget who they are, and be someone else. Dawn, though was drunker than a drunken mule; she was flailing all over the place. One of my friends had gotten into my backpack. It was loaded with flares, torches, and gasoline. I was too busy trying to control Dawn to realize what they were doing. One of them had taken my flare and soaked it in gasoline, then carelessly dropped the gasoline on the ground so it spilled on the leaves. Drunk and laughing, another one of them had taken the torch and was pointing it at the flare. Laughing, Dawn pointed her finger at my friends.
“Haha their gunna get into trouble.” I dropped her and dove at my friend with the torch. I accidentally grabbed the trigger in air set off the torch and ignited the flare. My other friend dropped the flare, which ignited the gasoline doused leaves. I think my friends were in shock, and Dawn was too drunk to realize anything had happened. She was laughing hysterically saying, “Hey kids I’m Smoky the Bear, don’t start forest fires.”
And then she began chanting, “I am the firestarter the crazy firestarter.” I might have laughed if the whole woods had not been ablaze. It was then when I saw the real destructive side of my love, not my girlfriend but the fire. The trees were falling down; squirrels were running from their comfy homes. That’s when I stopped running and looked up at the stars. Dawn said, “Hey Seth come on you’ve angered Smoky the Bear now he’s gunna eat you. Let’s go!” She was obviously still very drunk.
“Run!! I'll be right behind you,” I replied.
I felt the pain of abusing Prometheus’s gift to Earth that day. For the first time I didn’t look at the fire with a sense of awe; I looked at it with an unconceivable hatred. Hatred was another thing you could see and hear and in a way you could feel, taste and smell it but it wasn’t tangible, it was also an illusion. That’s when I realized that fire was a perfect balance of hatred and love. As I was looking at the stars, I saw a star that stood out at the black night sky. It reminded me of my house when it was burning. It stood out with such splendor, with such love, with such hate, all these emotions were ignited in me when I saw my burning house. I expressed them with fire. My curiosity with fire was merely a cry for help, a cry for understanding. I wanted to be normal, but I wasn’t, so I burned things and that was why I wasn’t normal. It was an evil cycle, but I knew I had to stop. I looked down from the stars and felt an incredible amount of heat come over me, Then all I saw was white, pure white. It couldn’t be described in any other way. I turned around and saw pure blackness. Then I saw a globe; I walked to it; it was Earth I looked over and saw a bright glow coming from around where I had lived. It was fire, and it had spread all over. Then a man in white came behind me.
“I bet you feel pretty guilty,” he said. I looked up and tried to talk, but nothing came out. “I don’t blame you; you really ignited a lot of problems,” he began to laugh.
I could only nod. “Well I have to admit you had one of the most interesting profiles I have ever read. It says here that you blew up your kitchen by pouring kerosene on a spoon and putting it in a microwave.” The man chuckled. The man put out his hand, “My name is Pete,” he said, “St. Pete.”
“Uhh m-m-my n-name is S-s-seth,” I finally uttered. “Did I die?” I asked, not realizing the stupidity of that question.
“I’m afraid so,” he answered. “But don’t worry your punishment isn’t that bad.”
“Punishment?” I asked nervously
“Yes” he replied, “But don’t worry, one hundred and twelve years in hell isn’t that bad.”
“What?” I asked in a panicked voice.
“Come on!!” St. Pete exclaimed. “Do you realize how much damage you caused? Do you realize how destructive your behavior was? You’re lucky with this punishment” That’s when the trapped door fell, and now that’s why I’m here.”
An ugly man with one eye hanging out of his eye socket grunted,
“That was the worst story I had ever heard. How incredibly stupid! Where were your parents throughout all this? Did your friends have any names? Just because we’re in hell doesn’t mean we deserve to hear bad stories.” He got increasingly angry. “You just wasted ten minutes of my damned after life. I could have been firebathing now, but noo!!! I decided to sit and listen to your stupid story!!” He got up and stormed away, then this girl came up to me. She looked about my age and was dressed in all black.
“Don’t worry,” she said. “He is always criticizing people; my name is Sally; I set my grandmother on fire too, but it wasn’t an accident.” She then began to snicker. I put out my hand and introduced myself. Then I heard a guy that looked suspiciously like Charles Manson.
“Man you’re one screwed up fellow,” he exclaimed.
Sally yelled at him, “Hey nobody asked you for your opinion Beatle lover!”
“Don’t go there!” he replied. Sally got up and began kicking him. He ran out of the cave, and Sally chased him. Then in a dark corner of the cave I was in, I saw this hideously ugly figure approach me. It was a hell demon. He put his arm on my shoulder with tears running down his cheek and said,
“It touched me my friend.” That’s when I realized it was gunna be a long one hundred and twelve years in hell!
A clean desk is a sign of a cluttered desk drawer.
When lambs go on vacation they go to the Baaahamas.
If it weren't for the last minute, nothing would get done.
Holy water is made by boiling the hell out of tap water.
Snap, Crackle and Pop are afraid of cereal killers.
A prisoner is one of the few who can finish a book without finishing a sentence.
When construction workers party they raise the roof.
A model of Mt. Everest is not built to scale ... it's built to look at.
A towel gets wetter as it dries.
The opposite of a croissant is a happy uncle.
A prisoner can finish a book without finishing a sentence.
If you have a calendar, your days are numbered.
Definition of having your grandmother on speed dial - "instagram".
The deer said to the sheep, "I'm faun of ewe".
The number "8" is the same whent it is upside down, everything when it is on its side and nothing when it is cut in half.
The center of gravity is "v".
The letter B is the coolest letter in the alphabet because it's surrounded by AC.
The difference between a jewlwr and a jailer is: A jewler sells watches while a jailer watches cells.
Boomerangs are Australia's biggest export and import products.
Billboards comincate by sign language.
Europe is like a frying pan because it has Greece at the bottom.
When the janitor jumped out of the closet he yelled, "Supplies".
Instead of "the John," I call my bathroom "the Jim." That way it sounds better when I say I go to the Jim first thing every morning.
Don't try to understand the construction of the roof. It's over your head.
There's a new restaurant on the moon. Great food but no atmosphere.
The past, present and future walked into a bar. it was tense.
If you can't find an attorney who knows the law, find one who knows the judge.
The inventor of knock-knock jokes was nominated for the "no bell prize".
The ocean didn't say anything to the beach. It just waved.
The guy whose whole left side was cut off is all right now.
Will the new invention of glass coffins become popular? (remains to be seen)
Every birthday ends with the letter "y".
"I stand corrected", said the man in orthopedic shoes.
Cows never have much money because the farmers milk them dry.
If con is the opposite of pro, then is Congress the oppsite of progress?
The teddy bear declined dessert because he was too stuffed to eat more.
When I told my doctor I broke my leg in two places he advised me to stop going to those places.
You can jump higher than the Empire State Building because the Empire State Building can't jump.
When a frog's car breaks down it gets toad away.
Our child was so surprised when he was born that he didn't speak for a year and a half.
Fish always sing off key because you can't tuna fish.
The mushroom goes to parties because he's a fungi.
When you cross a cat with a lemon you get a sour puss.
Athletes get athlete's foot. Elves get mistletoe.
Short but effective last will and testament, "Being of sound mind, I spent it all."
Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like bananas.
The definition of a perfectionist is someone who wants to go from point A to point A+.
The price that a pirate pays for corn is a buccaneer.
The golfer brought an extra pair of pants to his match in case he got a hole in one.
It's worse than raining cats and dogs in the city. It's hailing taxis.
A sponge has holes all over yet still is able to hold water.
Calculus majors don't go to bars because they don't drink and derive.
A cat has nine lives but a frog croaks every night and lives to tell about it the next day.
You can buy a bird when it's going cheep.
When the pirate died, he proclaimed, “Aye Matey”.
A pampered cow gives spoiled milk.
To keep a bagel from escaping, put lox on it.
A shark's two favorite words are "man overboard".
Carrots are good for your eyesight because they contain Vitamin "See".
Don't use the words "beef stew" as a computer password. It's not stroganoff.
People find books about antigravity hard to put down.
I heard the new restaurant on the moon was ok but it had no atmosphere.
You should never date a tennis player because love means nothing to them.
Old bankers never die, they just lose interest.
The definition of retirement from a wife's perspective is twice as much husband with half the income.
We're not sure about what the best thing about Switzerland is but its flag is a big plus.
A sleeping dinosaur can be called a dino-snore.
There are three types of people in this world; those who can count and those who can't.
When the king burps, he issues a royal pardon.
The role of a computer programmer is to solve a problem you didn't know you had in a way you can't understand.
Teddybears always decline dessert, claiming they are already stuffed.
Doesn't nine months feel like a maternity sometines?
Nice things are manufactured in the "satis-factory".
Two witches who live together are called "broommates".
Parallel lines have much in common but they'll never meet.
When the pirate turned 80 years-old he said, "Aye Matey".
Did you hear about the monkeys who shared an Amazon account? They were Prime mates.
A new teacher tries to make use of her psychology courses. The first day of class, she starts by saying, "Everyone who thinks they're stupid, stand up!" After a few seconds, Little Johnny stands up. The teacher asks, "Do you think you're stupid, Johnny?" "No, ma'am, but I hate to see you standing there all by yourself."
You cant trust atoms because they make up everything. A grasshopper walks into a bar and the bartender tells him they have a drink named after him. The grasshopper replies, "you mean you have a drink named Bill?"
Knock knock. Who's there? Nobel. Nobel who? You have no door bell. That's why I knocked.
A witch's favorite subject in school is spelling.
When you look for something it"s always in the last place you look because after you find it you stop looking.
Vampires start their letters, "Tomb it may concern ..."
I'm so dumb it takes me an hour to cook minute rice.
The calendar manufacuring worker was fired for taking a day off.
The problem with having a party in space is that you have to planet.
The fastest-growing, national capital is in Ireland. It's Dublin every year.
Q: Which state has the most writers? A: "Pencilvania"
Q: What do you do if your dog chews the dictionary? A: Take the words out of his mouth.
I made my password "incorrect" because if I type it in wrong, my computer will remind me, "Your password is incorrect."
The cart comes before the horse only in the dictionary.
Success is age 4 not peeing in your pants age 12 having friends age 16 having a driver's license age 20 having sex age 35 having money
age 50 having money age 60 having sex age 70 having friends age 80 not peeing in your pants
Q. What dog keeps the best time? A. A watch dog.
Two antennas got married. The ceremony was boring but the reception was great.
Q. What exercises do lazy people do?
Q. Why did the cookie go to the doctor?
A. Because it was feeling crummy.
Q: What did the DNA say to the other DNA?
A: Do these genes make me look fat?
If you're American in the living room, what are you in the bathroom? (European)
"Why does your child say, 'Cluck, cluck, cluck?'"
"Because she thinks he's a chicken."
"Why don't you tell her she's not a chicken?"
"We need the eggs."
What is a lady ghost's favorite make-up? (mas SCARE a) What is orange and sounds like a parrot? (a carrot) Why did the worker get fired from the calendar factory? (he took a day off) What goes up but not down? (your age) What has teeth but cannot bite? (a comb) What has a neck but no head, two arms and no hands? (a shirt) What appears twice in November, once in June and never in May? (the letter "e") What are ducks' favorite snacks? (quackers) A man in a car saw a golden door, a silver door and a copper door. Which one did he open first? (the car door) What invention allows you to look through a wall? (a window) What grows up while growing down? (a goose or a duck) If you a hand away, some will remain. What am I? (handsome) A rooster sits on top of a north-facing, A-frame barn. Which side will the eggs roll down? (roosters don't lay eggs)
What is it that nobody wants but nobody wants to lose? (a lawsuit)
What starts and ends with the letter "e" but in it is only one letter? (envelope)
What cannot be shared until it is taken? (a photo)
How many times can you subtract 5 from 25? (once)
What word is pronounced the same if you take away four of its five letters? (queue)
What building has the most stories? (the library)
A one story house is made entirely of redwood. What color is the staircase? (no staircase in a one stoty home)
Where does Christmas come before Thanksgiving? (in the dictionary)
Whats is heavy when forward but not when it's backward? (ton)
What's the coolest letter in the alphabet? (the letter "B" because its surrounded by AC).
Before Mt. Everest was discovered, what was the highest mountain in the world? (Mt. Everest)
What does a house wear? (address)
Why did the can crusher quit his job? (because it was soda pressing)
Where do you learn to make a banana split? (sundae school)
What has been taken before you can have it? (your photo)
How many sides does a circle have? (two - the inside and the outside)
Why are koalas not considered actual bears? (they lack the koalifications)
How does a squid make war? (well armed)
What did the paper see to the pen? (write on)
Where do you find a horse with no legs? (right where you left it)
What do you call a baby kangaroo? (a pouch potato)
What does a pilot do if he gets annoyed? (he takes off)
How do you get a squirrel to like you? (you act like a nut)
How do you spell COW in thirteen letters? (see o double you)
What never asks questions but is often answered? (a doorbell)
Why was the painting arrested? (it was framed)
Why was the cake as hard as a rock? (because it was a marble cake.)
What award did the knock-knock joke expert receive? (the no bell prize)
How did the barber win the race? (he knew a shortcut)
What insect has the name of another insect in the first part of its name? (beetle)
What has a bottom at the top? (your legs)
What is so fragile that just saying its name, breaks it? (silence)
What goes through cities and fields but never moves? (a road)
What is a 3 letter word in which there is fewer when you add 2 letters? (few)
What runs all around a backyard but never moves? (a fence)
What did the comedian ask his wife as he removed his clothes on their wedding night? (Haven't you ever seen a comic strip?)
Two fathers and two sons are in a car but there are only three people present. How? (one grandfather, his son, his grandson)
My job is to drive customers away. Who am I? (a taxi driver)
What does a nosy pepper do? (gets jalapeño business) What place is the horse in that is running in a race and passes the horse in second place? (second place)
Where does one wall meet the other wall? (on the corner)
A citizen's brother died, but the man who died had no brother. How could that be? (the citizen was his sister)
What five-letter word has one left when two letters are removed? (stone)
How does Moses prepare tea? (He brews)
What do the towels of the newlywed snakes say? (hiss and hers)
If two's company and three's a crowd, what are four and five? (nine)
What three numbers when added together or multiplied together provide the same answer? (one two and three)
What did the big flower say to the little flower? (Hi, bud.)
How does the solar system arrange dinner? (they planet)
What's green, sings and dances wildly? (Elvis Parsley)
When is it bad luck to see a black cat? (when you are a mouse)
Why was the broom late? (it overswept)
How can you make seven even? (remove the letter "s")
What do you call a fake noodle? (an impasta)
Where do cows go for a night out? (the moovies)
Why did the spider cross the computer key board? (to get to the world wide web)
If two is company and three are a crowd, what is four and five? (nine)
Why can't you starve in the desert? (because of all the sand which is there)
What has a head, a tail and no legs? (a coin)
How do you make a strawberry shake? (tell it a frightening story).
Two children are born on the same day from the same mother but they're not twins. (they're triplets)
Why does Peter Pan always fly? (he "neverlands")
What 9 letter word can have a letter taken away and it still makes a word? Take another letter away and it still makes a word. Keep on doing that until you have one letter left. What is the word? (The word is startling. Startling, starting, staring, string, sting, sing, sin, in, I.)
What gets wetter and wetter the more it dries? (Towel)
Why arev frogs so happy? (They eat what bugs them.)
What word is spelled incorrectly in every dictionary? (the word, incorrectly)
What has one eye but cannot see? (A needle)
What has to be broken before you can use it? (An egg)
What do you call a tick that loves math? (An arithmetic.)
How does the dog catcher get paid? (By the pound.)
What starts with "P", ends with an "E" and has hundreds of letters in it? (The post office.)
You enter a room and see a room full of people but not a single person. How is that possible? (They are all married.)
What is answered but never asks questions? (A doorbell)
What word looks the same backward, forward and upside down? (SWIMS)
How many months of the year have 28 days? (All of them)
What gets wetter and wetter the more it dries? (A towel)
What goes up when rain comes down? (An umbrella)
Which weighs more, a ton of bricks or a ton of feathers? (They both weigh one ton)
What is at the end of a rainbow? (The leter "w)
Joan's mother has five daughters. Their names are Mary 1, Mary 2, Mary 3, Mary 4 and xxx. (Joan)
Why are teddy bears never hungry? (Because they're always stuffed.)
What is a seven letter word containing thousands of letters? (mailbox)
What is tall when its young and short when it's cold. (A Candle)
What goes down but never goes down? (Rain)
What word becomes shorter when you add two letters to it? (Short)
If there are 10 apples and you take away 3, how many do you have? (3)
Hippolytus by Euripides
Aphrodite Mighty and of high renown, among mortals and in heaven alike, I am called the goddess Aphrodite. Of all those who dwell between theEuxine Seaand the Pillars of Atlas and look on the light of the sun, I honor those who reverence my power, but I lay low all those who think proud thoughts against me. For in the gods as well one finds this trait: they enjoy receiving honor from mortals.
The truth of these words I shall shortly demonstrate. Hippolytus, Theseus' son by the Amazon woman and ward of holy Pittheus, alone among the citizens of this land of Trozen, says that I am the basest of divinities. He shuns the bed of love and will have nothing to do with marriage. Instead, he honors Apollo's sister Artemis, Zeus's daughter, thinking her the greatest of divinities. In the green wood, ever consort to the maiden goddess, he clears the land of wild beasts with his swift dogs and has gained a companionship greater than mortal. To this pair I feel no grudging ill-will: why should I? Yet for his sins against me I shall punish Hippolytus this day. I have already come a long way with my plans and I need little further effort. One day when he came from Pittheus' house to the land of Pandion to see and celebrate the holy mysteries of Demeter, his father's high-born wife Phaedra saw him, and her heart was seized with a dreadful longing by my design. And before she came to this land of Trozen, she built, hard by the rock of Pallas Athena, a temple to Aphrodite overlooking this land since she loved a foreign love. After ages shall call this foundation Aphrodite-Next-Hippolytus.
But since Theseus has left the land of Cecrops, fleeing the blood-guilt he incurred for the murder of the Pallantidae, and sailed with his wife to this land, consenting to a year-long exile from his home, from this point on the poor woman, groaning and struck senseless by the goad of love, means to die  in silence, and none of her household knows of her malady. But that is not the way this passion is fated to end. I shall reveal the matter to Theseus and it will come to light, and the young man who wars against me shall be killed by his father with the curses the sea-lord Poseidon granted as a gift to Theseus: three times may Theseus pray to the god and have his prayer fulfilled. But Phaedra, noble though she is, shall nonetheless die. I do not set such store by her misfortune as to let my enemies off from such penalty as will satisfy my heart.
But now I see Hippolytus coming, finished with the toil of the hunt, and so I shall leave this place. A great throng of his servants treads close at his heels and shouts, hymning the praises of the goddess Artemis. Clearly he does not know that the gates of the Underworld stand open for him and that this day's light is the last he shall ever look upon.Exit Aphrodite. Enter Hippolytus by Eisodos A, carrying a garland, with a chorus of servants
Hippolytus Come follow me and sing of Zeus's heavenly daughter Artemis, who cares for us.
Hippolytus and chorus of Servants Lady, lady most revered, daughter of Zeus, my greeting, daughter of Leto and of Zeus, of maidens the fairest by far, who dwellest in the broad heaven in the court of your good father, the gilded house of Zeus. My greeting to you, fair one, fairest of all who dwell in Olympus!
by Henrik Ibsen
GERD (looks at him with the greatest eyes). Now I know you, haa! I thought sua priest just now; hiith he and the others i command! The biggest man you're here is you.
BRAND. No, I'm the smallest me.
GERD. Show me the bugs in your hands!
BRAND. Did it work?
GEKD. Nailers! Vert 'has you in your hair, deep wounds on your forehead thorn' thorns. Sunhan bore the cross tree! As a small amount of misinformation, I seemed to receive a guarantee that someone else was suffering death on the cross; - who knows then, you 're the Savior man!
BRAND. Child, the sonar gave way!
GERD. In my legs I fall.
BRAND. Give up!
GERD. You shed blood that saves everyone.
BRAND. Relief for my soul I do not know for my own!
GERD. This is a gun! Shoot -!
BRAND (shakes his head). I'm looking for death myself!
GERD. You, the best of us! show your hands to the wounds but; you are the greatest of them.
BRAND. Not like the cheapest worm in the country.
GERD (looks up; clouds evaporate). Do you know where you stand?
BRAND (stares in front of him). I stand on the next porch; foot heavy, vertical road.
GERD (wilder). Do you know where you stand?
BRAND. The mists evaporate by evaporation.
GERD. Oh, and towards the sky points the Svarten hill!
BRAND (looks up). So this "Icy Church" lie!
GERD. That's where I got it!
BRAND. Now if you could only get far! - Oh, as if I miss a bitter day, the warmth of a pet, a thirst for church in peace, I miss a spring in the chest! (Bursts into tears.) I cried out, Jesus, often sua; embraced you never me; you passed me ain 'like an old word only; from the garment release, water washed repentance, give even a rag!
GERD (service). What is this? She cries, she, a tear rolls over her cheek, raises the steam warm, even the tomb curtains of the mountains melt a drop from it, (Trembling.) Why are you crying now?
BRAND (brightest, with a brilliant face and as if broken). The law, when you first win the frost, you get a summer day! Before, I wanted to be a painting on which the Creator writes; - now I want to be a poem that makes us eat glow. The ice is already breaking, tears are leaking, now I can weep the burden, the knees at the request to flex!
GERD (peeking up, saying quietly and timidly). There it stains again! Wickedly swaying the slopes of the mountains, the hills wings in motion. Now capture a moment of freedom when you just listen to it!
(Puts the gun on his cheek and shoots; there is a thud like the thunder of thunder from the walls of a mountain.)
BRAND (jumps up). Haa, who shot!
GERD. Now its like this! The bullet hurt, drops down, drops screaming! Hundreds of hawk feathers fly, covering the slopes; now it's growing, white! huu, it gets this far!
BRAND (falls to the ground). What a generation has broken, the boy will be judged.
GERD. It's like the vault of heaven grows when that one fell! Is it circling here, but I am no longer afraid; it's like a white dove -! (Exclaims in horror.) Huu, that thump thunderous!
(Throws into the snow.)
BRAND (presses under the attacking avalanche and shouts up). Answer, Creator, when death comes, is it no longer valid to have the will of man qvantum satis -?
(An avalanche buries him; the whole valley is filled.)
SOUND (shouts through thunder). He is Deus caritatis !
Oedipus at Colonus by Sophocles
ANTIGONE More must I hear?
ISMENE Tombless he died, none near.
ANTIGONE Lead me thither; slay me there.
ISMENE How shall I unhappy fare, Friendless, helpless, how drag on A life of misery alone?
CHORUS (Ant. 2) Fear not, maids—
ANTIGONE Ah, whither flee?
CHORUS Refuge hath been found.
ANTIGONE For me?
CHORUS Where thou shalt be safe from harm.
ANTIGONE I know it.
CHORUS Why then this alarm?
ANTIGONE How again to get us home I know not.
CHORUS Why then this roam?
ANTIGONE Troubles whelm us—
CHORUS As of yore.
ANTIGONE Worse than what was worse before.
CHORUS Sure ye are driven on the breakers' surge.
ANTIGONE Alas! we are. CHORUS Alas! 'tis so.
ANTIGONE Ah whither turn, O Zeus? No ray Of hope to cheer the way Whereon the fates our desperate voyage urge.
THESEUS Dry your tears; when grace is shed On the quick and on the dead By dark Powers beneficent, Over-grief they would resent.
ANTIGONE Aegeus' child, to thee we pray.
THESEUS What the boon, my children, say.
ANTIGONE With our own eyes we fain would see Our father's tomb.
THESEUS That may not be.
ANTIGONE What say'st thou, King?
THESEUS My children, he Charged me straitly that no moral Should approach the sacred portal, Or greet with funeral litanies The hidden tomb wherein he lies; Saying, "If thou keep'st my hest Thou shalt hold thy realm at rest." The God of Oaths this promise heard, And to Zeus I pledged my word.
ANTIGONE Well, if he would have it so, We must yield. Then let us go Back to Thebes, if yet we may Heal this mortal feud and stay The self-wrought doom That drives our brothers to their tomb.
THESEUS Go in peace; nor will I spare Ought of toil and zealous care, But on all your needs attend, Gladdening in his grave my friend.
CHORUS Wail no more, let sorrow rest, All is ordered for the best.
The Choephori by Aeschylus
ORESTES Lord of the shades and patron of the realm
That erst my father swayed, list now my prayer,
Hermes, and save me with thine aiding arm,
Me who from banishment returning stand
On this my country; lo, my foot is set
On this grave-mound, and herald-like, as thou,
Once and again, I bid my father hear.
And these twin locks, from mine head shorn, I bring,
And one to Inachus the river-god,
My young life's nurturer, I dedicate,
And one in sign of mourning unfulfilled
I lay, though late, on this my father's grave.
For O my father, not beside thy corse
Stood I to wail thy death, nor was my hand
Stretched out to bear thee forth to burial.
What sight is yonder? what this woman-throng
Hitherward coming, by their sable garb
Made manifest as mourners? What hath chanced?
Doth some new sorrow hap within the home?
Or rightly may I deem that they draw near
Bearing libations, such as soothe the ire
Of dead men angered, to my father's grave?
Nay, such they are indeed; for I descry
Electra mine own sister pacing hither,
In moody grief conspicuous. Grant, O Zeus,
Grant me my father's murder to avenge-
Be thou my willing champion!
Pass we aside, till rightly I discern
Wherefore these women throng in suppliance. (PYLADES and ORESTES
withdraw; the CHORUS enters bearing vessels for libation; ELECTRA
follows them; they pace slowly towards the tomb of Agamemnon.)
CHORUS (singing, strophe 1)
Forth from the royal halls by high command
I bear libations for the dead.
Rings on my smitten breast my smiting hand,
And all my cheek is rent and red,
Fresh-furrowed by my nails, and all my soul
This many a day doth feed on cries of dole.
And trailing tatters of my vest,
In looped and windowed raggedness forlorn,
Hang rent around my breast,
Even as I, by blows of Fate most stern
Saddened and torn.
Oracular thro' visions, ghastly clear,
Bearing a blast of wrath from realms below,
And stiffening each rising hair with dread,
Came out of dream-land Fear,
And, loud and awful, bade
The shriek ring out at midnight's witching hour,
And brooded, stern with woe,
Above the inner house, the woman's bower
And seers inspired did read the dream on oath,
Chanting aloud In realms below
The dead are wroth;
Against their slayers yet their ire doth glow.
Therefore to bear this gift of graceless worth-
O Earth, my nursing mother!-
The woman god-accurs'd doth send me forth
Lest one crime bring another.
Ill is the very word to speak, for none
Can ransom or atone
For blood once shed and darkening the plain.
O hearth of woe and bane,
O state that low doth lie!
Sunless, accursed of men, the shadows brood
Above the home of murdered majesty.
Rumour of might, unquestioned, unsubdued,
Pervading ears and soul of lesser men,
Is silent now and dead.
Yet rules a viler dread;
For bliss and power, however won,
As gods, and more than gods, dazzle our mortal ken.
Justice doth mark, with scales that swiftly sway,
Some that are yet in light;
Others in interspace of day and night,
Till Fate arouse them, stay;
And some are lapped in night, where all things are undone
On the life-giving lap of Earth
Blood hath flowed forth;
And now, the seed of vengeance, clots the plain-
Unmelting, uneffaced the stain.
And Ate tarries long, but at the last
The sinner's heart is cast
Into pervading, waxing pangs of pain.
Alcestis by Euripides
No you look upon your wife indeed.
Beware! May it not be some phantom from the Underworld?
Do not think your guest a sorcerer.
But do I indeed look upon the wife I buried?
Yes-but I do not wonder at your mistrust.
Can I touch, speak to her, as my living wife?
Speak to her-you have all you desired.
ADMETUS taking ALCESTIS in his arms
O face and body of the dearest of women! I have you once more, when I thought I should never see you again!
You have her-may the envy of the Gods be averted from you!
O noble son of greatest Zeus, fortune be yours, and may your Father guard you! But how did you bring her back from the Underworld to the light of day?
By fighting with the spirit who was her master.
Then did you contend with Death?
I hid by the tomb and leaped upon him.
But why is she speechless?
You may not hear her voice until she is purified from her consecration to the Lower Gods, and until the third dawn has risen. Lead her in.
And you, Admetus, show as ever a good man's welcome to your guests.
Farewell! I go to fu
XANTHIAS Shall I crack any of those old jokes, master,
At which the audience never fail to laugh?
DIONYSUS Aye, what you will, except "I'm getting crushed":
Fight shy of that: I'm sick of that already.
XANTHIAS Nothing else smart?
DIONYSUS Aye, save "my shoulder's aching."
XANTHIAS Come now, that comical joke?
DIONYSUS With all my heart.
Only be careful not to shift your pole, And-
DIONYSUS And vow that you've a belly-ache.
XANTHIAS May I not say I'm overburdened so
That if none ease me, I must ease myself?
DIONYSUS For mercy's sake, not till I'm going to vomit.
XANTHIAS What! must I bear these burdens, and not make
One of the jokes Ameipsias and Lycis And Phrynichus, in every play they write,
Put in the mouths of their burden-bearers?
DIONYSUS Don't make them; no! I tell you when I see
Their plays, and hear those jokes, I come away
More than a twelvemonth older than I went.
XANTHIAS O thrice unlucky neck of mine, which now
Is getting crushed, yet must not crack its joke!
DIONYSUS Now is not this fine pampered insolence
When I myself, Dionysus, son of-Pipkin, Toil on afoot, and let this fellow ride,
Taking no trouble, and no burden bearing?
XANTHIAS What, don't I bear?
DIONYSUS How can you when you're riding?
XANTHIAS Why, I bear these.
XANTHIAS Most unwillingly.
DIONYSUS Does not the donkey bear the load you're bearing?
XANTHIAS Not what I bear myself: by Zeus, not he.
DIONYSUS How can you bear, when you are borne yourself?
XANTHIAS Don't know: but anyhow my shoulder's aching.
DIONYSUS Then since you say the donkey helps you not, You lift him up and carry him in turn.
XANTHIAS O hang it all! why didn't I fight at sea?
You should have smarted bitterly for this.
DIONYSUS Get down, you rascal; I've been trudging on
Till now I've reached the portal, where I'm going
First to turn in. Boy! Boy! I say there, Boy!
HERACLES Who banged the door? How like prancing Centaur
He drove against it Mercy o' me, what's this?
DIONYSUS Did you observe?
DIONYSUS How alarmed he is.
XANTHIAS Aye truly, lest you've lost your wits.
HERACLES O by Demeter, I can't choose but laugh.
Biting my lips won't stop me. Ha! ha! ha!
DIONYSUS Pray you, come hither, I have need of you.
HERACLES I vow I can't help laughing, I can't help it.
A lion's hide upon a yellow silk, A club and buskin! What's it all about?
Where were you going?
DIONYSUS I was serving lately Aboard the-Cleisthenes.
More than a dozen of the enemy's ships.
HERACLES You two?
DIONYSUS We two.
HERACLES And then I awoke, and lo!
DIONYSUS There as, on deck, I'm reading to myself
The Andromeda, a sudden pang of longing.
Shoots through my heart, you can't conceive how keenly.
HERACLES How big a pang?
DIONYSUS A small one, Molon's size.
HERACLES Caused by a woman?
HERACLES A boy?
DIONYSUS No, no.
HERACLES A man?
DIONYSUS Ah! ah!
HERACLES Was it for Cleisthenes?
DIONYSUS Don't mock me, brother: on my life I am
In a bad way: such fierce desire consumes me.
HERACLES Aye, little brother? how?
DIONYSUS I can't describe it.
But yet I'll tell you in a riddling way. Have you e'er felt a sudden lust for soup?
HERACLES Soup! Zeus-a-mercy, yes, ten thousand times.
DIONYSUS Is the thing clear, or must I speak again?
HERACLES Not of the soup: I'm clear about the soup.
DIONYSUS Well, just that sort of pang devours my heart For lost Euripides.
HERACLES A dead man too.
DIONYSUS And no one shall persuade me not to go After the man.
HERACLES Do you mean below, to Hades?
DIONYSUS And lower still, if there's a lower still.
HERACLES What on earth for?
DIONYSUS I want a genuine poet,
"For some are not, and those that are, are bad."
HERACLES What! does not Iophon live?
DIONYSUS Well, he's the sole Good thing remaining, if even he is good.
For even of that I'm not exactly certain.
HERACLES If go you must, there's Sophocles-he comes
Before Euripides-why not take him?
DIONYSUS Not till I've tried if Iophon's coin rings true
When he's alone, apart from Sophocles. Besides, Euripides, the crafty rogue,
Will find a thousand shifts to get away, But he was easy here, is easy there.
HERACLES But Agathon, where is he?
Oedipus At Colonus by Sophocles
ANTIGONE Theseus, behold us falling at thy feet.
THESEUS What boon, my children, are ye bent to obtain?
ANTIGONE Our eyes would see our father’s burial-place.
THESEUS ’Tis not permitted to go near that spot.
ANTIGONE O Athens’ sovereign lord, what hast thou said?
THESEUS Dear children, ’twas your father’s spoken will That no man should approach his resting-place, Nor human voice should ever violate The mystery of the tomb wherein he lies. He promised, if I truly kept this word, My land would evermore be free from harm. The power which no man may transgress and live, The oath of Zeus, bore witness to our troth.
ANTIGONE His wishes are enough. Then, pray thee, send An escort to convey us to our home, Primeval Thebes, if so we may prevent The death that menaces our brethren there.
THESEUS That will I; and in all that I may do To prosper you and solace him beneath,— Who even now passes to eternity,— I must not falter. Come, lament no more. His destiny hath found a perfect end.
Thyestes By Seneca
(last lines of closing act)
ATREUS: Well done, Atreus! Victory! You're in pain, Thyestes, so my crime wasn't wasted. Now I believe that my sons really are mine, and that my wife was not unfaithful with you.
THYESTES: How did my children deserve this?
ATREUS: By being yours.
THYESTES: You gave sons to their own father to -
ATREUS: Yes, I did. And they were definitely your sons, I'm delighted to say.
THYESTES: I call on the gods who protect the righteous.
ATREUS: What about the gods who guard marriages?
THYESTES: Who repays crime with crime?
ATREUS: I know why you're upset: it's because I committed that crime before you did. You're not miserable because you ate that monstrous meal; no, it's because you didn't cook one like that for me. I know what your plan was - to attack my sons, with their mother's help, and murder them and serve them up to me. The only thing that stopped you was you thought they were yours.
THYESTES: The gods of vengeance will come. I pray that they will punish you.
ATREUS: Your sons will punish you.
The Libation Bearers by Aeschylus
Hermes, messenger to the dead, guardian
of your father’s powers, help rescue me—
work with me, I beg you, now I’ve come back,
returned to this land from exile. On this grave,
on this heaped-up earth, I call my father,
imploring him to listen, to hear me . . .
Here’s a lock of hair, offering to Inachus,
the stream where I was raised. Here’s another,
a token of my grief. I was not there,
my father, to mourn your death. I couldn’t stretch
my hand out to you, when they carried off
your corpse for burial.
What’s this I see?
What’s this crowd of women coming here,
all wearing black in public? What does it mean?
What new turn of fate? Has some fresh sorrow
struck the house? Or am I right to think
they bring libations here to honour you,
my father, to appease the dead below?
That must be it. I see my sister there,
Electra. That’s her approaching with them.
She’s grieving—in great pain—that’s obvious.
O Zeus, let me avenge my father’s death.
Support me as my ally in this fight.
Pylades, let’s stand over there and hide,
so I can find out what’s taking place,
what brings these suppliant women here.
I’ve been sent here from the palace,
to bring libations for the dead,
to clap out the hands’ sharp beat.
Blood flows down my cheeks
from cuts my nails have scratched.
As life drags on and on, my heart
feeds itself on my laments,
to the sound of garments torn apart,
the sound of sorrow in our clothes,
as we rip the woven linen
covering our breasts.
No laughter any more.
Our fortune beats us down.
With hair-raising shrieks, Fear,
dream-prophet in this house,
breathed a furious cry of terror,
at night, while people were asleep.
Deep within the inner house
the heavy scream re-echoed, all the way
to rooms where women slept.
Those who read our dreams,
who speak by heaven’s will,
declared, “The dead beneath the ground
are discontent—their anger grows
against the ones who killed them.”
O Earth, my mother Earth,
to protect herself from harm
that godless woman sends me here
with gifts, with loveless gifts.
But I’m too scared to speak her words,
the prayer she wishes me to say.
What can atone for blood
once fallen on the ground?
Alas for the grief-filled hearth,
Alas for the buried home!
Sunless darkness grips the house
which all men hate, for now
their master’s murdered.
It’s gone—that ancient splendour
no man could resist or fight,
no man could overcome.
Its glory rang in every ear,
echoed in every heart.
Now it’s been thrown away.
But each man feels the fear.
For now, in all men’s eyes,
success is worshipped,
more so than god himself.
But Justice is vigilant—
she tips the scales.
With some she’s quick,
striking by light of day,
for others sorrows wait,
delaying until their lives
are half way sunk in twilight,
while others are embraced
by night that never ends.
The nurturing earth drinks blood,
she drinks her fill. That gore,
which cries out for revenge,
will not dissolve or seep away.
The guilty live in utter desperation—
madness preys upon their minds
infecting them completely.
The man who violates a virgin’s bed
cannot be redeemed. All rivers flow
into one stream to cleanse his hand
of black blood which defiles him.
Such waters flow in vain.
As for me—gods set a fatal noose
around my city, so I was led
out of my father’s house a slave.
Now I do what I have to do—
beat down my bitter rage.
Against my inclinations,
I follow what my masters say,
whether right or wrong.
Still, behind our veils
we weep for her, this girl,
her senseless suffering,
as grief, concealed and cold,
congeals our hearts to ice.
Medea by Euripides
Medea: Oh children, my children, you still have a city and a home, where you can live, once you’ve left me in wretched suffering. You can live on here without your mother. But I’ll go to some other country, an exile, before I’ve had my joy in you, before I’ve seen you happy, or helped to decorate your marriage beds, your brides, your bridal chambers, or lifted high your wedding torches. How miserable my self-will has made me. I raised you— and all for nothing. The work I did for you, the cruel hardships, pains of childbirth— all for nothing. Once, in my foolishness, I had many hopes in you—it’s true— that you’d look after me in my old age, that you’d prepare my corpse with your own hands, in the proper way, as all people wish. But now my tender dreams have been destroyed. For I’ll live my life without you both, in sorrow. And those loving eyes of yours will never see your mother any more. Your life is changing. Oh, my children, why are you looking at me in that way? Why smile at me—that last smile of yours? Alas, what shall I do? You women here, my heart gives way when I see those eyes, my children’s smiling eyes. I cannot do it. Good bye to those previous plans of mine. I’ll take my children from this country. Why harm them as a way to hurt their father and have to suffer twice his pain myself? No, I won’t do that. And so farewell to what I planned before. But what’s going on? What’s wrong with me? Do I really want my enemies escaping punishment, while I become someone they ridicule? I will go through with this. What a coward I am even to let my heart admit such sentimental reasons. Children, you must go into the house.
by Geroge Bernard Shaw
Act III (opening)
MRS. HIGGINS Henry! What are you doing here to-day? It is my at home day: you promised not to come.
HIGGINS. Oh bother! [
MRS. HIGGINS. Go home at once.
HIGGINS I know, mother. I came on purpose.
MRS. HIGGINS. But you mustn't. I'm serious, Henry. You offend all my friends: they stop coming whenever they meet you.
HIGGINS. Nonsense! I know I have no small talk; but people don't mind.
MRS. HIGGINS. Oh! don't they? Small talk indeed! What about your large talk? Really, dear, you mustn't stay.
HIGGINS. I must. I've a job for you. A phonetic job.
MRS. HIGGINS. No use, dear. I'm sorry; but I can't get round your vowels; and though I like to get pretty postcards in your patent shorthand, I always have to read the copies in ordinary writing you so thoughtfully send me.
HIGGINS. Well, this isn't a phonetic job.
MRS. HIGGINS. You said it was.
HIGGINS. Not your part of it. I've picked up a girl.
MRS. HIGGINS. Does that mean that some girl has picked you up?
HIGGINS. Not at all. I don't mean a love affair.
MRS. HIGGINS. What a pity!
MRS. HIGGINS. Well, you never fall in love with anyone under forty-five. When will you discover that there are some rather nice-looking young women about?
HIGGINS. Oh, I can't be bothered with young women. My idea of a loveable woman is something as like you as possible. I shall never get into the way of seriously liking young women: some habits lie too deep to be changed. Besides, they're all idiots.
MRS. HIGGINS. Do you know what you would do if you really loved me, Henry?
HIGGINS. Oh bother! What? Marry, I suppose?
MRS. HIGGINS. No. Stop fidgeting and take your hands out of your pockets. That's a good boy. Now tell me about the girl.
HIGGINS. She's coming to see you.
MRS. HIGGINS. I don't remember asking her.
HIGGINS. You didn't. I asked her. If you'd known her you wouldn't have asked her.
MRS. HIGGINS. Indeed! Why?
HIGGINS. Well, it's like this. She's a common flower girl. I picked her off the curbstone.
MRS. HIGGINS. And invited her to my at-home!
HIGGINS Oh, that'll be all right. I've taught her to speak properly; and she has strict orders as to her behavior. She's to keep to two subjects: the weather and everybody's health—Fine day and How do you do, you know—and not to let herself go on things in general. That will be safe.
MRS. HIGGINS. Safe! To talk about our health! about our insides! perhaps about our outsides! How could you be so silly, Henry?
HIGGINS Well, she must talk about something. [He controls himself and sits down again]. Oh, she'll be all right: don't you fuss. Pickering is in it with me. I've a sort of bet on that I'll pass her off as a duchess in six months. I started on her some months ago; and she's getting on like a house on fire. I shall win my bet. She has a quick ear; and she's been easier to teach than my middle-class pupils because she's had to learn a complete new language. She talks English almost as you talk French.
MRS. HIGGINS. That's satisfactory, at all events.
HIGGINS. Well, it is and it isn't.
MRS. HIGGINS. What does that mean?
HIGGINS. You see, I've got her pronunciation all right; but you have to consider not only how a girl pronounces, but what she pronounces; and that's where—
They are interrupted by the parlor-maid, announcing guests.
THE PARLOR-MAID. Mrs. and Miss Eynsford Hill.
HIGGINS. Oh Lord!
Mrs. and Miss Eynsford Hill are the mother and daughter who sheltered from the rain in Covent Garden. The mother is well bred, quiet, and has the habitual anxiety of straitened means. The daughter has acquired a gay air of being very much at home in society: the bravado of genteel poverty.
MRS. EYNSFORD HILL How do you do?
MISS EYNSFORD HILL. How d'you do?
MRS. HIGGINS My son Henry.
MRS. EYNSFORD HILL. Your celebrated son! I have so longed to meet you, Professor Higgins.
Miss EYNSFORD HILL How do you do?
HIGGINS I've seen you before somewhere. I haven't the ghost of a notion where; but I've heard your voice. It doesn't matter. You'd better sit down.
MRS. HIGGINS. I'm sorry to say that my celebrated son has no manners. You mustn't mind him.
MISS EYNSFORD HILL I don't.
MRS. EYNSFORD HILL Not at all.
HIGGINS. Oh, have I been rude? I didn't mean to be.
THE PARLOR-MAID. Colonel Pickering
PICKERING. How do you do, Mrs. Higgins?
MRS. HIGGINS. So glad you've come. Do you know Mrs. Eynsford Hill—Miss Eynsford Hill?
PICKERING. Has Henry told you what we've come for?
HIGGINS We were interrupted: damn it!
MRS. HIGGINS. Oh Henry, Henry, really!
MRS. EYNSFORD HILL Are we in the way?
MRS. HIGGINS No, no. You couldn't have come more fortunately: we want you to meet a friend of ours.
HIGGINS Yes, by George! We want two or three people. You'll do as well as anybody else.
The parlor-maid returns, ushering Freddy.
THE PARLOR-MAID. Mr. Eynsford Hill.
HIGGINS God of Heaven! another of them.
MRS. HIGGINS. Very good of you to come.] Colonel Pickering.
FREDDY ] Ahdedo?
MRS. HIGGINS. I don't think you know my son, Professor Higgins.
HIGGINS I'll take my oath I've met you before somewhere. Where was it?
FREDDY. I don't think so.
HIGGINS It don't matter, anyhow. Sit down. He shakes Freddy's hand, and almost slings him on the ottoman with his face to the windows; then comes round to the other side of it.
HIGGINS. Well, here we are, anyhow! And now, what the devil are we going to talk about until Eliza comes?
MRS. HIGGINS. Henry: you are the life and soul of the Royal Society's soirees; but really you're rather trying on more commonplace occasions.
HIGGINS. Am I? Very sorry. ] I suppose I am, you know. Ha, ha!
MISS EYNSFORD HILL I sympathize. I haven't any small talk. If people would only be frank and say what they really think!
HIGGINS Lord forbid!
MRS. EYNSFORD HILL But why?
HIGGINS. What they think they ought to think is bad enough, Lord knows; but what they really think would break up the whole show. Do you suppose it would be really agreeable if I were to come out now with what I really think?
MISS EYNSFORD HILL Is it so very cynical?
HIGGINS. Cynical! Who the dickens said it was cynical? I mean it wouldn't be decent.
MRS. EYNSFORD HILL Oh! I'm sure you don't mean that, Mr. Higgins.
HIGGINS. You see, we're all savages, more or less. We're supposed to be civilized and cultured—to know all about poetry and philosophy and art and science, and so on; but how many of us know even the meanings of these names? What do you know of poetry? What do you know of science? What does he know of art or science or anything else? What the devil do you imagine I know of philosophy?
O, God save ye! Even to the hall, to hear what shall become Of the great Duke of Buckingham.
I'll save you That labour, sir. All's now done, but the ceremony Of bringing back the prisoner.
Were you there?
Yes, indeed, was I.
Pray, speak what has happen'd.
You may guess quickly what.
Is he found guilty?
Yes, truly is he, and condemn'd upon't.
I am sorry for't.
So are a number more.
But, pray, how pass'd it?
I'll tell you in a little. The great duke Came to the bar; where to his accusations He pleaded still not guilty and alleged Many sharp reasons to defeat the law. The king's attorney on the contrary Urged on the examinations, proofs, confessions Of divers witnesses; which the duke desired To have brought viva voce to his face: At which appear'd against him his surveyor; Sir Gilbert Peck his chancellor; and John Car, Confessor to him; with that devil-monk, Hopkins, that made this mischief.
I’d better run if I’m going to catch the ferry. I can always ask the Pastor for help. And I’ve got a lot more right to that money than that lying pig of a carpenter. [... …] You didn’t tell me who my father was cos you couldn’t forgive him for doing my mother. You had to take it out on me. You could have brought me up properly as the daughter of a rich man. You could have educated me, taught me stuff from all those books you read, not treated me like a common skivvy but, what the hell, you didn’t. [Regina picks up the glass of champagne that she poured earlier and drinks it down] I’ll be drinking champagne with the quality soon.
A country road . A tree . Evening. Estragon, sitting on a low mound, is trying to take off his boot. He pulls at it with both hands, panting. He gives up, exhausted, rests, tries again. As before. Enter Vladimir.
ESTRAGON: (giving up again). Nothing to be done.
VLADIMIR: (advancing with short, stiff strides, legs wide apart). I'm beginning to come round to that opinion . All my life I've tried to put it from me, saying Vladimir, be reasonable, you haven't yet tried everything. And I resumed the struggle . (He broods, musing on the struggle. Turning to Estragon.) So there you are again.
ESTRAGON: Am I?
VLADIMIR: I'm glad to see you back. I thought you were gone forever.
ESTRAGON: Me too.
VLADIMIR: Together again at last! We'll have to celebrate this. But how? (He reflects.) Get up till I embrace you.
ESTRAGON: (irritably). Not now, not now.
VLADIMIR: (hurt, coldly). May one inquire where His Highness spent the night?
ESTRAGON: In a ditch.
VLADIMIR: (admiringly). A ditch! Where? ESTRAGON: (without gesture). Over there. VLADIMIR: And they didn't beat you?
ESTRAGON: Beat me? Certainly they beat me .
VLADIMIR: The same lot as usual?
ESTRAGON: The same? I don't know.
VLADIMIR: When I think of it . . . all these years . . . but for me . . . where would you be . . . (Decisively.) You'd be nothing more than a little heap of bones at the present minute, no doubt about it.
ESTRAGON: And what of it?
VLADIMIR: (gloomily). It's too much for one man. (Pause. Cheerfully.) On the other hand what's the good of losing heart now, that's what I say. We should have thought of it a million years ago, in the nineties .
ESTRAGON: Ah stop blathering and help me off with this bloody thing.
VLADIMIR: Hand in hand from the top of the Eiffel Tower, among the first. We were respectable in those days. Now it's too late. They wouldn't even let us up. (Estragon tears at his boot.) What are you doing?
ESTRAGON: Taking off my boot. Did that never happen to you?
VLADIMIR: Boots must be taken off every day , I'm tired telling you that. Why don't you listen to me?
The Life and Death of King John by William Shakespeare
Act I, Scene I
Now, say, Chatillon, what would France with us?
Thus, after greeting, speaks the King of France In my behavior to the majesty, The borrow'd majesty, of England here.
A strange beginning: 'borrow'd majesty!'
Silence, good mother; hear the embassy.
Philip of France, in right and true behalf Of thy deceased brother Geffrey's son, Arthur Plantagenet, lays most lawful claim To this fair island and the territories, To Ireland, Poictiers, Anjou, Touraine, Maine, Desiring thee to lay aside the sword Which sways usurpingly these several titles, And put these same into young Arthur's hand, Thy nephew and right royal sovereign.
What follows if we disallow of this?
The proud control of fierce and bloody war, To enforce these rights so forcibly withheld.
Here have we war for war and blood for blood, Controlment for controlment: so answer France.
Then take my king's defiance from my mouth, The farthest limit of my embassy.
Bear mine to him, and so depart in peace: Be thou as lightning in the eyes of France; For ere thou canst report I will be there, The thunder of my cannon shall be heard: So hence! Be thou the trumpet of our wrath And sullen presage of your own decay. An honourable conduct let him have: Pembroke, look to 't. Farewell, Chatillon.
Exeunt CHATILLON and PEMBROKE
What now, my son! have I not ever said How that ambitious Constance would not cease Till she had kindled France and all the world, Upon the right and party of her son? This might have been prevented and made whole With very easy arguments of love, Which now the manage of two kingdoms must With fearful bloody issue arbitrate.
A Lover's Complaint by William Shakespeare
FROM off a hill whose concave womb reworded A plaintful story from a sistering vale, My spirits to attend this double voice accorded, And down I laid to list the sad-tuned tale; Ere long espied a fickle maid full pale, Tearing of papers, breaking rings a-twain, Storming her world with sorrow's wind and rain.
Upon her head a platted hive of straw, Which fortified her visage from the sun, Whereon the thought might think sometime it saw The carcass of beauty spent and done: Time had not scythed all that youth begun, Nor youth all quit; but, spite of heaven's fell rage, Some beauty peep'd through lattice of sear'd age.
Oft did she heave her napkin to her eyne, Which on it had conceited characters, Laundering the silken figures in the brine That season'd woe had pelleted in tears, And often reading what contents it bears; As often shrieking undistinguish'd woe, In clamours of all size, both high and low.
Why should you be unhappy?[Thinking it over]I don’t understand it. You are healthy, and though your father is not rich, he has a good competency. My life is far harder than yours. I only have twenty-three roubles a month to live on, but I don’t wear mourning.[They sit down].
Happiness does not depend on riches; poor men are often happy.
In theory, yes, but not in reality. Take my case, for instance; my mother, my two sisters, my little brother and I must all live somehow on my salary of twenty-three roubles a month. We have to eat and drink, I take it. You wouldn’t have us go without tea and sugar, would you? Or tobacco? Answer me that, if you can.
[Looking in the direction of the stage]The play will soon begin.
Yes, Nina Zarietchnaya is going to act in Treplieff’s play. They love one another, and their two souls will unite to-night in the effort to interpret the same idea by different means. There is no ground on which your soul and mine can meet. I love you. Too restless and sad to stay at home, I tramp here every day, six miles and back, to be met only by your indifference. I am poor, my family is large, you can have no inducement to marry a man who cannot even find sufficient food for his own mouth.
It is not that.[She takes snuff]I am touched by your affection, but I cannot return it, that is all.[She offers him the snuff-box]Will you take some?
No, thank you.[A pause.]
The air is sultry; a storm is brewing for to-night. You do nothing but moralise or else talk about money. To you, poverty is the greatest misfortune that can befall a man, but I think it is a thousand times easier to go begging in rags than to — You wouldn’t understand that, though.
Sorin leaning on a cane, and Treplieff come in.
For some reason, my boy, country life doesn’t suit me, and I am sure I shall never get used to it. Last night I went to bed at ten and woke at nine this morning, feeling as if, from oversleep, my brain had stuck to my skull.[Laughing]And yet I accidentally dropped off to sleep again after dinner, and feel utterly done up at this moment. It is like a nightmare.
There is no doubt that you should live in town.[He catches sight of Masha and Medviedenko]You shall be called when the play begins, my friends, but you must not stay here now. Go away, please.
Miss Masha, will you kindly ask your father to leave the dog unchained? It howled so last night that my sister was unable to sleep.
You must speak to my father yourself. Please excuse me; I can’t do so.[To Medviedenko]Come, let us go.
You will let us know when the play begins?
Masha and Medviedenko go out.
I foresee that that dog is going to howl all night again. It is always this way in the country; I have never been able to live as I like here. I come down for a month’s holiday, to rest and all, and am plagued so by their nonsense that I long to escape after the first day.[Laughing]I have always been glad to get away from this place, but I have been retired now, and this was the only place I had to come to. Willy-nilly, one must live somewhere.
[To Treplieff]We are going to take a swim, Mr. Constantine.
Very well, but you must be back in ten minutes.
We will, sir.
[Looking at the stage]Just like a real theatre! See, there we have the curtain, the foreground, the background, and all. No artificial scenery is needed. The eye travels direct to the lake, and rests on the horizon. The curtain will be raised as the moon rises at half-past eight.
Of course the whole effect will be ruined if Nina is late. She should be here by now, but her father and stepmother watch her so closely that it is like stealing her from a prison to get her away from home.[He straightens Sorin’S collar]Your hair and beard are all on end. Oughtn’t you to have them trimmed?
[Smoothing his beard]They are the tragedy of my existence. Even when I was young I always looked as if I were drunk, and all. Women have never liked me.[Sitting down]Why is my sister out of temper?
A country house on a terrace. In front of it a garden. In an avenue of trees, under an old poplar, stands a table set for tea, with a samovar, etc. Some benches and chairs stand near the table. On one of them is lying a guitar. Near the table is a swing. It is three o'clock in the afternoon of a cloudy day.
MARINA, a stout, slow old woman, is sitting at the table knitting a stocking.
ASTROV is walking up and down near her.
MARINA. [Pouring some tea into a glass] Take a little tea, my son.
ASTROV. [Takes the glass from her unwillingly] Somehow, I don't seem to want any.
MARINA. Then will you have a little vodka instead?
ASTROV. No, I don't drink vodka every day, and besides, it's too hot now. [A pause] Tell me, Nanny, how long have we known each other?
MARINA. [Thoughtfully] Let me see, how long is it? Lord -- help me to remember. You first came here, into these parts -- let me think -- when was it? Sonya's mother was still alive -- it was two winters before she died; that was eleven years ago -- [thoughtfully] perhaps more.
ASTROV. Have I changed much since then?
MARINA. Oh, yes. You were handsome and young then, and now you're an old man and not handsome any more. You drink now, too.
ASTROV. Yes, ten years have made me another man. And why? Because I'm overworked. Nanny, I'm on my feet from dawn till dusk. I know no rest; at night I tremble under my blankets for fear of being dragged out to visit some one who is sick; I've toiled without repose or a day's freedom since I've known you; could I help growing old? And then, existence here is tedious, anyway; it's a senseless, dirty business, this life, and gets you down. Everyone about here is eccentric, and after living with them for two or three years one grows eccentric oneself. It's inevitable. [Twisting his moustache] See what a long moustache I've grown. A foolish, long moustache. Yes, I'm as eccentric as the rest, Nanny, but not as stupid; no, I haven't grown stupid. Thank God, my brain isn't addled yet, though my feelings have grown numb. I want nothing, I need nothing, I love no one, unless it is yourself alone. [He kisses her head] I had a nanny just like you when I was a child.
MARINA. Don't you want a bite of something to eat?
A DOLL'S HOUSE by Henrik Ibsen (opening scene) ACT I (SCENE.--A room furnished comfortably and tastefully, but not extravagantly. At the back, a door to the right leads to the entrance-hall, another to the left leads to Helmer's study. Between the doors stands a piano. In the middle of the left-hand wall is a door, and beyond it a window. Near the window are a round table, arm-chairs and a small sofa. In the right-hand wall, at the farther end, another door; and on the same side, nearer the footlights, a stove, two easy chairs and a rocking-chair; between the stove and the door, a small table. Engravings on the walls; a cabinet with china and other small objects; a small book-case with well-bound books. The floors are carpeted, and a fire burns in the stove. It is winter. A bell rings in the hall; shortly afterwards the door is heard to open. Enter NORA, humming a tune and in high spirits. She is in outdoor dress and carries a number of parcels; these she lays on the table to the right. She leaves the outer door open after her, and through it is seen a PORTER who is carrying a Christmas Tree and a basket, which he gives to the MAID who has opened the door.) Nora. Hide the Christmas Tree carefully, Helen. Be sure the children do not see it until this evening, when it is dressed. (To the PORTER, taking out her purse.) How much? Porter. Sixpence. Nora. There is a shilling. No, keep the change. (The PORTER thanks her, and goes out. NORA shuts the door. She is laughing to herself, as she takes off her hat and coat. She takes a packet of macaroons from her pocket and eats one or two; then goes cautiously to her husband's door and listens.) Yes, he is in. (Still humming, she goes to the table on the right.) Helmer (calls out from his room). Is that my little lark twittering out there?Nora (busy opening some of the parcels). Yes, it is! Helmer. Is it my little squirrel bustling about? Nora. Yes! Helmer. When did my squirrel come home?
Theseus  Children, he told me that no one should draw near that place, or approach with prayer the sacred tomb in which he sleeps. He said that, so long as I saw to this, I would always keep the country free from pain.  The divinity heard me say these things, as did the all-seeing Oath of Zeus.
Antigone If this is his intention, we must be content with it.  Send us to ancient Thebes, in case we may somehow stop the bloodshed that threatens our brothers.
Theseus I will do both this and whatever other favorable service I can, for you  and for the newly-departed under the earth, according to the gratitude I owe. I am bound to spare no pains.
Chorus Cease; raise up the lamentation no further. These things are established firm and fixed.
Philoctetes by Sophocles
Heracles: Tarry not long, then, ere ye act; for occasion urges, and the fair wind yonder at the stern.
Philoctetes: Come, then, let me greet this land, as I depart. Farewell, thou chamber that hast shared my watches, farewell, ye nymphs of stream and meadow, and thou, deep voice of the sea-lashed cape,—where, in the cavern’s inmost recess, my head was often wetted by the southwind’s blasts, and where oft the Hermaean mount sent an echo to my mournful cries, in the tempest of my sorrow!
But now, O ye springs, and thou Lycian fount, I am leaving you,—leaving you at last,—I, who had never attained to such a hope!
Farewell, thou sea-girt Lemnos; and speed me with fair course, for my contentment, to that haven whither I am borne by mighty fate, and by the counsel of friends, and by the all-subduing god who hath brought these things to fulfillment.
ChORUS: Now let us all set forth together, when we have made our prayer to the Nymphs of the sea, that they come to us for the prospering of our return.
Hence! home, you idle creatures get you home: Is this a holiday? what! know you not, Being mechanical, you ought not walk Upon a labouring day without the sign Of your profession? Speak, what trade art thou?
Why, sir, a carpenter.
Where is thy leather apron and thy rule? What dost thou with thy best apparel on? You, sir, what trade are you?
Truly, sir, in respect of a fine workman, Iam but, as you would say, a cobbler.
But what trade art thou? answer me directly.
A trade, sir, that, I hope, I may use with a safe conscience; which is, indeed, sir, a mender of bad soles.
What trade, thou knave? thou naughty knave, what trade?
Nay, I beseech you, sir, be not out with me: yet, if you be out, sir, I can mend you.
What meanest thou by that? mend me, thou saucy fellow!
Why, sir, cobble you.
Thou art a cobbler, art thou?
Truly, sir, all that I live by is with the awl: I meddle with no tradesman's matters, nor women's matters, but with awl. I am, indeed, sir, a surgeon to old shoes; when they are in great danger, I recover them. As proper men as ever trod upon neat's leather have gone upon my handiwork.
But wherefore art not in thy shop today? Why dost thou lead these men about the streets?
Truly, sir, to wear out their shoes, to get myself into more work. But, indeed, sir, we make holiday, to see Caesar and to rejoice in his triumph.
Wherefore rejoice? What conquest brings he home? What tributaries follow him to Rome, To grace in captive bonds his chariot-wheels? You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things! O you hard hearts, you cruel men of Rome, Knew you not Pompey? Many a time and oft Have you climb'd up to walls and battlements, To towers and windows, yea, to chimney-tops, Your infants in your arms, and there have sat The livelong day, with patient expectation, To see great Pompey pass the streets of Rome: And when you saw his chariot but appear, Have you not made an universal shout, That Tiber trembled underneath her banks, To hear the replication of your sounds Made in her concave shores? And do you now put on your best attire? And do you now cull out a holiday? And do you now strew flowers in his way That comes in triumph over Pompey's blood? Be gone! Run to your houses, fall upon your knees, Pray to the gods to intermit the plague That needs must light on this ingratitude.
Go, go, good countrymen, and, for this fault, Assemble all the poor men of your sort; Draw them to Tiber banks, and weep your tears Into the channel, till the lowest stream Do kiss the most exalted shores of all.
See whether their basest metal be not moved; They vanish tongue-tied in their guiltiness. Go you down that way towards the Capitol;
This way will I
disrobe the images, If you do find them deck'd with ceremonies.
May we do so? You know it is the feast of Lupercal.
It is no matter; let no images Be hung with Caesar's trophies. I'll about, And drive away the vulgar from the streets: So do you too, where you perceive them thick. These growing feathers pluck'd from Caesar's wing Will make him fly an ordinary pitch, Who else would soar above the view of men And keep us all in servile fearfulness.
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
Act I, Part 1
Algernon. Did you hear what I was playing, Lane?
Lane. I didn’t think it polite to listen, sir.
Algernon. I’m sorry for that, for your sake. I don’t play accurately—any one can play accurately—but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life.
Lane. Yes, sir.
Algernon. And, speaking of the science of Life, have you got the cucumber sandwiches cut for Lady Bracknell?
Lane. Yes, sir. [Hands them on a salver.]
Algernon. [Inspects them, takes two, and sits down on the sofa.] Oh!… by the way, Lane, I see from your book that on Thursday night, when Lord Shoreman and Mr. Worthing were dining with me, eight bottles of champagne are entered as having been consumed.
Lane. Yes, sir; eight bottles and a pint.
Algernon. Why is it that at a bachelor’s establishment the servants invariably drink the champagne? I ask merely for information.
Lane. I attribute it to the superior quality of the wine, sir. I have often observed that in married households the champagne is rarely of a first-rate brand.
Algernon. Good heavens! Is marriage so demoralising as that?
Lane. I believe it IS a very pleasant state, sir. I have had very little experience of it myself up to the present. I have only been married once. That was in consequence of a misunderstanding between myself and a young person.
Algernon. [Languidly.] I don’t know that I am much interested in your family life, Lane.
Lane. No, sir; it is not a very interesting subject. I never think of it myself.
Algernon. Very natural, I am sure. That will do, Lane, thank you.
Lane. Thank you, sir. [Lane goes out.]
Algernon. Lanes views on marriage seem somewhat lax. Really, if the lower orders don’t set us a good example, what on earth is the use of them? They seem, as a class, to have absolutely no sense of moral responsibility.
In delivering my son from me, I bury a second husband.
And I in going, madam, weep o'er my father's death anew: but I must attend his majesty's command, to whom I am now in ward, evermore in subjection.
You shall find of the king a husband, madam; you, sir, a father: he that so generally is at all times good must of necessity hold his virtue to you; whose worthiness would stir it up where it wanted rather than lack it where there is such abundance.
What hope is there of his majesty's amendment?
He hath abandoned his physicians, madam; under whose practises he hath persecuted time with hope, and finds no other advantage in the process but only the losing of hope by time.
This young gentlewoman had a father,--O, that 'had'! how sad a passage 'tis!--whose skill was almost as great as his honesty; had it stretched so far, would have made nature immortal, and death should have play for lack of work. Would, for the king's sake, he were living! I think it would be the death of the king's disease.
How called you the man you speak of, madam?
He was famous, sir, in his profession, and it was his great right to be so: Gerard de Narbon.
He was excellent indeed, madam: the king very lately spoke of him admiringly and mourningly: he was skilful enough to have lived still, if knowledge could be set up against mortality.
What is it, my good lord, the king languishes of?
A fistula, my lord.
I heard not of it before.
I would it were not notorious. Was this gentlewoman the daughter of Gerard de Narbon?
His sole child, my lord, and bequeathed to my overlooking. I have those hopes of her good that her education promises; her dispositions she inherits, which makes fair gifts fairer; for where an unclean mind carries virtuous qualities, there commendations go with pity; they are virtues and traitors too; in her they are the better for their simpleness; she derives her honesty and achieves her goodness.
Your commendations, madam, get from her tears.
'Tis the best brine a maiden can season her praise in. The remembrance of her father never approaches her heart but the tyranny of her sorrows takes all livelihood from her cheek. No more of this, Helena; go to, no more; lest it be rather thought you affect a sorrow than have it.
IPHIGENIA: Had I, my father, the persuasive voice Of Orpheus, and his skill to charm the rocks To follow me, and soothe whome'er I please With winning words, I would make trial of it; But I have nothing to present thee now Save tears, my only eloquence; and those I can present thee. On thy knees I hang, A suppliant wreath, this body, which she bore To thee. Ah! kill me not in youth's fresh prime. Sweet is the light of heaven; compel me not What is beneath to view. I was the first To call thee father, me thou first didst call Thy child; I was the first that on thy knees Fondly caressed thee, and from thee received The fond caress; this was thy speech to me: "Shall I, my child, e'er see thee in some house Of splendour, happy in thy husband, live, And flourish, as becomes my dignity?" My speech to thee was, leaning 'gainst thy cheek, Which with my hand I now caress: "And what Shall I then do for thee? Shall I receive My father when grown old, and in my house Cheer him with each fond office, to repay The careful nurture which he gave my youth?" These words are on my memory deep impressed; Thou hast forgot them, and wilt kill thy child. By Pelops I entreat thee, by thy sire Atreus, by this my mother, who before Suffered for me the pangs of childbirth, now These pangs again to suffer, do not kill me. If Paris be enamoured of his bride, His Helen, what concerns it me? and how Comes he to my destruction? Look upon me, Give me a smile, give me a kiss, my father, That, if my words persuade thee not, in death I may have this memorial of thy love. My brother, small assistance canst thou give Thy friends, yet for thy sister with thy tears Implore thy father that she may not die: E'en infants have a sense of ills: and see, My father, silent though he be, he sues To thee: be gentle to me, on my life Have pity. Thy two children by this beard Entreat thee, thy dear children: one is yet An infant, one to riper years arrived. I will sum all in this, which shall contain More than long speech: To view the light of life To mortals is most sweet, but all beneath Is nothing: of his senses is he reft Who hath a wish to die; for life, though ill, Excels whate'er there is of good in death.
Tush! never tell me; I take it much unkindly That thou, Iago, who hast had my purse As if the strings were thine, shouldst know of this.
'Sblood, but you will not hear me: If ever I did dream of such a matter, Abhor me.
Thou told'st me thou didst hold him in thy hate.
Despise me, if I do not. Three great ones of the city, In personal suit to make me his lieutenant, Off-capp'd to him: and, by the faith of man, I know my price, I am worth no worse a place: But he; as loving his own pride and purposes, Evades them, with a bombast circumstance Horribly stuff'd with epithets of war; And, in conclusion, Nonsuits my mediators; for, 'Certes,' says he, 'I have already chose my officer.' And what was he? Forsooth, a great arithmetician, One Michael Cassio, a Florentine, A fellow almost damn'd in a fair wife; That never set a squadron in the field, Nor the division of a battle knows More than a spinster; unless the bookish theoric, Wherein the toged consuls can propose As masterly as he: mere prattle, without practise, Is all his soldiership. But he, sir, had the election: And I, of whom his eyes had seen the proof At Rhodes, at Cyprus and on other grounds Christian and heathen, must be be-lee'd and calm'd By debitor and creditor: this counter-caster, He, in good time, must his lieutenant be, And I--God bless the mark!--his Moorship's ancient.
How now, brother! Where is my cousin, your son? hath he provided this music?
He is very busy about it. But, brother, I can tell you strange news that you yet dreamt not of.
Are they good?
As the event stamps them: but they have a good cover; they show well outward. The prince and Count Claudio, walking in a thick-pleached alley in mine orchard, were thus much overheard by a man of mine: the prince discovered to Claudio that he loved my niece your daughter and meant to acknowledge it this night in a dance: and if he found her accordant, he meant to take the present time by the top and instantly break with you of it.
Hath the fellow any wit that told you this?
A good sharp fellow: I will send for him; and question him yourself.
No, no; we will hold it as a dream till it appear itself: but I will acquaint my daughter withal, that she may be the better prepared for an answer, if peradventure this be true. Go you and tell her of it.
Cousins, you know what you have to do. O, I cry you mercy, friend; go you with me, and I will use your skill. Good cousin, have a care this busy time.
Philoctetes By Sophocles
At length, my noble friend, thou bravest son Of a brave father- father of us all, The great Achilles- we have reached the shore Of sea-girt Lemnos, desert and forlorn, Where never tread of human step is seen, Or voice of mortal heard, save his alone, Poor Philoctetes, Poeas' wretched son, Whom here I left; for such were my commands From Grecia's chiefs, when by his fatal wound Oppressed, his groans and execrations dreadful Alarmed our hosts, our sacred rites profaned, And interrupted holy sacrifice. But why should I repeat the tale? The time Admits not of delay. We must not linger, Lest he discover our arrival here, And all our purposed fraud to draw him hence Be ineffectual. Lend me then thy aid. Surveying round thee, canst thou see a rock With double entrance- to the sun's warm rays In winter open, and in summer's heat Giving free passage to the welcome breeze? A little to the left there is a fountain Of living water, where, if yet he breathes, He slakes his thirst. If aught thou seest of this Inform me; so shall each to each impart Counsel most fit, and serve our common cause.
If I mistake not, I behold a cave, E'en such as thou describst.
Dost thou? which way?
Yonder it is; but no path leading thither, Or trace of human footstep.
ULYSSES In his cell A chance but he hath lain down to rest:
OEDIPUS: Children, young sons and daughters of old Cadmus,1 why do you sit here with your suppliant crowns?2 the town is heavy with a mingled burden of sounds and smells, of groans and hymns and incense; 5 I did not think it fit that I should hear of this from messengers but came myself,-- I Oedipus whom all men call the Great. [He returns to the PRIEST.] You’re old and they are young; come, speak for them. What do you fear or want, that you sit here 10 suppliant? Indeed I’m willing to give all that you may need; I would be very hard should I not pity suppliants like these. PRIEST: O ruler of my country, Oedipus, You see our company around the altar; 15 you see our ages; some of us, like these, who cannot yet fly far, and some of us heavy with age; these children are the chosen among the young, and I the priest of Zeus. Within the market place sit others crowned 20 with suppliant garlands3 , at the double shrine of Pallas4 and the temple where Ismenus gives oracles by fire5 . King, you yourself have seen our city reeling like a wreck already; it can scarcely lift its prow 25 out of the depths, out of the bloody surf. A blight is on the fruitful plants of the earth. A blight is on the cattle in the fields, a blight is on our women that no children are born to them; a God that carries fire, 30 a deadly pestilence, is on our town, strikes us and spears us not, and the house of Cadmus is emptied of its people while black Death grows rich in groaning and in lamentation.6 We have not come as suppliants to this altar 35 because we thought of you as a God, but rather judging you the first of men in all the chances of this life and when we mortals have to do with more that man. You came and by your coming saved our city, 40 freed us from the tribute which we paid of old to the Sphinx,7 cruel singer. This you did in virtue of no knowledge we could give you, in virtue of no teaching; it was God that aided you, men say, and you are held 45 with God’s assistance to have saved our lives. Now Oedipus, Greatest in all men’s eyes, here falling at your feet we all entreat you, find us some strength for rescue. Perhaps you’ll hear a wise word from some God. 50 perhaps you will learn something from a man (for I have seen that for the skilled of the practice the outcome of their counsels live the most). Noblest of men, go, and raise up our city, go,-- and give heed. For now this land of ours 55 calls you its savior since you saved it once. So, let us never speak about your reign as of a time when first our feet were set secure on high, but later fell to ruin. Raise up our city, save it and raise it up.
WATCHMAN I pray the gods to quit me of my toils, To close the watch I keep, this livelong year; For as a watch-dog lying, not at rest, Propped on one arm, upon the palace-roof Of Atreus' race, too long, too well I know The starry conclave of the midnight sky, Too well, the splendours of the firmament, The lords of light, whose kingly aspect shows- What time they set or climb the sky in turn- The year's divisions, bringing frost or fire.
And now, as ever, am I set to mark When shall stream up the glow of signal-flame, The bale-fire bright, and tell its Trojan tale- Troy town is ta'en: such issue holds in hope She in whose woman's breast beats heart of man.
Thus upon mine unrestful couch I lie, Bathed with the dews of night, unvisited By dreams-ah me!-for in the place of sleep Stands Fear as my familiar, and repels The soft repose that would mine eyelids seal.
And if at whiles, for the lost balm of sleep, I medicine my soul with melody Of trill or song-anon to tears I turn, Wailing the woe that broods upon this home, Not now by honour guided as of old-
But now at last fair fall the welcome hour That sets me free, whene'er the thick night glow With beacon-fire of hope deferred no more. All hail! (A beacon-light is seen reddening the distant sky.) Fire of the night, that brings my spirit day, Shedding on Argos light, and dance, and song, Greetings to fortune, hail!
Let my loud summons ring within the ears Of Agamemnon's queen, that she anon Start from her couch and with a shrill voice cry A joyous welcome to the beacon-blaze, For Ilion's fall; such fiery message gleams From yon high flame; and I, before the rest, Will foot the lightsome measure of our joy; For I can say, My master's dice fell fair- Behold! the triple sice, the lucky flame! Now be my lot to clasp, in loyal love, The hand of him restored, who rules our home: Home-but I say no more: upon my tongue Treads hard the ox o' the adage.
Had it voice, The home itself might soothliest tell its tale; I, of set will, speak words the wise may learn, To others, nought remember nor discern. (He withdraws. The CHORUS OF ARGIVE ELDERS enters, each leaning on a staff. During their song CLYTEMNESTRA appears in the background, kindling the altars.)
CHORUS (singing) Ten livelong years have rolled away, Since the twin lords of sceptred sway, By Zeus endowed with pride of place, The doughty chiefs of Atreus' race, Went forth of yore, To plead with Priam, face to face, Before the judgment-seat of War!
A thousand ships from Argive land Put forth to bear the martial band, That with a spirit stern and strong Went out to right the kingdom's wrong- Pealed, as they went, the battle-song, Wild as the vultures' cry; When o'er the eyrie, soaring high, In wild bereaved agony, Around, around, in airy rings, They wheel with oarage of their wings, But not the eyas-brood behold, That called them to the nest of old; But let Apollo from the sky, Or Pan, or Zeus, but hear the cry, The exile cry, the wail forlorn, Of birds from whom their home is torn- On those who wrought the rapine fell,
Heaven sends the vengeful fiends of hell. Even so doth Zeus, the jealous lord And guardian of the hearth and board, Speed Atreus' sons, in vengeful ire, 'Gainst Paris-sends them forth on fire, Her to buy back, in war and blood, Whom one did wed but many woo'd! And many, many, by his will, The last embrace of foes shall feel, And many a knee in dust be bowed, And splintered spears on shields ring loud, Of Trojan and of Greek, before That iron bridal-feast be o'er! But as he willed 'tis ordered all, And woes, by heaven ordained, must fall- Unsoothed by tears or spilth of wine Poured forth too late, the wrath divine Glares vengeance on the flameless shrine.
And we in grey dishonoured eld, Feeble of frame, unfit were held To join the warrior array That then went forth unto the fray: And here at home we tarry, fain Our feeble footsteps to sustain, Each on his staff-so strength doth wane, And turns to childishness again. For while the sap of youth is green, And, yet unripened, leaps within, The young are weakly as the old, And each alike unmeet to hold The vantage post of war! And ah! when flower and fruit are o'er, And on life's tree the leaves are sere, Age wendeth propped its journey drear, As forceless as a child, as light And fleeting as a dream of night Lost in the garish day! But thou, O child of Tyndareus, Queen Clytemnestra, speak! and say What messenger of joy to-day Hath won thine ear? what welcome news, That thus in sacrificial wise E'en to the city's boundaries Thou biddest altar-fires arise? Each god who doth our city guard, And keeps o'er Argos watch and ward From heaven above, from earth below- The mighty lords who rule the skies, The market's lesser deities, To each and all the altars glow, Piled for the sacrifice! And here and there, anear, afar, Streams skyward many a beacon-star, Conjur'd and charm'd and kindled well By pure oil's soft and guileless spell, Hid now no more Within the palace' secret store.
O queen, we pray thee, whatsoe'er, Known unto thee, were well revealed, That thou wilt trust it to our ear, And bid our anxious heart be healed! That waneth now unto despair- Now, waxing to a presage fair, Dawns, from the altar, to scare From our rent hearts the vulture Care.
IRINA. How that horrid Solyony has made the room smell of tobacco! . . . [Bewildered] The baron is asleep! Baron, Baron!
TUZENBAKH [waking up]. I'm tired, though. . . . The brick-yard. I'm not talking in my sleep. I really am going to the brick factory directly, to begin work. . . . It's nearly settled. [To IRINA, tenderly] You're so pale and lovely and fascinating. . . . It seems to me as though your paleness sheds a light through the dark air. . . . You're melancholy; you're dissatisfied with life. . . . . . Ah, come with me; let's go and work together!
MASHA. Nikolay Lvovitch, go away!
TUZENBAKH [laughing]. Are you here? I didn't see you . . . [kisses IRINA'S hand]. Good-bye, I'm going. . . . I look at you now, and I remember as though it were long ago how on your name-day you talked of the joy of work, and were so cheerful and confident. . . . And what a happy life I was dreaming of then! What has become of it? [Kisses her hand.] There're tears in your eyes . Go to bed, it's getting light . . . it's nearly morning. . . . . . . . . If only I could give my life for you!
MASHA. Nikolay Lvovitch, do go! Really, this is too much. . . .
TUZENBAKH. I'm going [goes out].
MASHA [lying down]. Are you asleep, Fyodor?
MASHA. You'd better go home.
KULYGIN. My darling Masha, my precious girl! . . .
IRINA. She's tired out. Let her rest, Fedya.
KULYGIN. I'll go at once, . . . My dear, charming wife! . . . I love you, my only one! . . .
KULYGIN [laughs]. Yes, really she's wonderful. You've been my wife for seven years, and it seems to me as though we were only married yesterday. Honour bright! Yes, really you are a wonderful woman! I'm content, I'm content, I'm content!
MASHA. I'm bored, I'm bored, I'm bored! . . . [Gets up and speaks, sitting down] And there's something I can't get out of my head. . . . It's simply revolting. It sticks in my head like a nail; I must speak of it. I mean about Andrey, . . . He has mortgaged this house to the bank and his wife has grabbed all the money, and you know the house doesn't belong to him alone, but to us four! He ought to know that, if he's a decent man.
KULYGIN. Why do you want to bother about it, Masha? What's got into you? Andryusha is in debt all round, so there it is.
MASHA. It's revolting, anyway [lies down].
KULYGIN. We're not poor. I work -- I go to the high-school, and then I give private lessons, . . . I do my duty. . . . There's no nonsense about me. Omnia mea mecum porto, as the saying is.
MASHA. I want nothing, but it's the injustice that revolts me [a pause]. Go, Fyodor.
KULYGIN [kisses her]. You're tired, rest for half an hour, and I'll sit and wait for you. . . . Sleep . . . [goes]. I'm content, I'm content, I'm content [goes out].
IRINA. Yes, how petty our Andrey has grown, how dull and old he has become beside that woman! At one time he was working to get a professorship and yesterday he was boasting of having succeeded at last in becoming a member of the District Council. He's a member, and Protopopov is chairman. . . . The whole town is laughing and talking of it and he's the only one who sees and knows nothing. . . . And here everyone has been running to the fire while he sits still in his room and takes no notice. He does nothing but play his violin . . . [nervously]. Oh, it's awful, awful, awful! [Weeps] I can't bear it any more, I can't! I can't, I can't!
[OLGA comes in and begins tidying up her table.]
IRINA [sobs loudly]. Throw me out, throw me out, I can't bear it any more!
OLGA [alarmed]. What is it? What is it, darling?
IRINA [sobbing]. Where? Where has it all gone? Where is it? Oh, my God, my God! I've forgotten everything, everything . . . everything is in a tangle in my mind. . . I don't remember the Italian for window or ceiling . . . I'm forgetting everything; every day I forget something more and life is slipping away and will never come back, we'll never, never go to Moscow. . . . I see that we won't go. . . .
OLGA. Darling, darling, . . .
IRINA [restraining herself]. Oh, I'm miserable. . . . I can't work, I'm not going to work. I've had enough of it, enough of it! I've been a telegraph clerk and now I have a job in the town council and I hate and despise every bit of the work they give me. . . . I'm already twenty-three, I've been working for years, my brains are drying up, I'm getting thin and old and ugly and there's nothing, nothing, not the slightest satisfaction, and time is passing and you feel that you are moving away from a real, a beautiful life, moving farther and farther away and being drawn into the depths. I'm in despair and I don't know how it is I'm alive and haven't killed myself yet. . . .
OLGA. Don't cry, my child, don't cry. It makes me miserable.
IRINA. I'm not crying, I'm not crying. . . . It's over, . . . There, I'm not crying now. I won't . . . I won't.
OLGA. Darling, I'm speaking to you as a sister, as a friend, if you care for my advice, marry the baron!
[IRINA weeps quietly.]
OLGA. You know you respect him, you think highly of him. . . . It's true he isn't good-looking, but he is such a thoroughly nice man, so good. . . . A person doesn't marry for love, but to do her duty. . . . That's what I think, anyway, and I would marry without love. Whoever proposed to me I'd marry him, if only he were a good man. . . . I'd even marry an old man. . . .
IRINA. I kept expecting we should move to Moscow and there I should meet my true love. I've been dreaming of him, loving him. . . . But it seems that was all nonsense, nonsense. . . .
OLGA [puts her arms round her sister]. My darling, lovely sister, I understand it all; when the baron left the army and came to us in a plain coat, I thought he looked so ugly that it positively made me cry. . . . He asked me, "Why are you crying?" How could I tell him! But if God brought you together I should be happy. That's a different thing, you know, quite different.
[NATASHA with a candle in her hand walks across the stage from door on right to door on left without speaking.]
MASHA [sits up]. She walks about as though it were she who set fire to the town.
OLGA. Masha, you're silly. The very silliest of the family, that's you. Please forgive me [a pause].
MASHA. I want to confess my sins, dear sisters. My soul is yearning. I'm going to confess to you and never again to anyone. . . . I'll tell you this minute [softly]. It's my secret, but you must know everything. . . . I can't be silent . . . [a pause]. I'm in love, I'm in love, . . . I love that man. . . . You have just seen him. . . . Well, I may as well say it straight out. I love Vershinin.
OLGA [going behind her screen]. Stop it. I'm not listening anyway.
MASHA. But what am I to do? [Clutches her head.] At first I thought him strange . . . then I was sorry for him . . . then I came to love him . . . to love him with his voice, his words, his misfortunes, his two little girls. . . .
OLGA [behind the screen]. I'm not listening anyway. Whatever silly things you say I won't hear them.
MASHA. Oh, Olya. you are silly. I love him -- so that's my fate. It means that that's my lot, . . . And he loves me. . . . It's all terrifying. Yes? Is it wrong? [Takes IRINA by the hand and draws her to herself] Oh, my darling, . . . How are we going to live our lives, what will become of us? . . . When you read a novel it all seems trite and obvious, but when you're in love yourself you see that no one knows anything and we all have to settle things for ourselves, . . . My darlings, my sisters. . . . I've confessed it to you, now I'll hold my tongue. . . . I'll be like Gogol's madman . . . silence . . . silence. . . .
[Enter ANDREY and after him FERAPONT.]
ANDREY [angrily]. What do you want? I can't make it out.
FERAPONT [in the doorway, impatiently]. I've told you ten times already, Andrey Sergeyevitch.
ANDREY. In the first place I'm not Andrey Sergeyevitch, but your honour, to you!
FERAPONT. The firemen ask permission, your honour, to go through the garden on their way to the river. Or else they have to go round and round, an awful nuisance for them.
ANDREY. All right. Tell them, all right. [FERAPONT goes out.] I'm sick of them. Where's Olga? [OLGA comes from behind the screen.] I've come to ask you for the key of the cupboard, I have lost mine. You've got one, it's a little key.
[OLGA gives him the key in silence; IRINA goes behind her screen; a pause.]
ANDREY. What a tremendous fire! Now it's begun to die down. Damn it all, that Ferapont made me so cross I said something silly to him. Your honour . . . [a pause]. Why don't you speak, Olya? [a pause] It's time to drop this foolishness and sulking all about . . . . . . . . . You're here, Masha, and you too, Irina -- very well, then, let us have things out thoroughly, once and for all. What have you got against me? What is it?
OLGA. Stop it, Andryusha. Let's talk tomorrow [nervously]. What an agonising night!
ANDREY [greatly confused]. Don't excite yourself. I ask you quite calmly, what have you against me? Tell me straight out.
[VERSHININ'S voice: "Tram-tam-tam!"]
MASHA [standing up, loudly]. Tra-ta-ta! [To OLGA] Good night, Olga, God bless you . . . [Goes behind the screen and kissesIRINA.] Sleep well. . . . Good night, Andrey. You'd better leave them now, they're tired out . . . you can go into things tomorrow [goes out].
OLGA. Yes, really, Andryusha, let's put it off till tomorrow . . . [goes behind her screen]. It's time we were in bed.
ANDREY. I'll say what I have to say and then go. Directly. . . . First, you have something against Natasha, my wife, and I've noticed that from the very day of my marriage. Natasha is a splendid woman, conscientious, straightforward and honourable -- that's my opinion! I love and respect my wife, do you understand? I respect her, and I insist on other people respecting her too. I repeat, she is a conscientious, honourable woman, and all your disagreements are simply caprice. . . [a pause]. Secondly, you seem to be cross with me for not being a professor, not working at something scholarly. But I'm in the service of the Zemstvo, I'm a member of the District Council, and I consider this service just as sacred and elevated as the service of learning. I'm a member of the District Council and I'm proud of it, if you care to know . . . [a pause]. Thirdly . . . there's something else I have to say. . . . I've mortgaged the house without asking your permission. . . . For that I am to blame, yes, and I ask your pardon for it. I was driven to it by my debts . . . thirty-five thousand. . . . I'm not gambling now -- I gave up cards long ago; but the chief thing I can say in self-defence is that you girls -- you get a pension . . . while I don't get . . . my wages, so to speak . . . [a pause].
KULYGIN [at the door] . Isn't Masha here? [Perturbed] Where is she? It's strange . . . [goes out].
ANDREY. They won't listen. Natasha is an excellent, conscientious woman [paces up and down the stage in silence, then stops]. When I married her, I thought we should be happy . . . happy, all of us. . . . But, my God! [Weeps] Dear sisters, darling sisters, you must not believe what I say, you mustn't believe it . . . [goes out].
KULYGIN [at the door, uneasily]. Where is Masha? Isn't Masha here? How strange! [Goes out.]
[The firebell rings in the street. The stage is empty.]
IRINA [behind the screen]. Olya! Who is that knocking on the floor?
OLGA. It's the doctor, Ivan Romanitch. He's drunk.
IRINA. What a troubled night! [a pause] Olya! [Peeps out from behind the screen.] Have you heard? The brigade is going to be taken away; they are being transferred to some place very far off.
Merriam-Webster defines music in part as "an agreeable sound", which can rightly be called an understatement.
Violins and fiddles have delivered some of the world's most distinctive music for centuries. They are wooden, stringed instruments with a hollow, wooden body and are higher pitched than their larger counterparts, the cello and the bass. It has been commented (tongue-in-cheek) that the difference between the violin and the fiddle is that the violin has strings while the fiddle has "strangs".
Albert Einsten is universally appreciated as one of the most advanced physisists the world has ever known. Born on March 14, 1879 and having died on April 18, 1955, his general theory of relativity revoluntionized the way sciene perceives matter and energy. Althoug he began his career in Europe, he completed it in the United States. His name has evolved in the vernacular to a synonym for genius.
Jimmy Carter by Andrew
James Earl Carter Jr. was the 39th president of the United States. Having served in that office from 1977 to 1981, he had previously served the 76th governor of Georgia. After graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1946, he worked as an officer on nuclear submarines. Later he returned home to work on his family's peanut farm before beginning his political career.
Jonas Salk by Andrew
Jonas Salk was credited with developing one of the original polio vaccines. From the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, he successfully researched and developed the medicine that would virtually eliminate the ubitiquous affliction. To optimize the vaccine's availability to the most amount of people in the shortest amount of time he opted to no slow the procees down by applying for a patent. In 1955, Salk was hailed as a miracle worker.
Nikola Tesla by Andrew
NikolaTesla was a Serbian-American inventor and pioneer into the sourcing of electricity. He was born and raised in the Austrian Empire, where he studied physics. His success with alternating electrical current made our world possible today. Efforts to create wireless global electricity went unfinished due to lack of continued funding. He died in 1943 in 1960, the General Conference of Weights and Measures honored him by naming the SI unit of magnetic flux the tesla.
Apollo 11 by Andrew
The first spaceflight to ever land humans on the Moon was Apollo 11. On July 20, 1969, the Apollo Lunar Module, "Eagle" Commander Neil Armstrong and lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin formed the American crew that made the historic landing. They spent a little over two hours on the Moon's surface and gathered over 47 pounds of material to bring back with them on their return flight to Earth. Michael Collins flew the orbiting Command Module, "Columbia" as Armstrong and Aldrin explored the lunar service. Armstrong's words when he first walked on the lunar surface still echo in historical context today: "That's one small step for man. One giant leap for mankind."
First President by Andrew
George Washington was the first President of the United States. He took his oath of office on April 30, 1789 at Federal Hall in New York. Knowing that historic precedent was being set, he wrote, “As the first of everything, in our situation will serve to establish a Precedent, it is devoutly wished on my part, that these precedents may be fixed on true principles.”
Washington’s humble tendencies lead him away from becoming king-like and set the ball in motion in that regard for all that would follow him.
Americans can be thankful today that he was who he was then.
JFK by Andrew
John Fitzgerald Kennedy was the 35th president of the United States. He was born on May 29, 1917 in Brookline, Massachusetts and died on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas.
After graduating from Harvard University in 1940, he joined the U.S. Naval Reserve where he served as a PT boat commander in the Pacific theater during World War II. During his service, he earned the Navy Marine Corps Medal and th Purple Heart.
After completing his Naval career, Mr. Kennedy briefly worked as a journalist, before going into politics. His political life is marked by his having been a congressman and a senator before being elected to the presidency in 1963.
Mr. Kennedy was assassinated in the third year of his first term.
A Winter Walk by Henry D. Thoreau
The surly night-wind rustles through the wood, and warns us to retrace our steps, while the sun goes down behind the thickening storm, and birds seek their roosts, and cattle their stalls.
"Drooping the lab'rer ox Stands covered o'er with snow, and _now_ demands The fruit of all his toil."
Though winter is represented in the almanac as an old man, facing the wind and sleet, and drawing his cloak about him, we rather think of him as a merry wood-chopper, and warm-blooded youth, as blithe as summer. The unexplored grandeur of the storm keeps up the spirits of the traveller. It does not trifle with us, but has a sweet earnestness. In winter we lead a more inward life. Our hearts are warm and cheery, like cottages under drifts, whose windows and doors are half concealed, but from whose chimneys the smoke cheerfully ascends. The imprisoning drifts increase the sense of comfort which the house affords, and in the coldest days we are content to sit over the hearth and see the sky through the chimney top, enjoying the quiet and serene life that may be had in a warm corner by the chimney side, or feeling our pulse by listening to the low of cattle in the street, or the sound of the flail in distant barns all the long afternoon. No doubt a skilful physician could determine our health by observing how these simple and natural sounds affected us. We enjoy now, not an oriental, but a boreal leisure, around warm stoves and fireplaces, and watch the shadow of motes in the sunbeams.
Sometimes our fate grows too homely and familiarly serious ever to be cruel. Consider how for three months the human destiny is wrapped in furs. The good Hebrew Revelation takes no cognizance of all this cheerful snow. Is there no religion for the temperate and frigid zones? We know of no scripture which records the pure benignity of the gods on a New England winter night. Their praises have never been sung, only their wrath deprecated. The best scripture, after all, records but a meagre faith. Its saints live reserved and austere. Let a brave devout man spend the year in the woods of Maine or Labrador, and see if the Hebrew Scriptures speak adequately to his condition and experience, from the setting in of winter to the breaking up of the ice.
Now commences the long winter evening around the farmer's hearth, when the thoughts of the indwellers travel far abroad, and men are by nature and necessity charitable and liberal to all creatures. Now is the happy resistance to cold, when the farmer reaps his reward, and thinks of his preparedness for winter, and, through the glittering panes, sees with equanimity "the mansion of the northern bear," for now the storm is over,
"The full ethereal round, Infinite worlds disclosing to the view, Shines out intensely keen; and all one cope Of starry glitter glows from pole to pole."
Bumped by Pamela
It was the 4th of March and I was scheduled to fly out of LaGuardia Airport in New York to visit my family in Albuquerque. I arrived at the gate in plenty of time only to hear the announcement that the airline was overbooked and needed volunteers to give up their seats on this flight, be rescheduled on a flight three hours later and be awarded a $1,500 airline voucher that was good for a year. I thought about being late to see my family but decided the two more times I could visit them with the voucher would be worth it. I took the offer. So now I've got an airline voucher in my hand and three hours to kill. Went and had a slow coffee and then showed up at the gate for my rescheduled flight. It is then when I heard the same announcement with the same offer but this time I would have to come back the next day to fly out. I thought about again, called my family in Albuquerque and ended up walking out of the airport that day with two $1,500 vouchers and a flight to Albuquerque scheduled for 11 the next morning. I went home, got a good night's sleep and showed up again at LaGuardia the next morning in plenty of time for my re-re-scheduled flight to Albuquerque. Believe it or not, the same announcement came over the loudspeaker. The airline had overbooked due to weather issues and was now offering a $1,000 travel voucher to a volunteer who would give up their seat to take a two and a half hour later flight. I took it. The overbooking must have resolved itself by the time of this last flight because there were plenty of seats. The net result was that I got safely to Albuquerque 27 hours later that I was originally scheduled but had $4,000 worth of airline vouchers, that I used that year many times to go back and forth to Albuquerque to visit my family.
The Leaves of Fall by Andrew
The leaves fell this year in October, just like they had in all previous years. But this season was different. This year the leaves seemed to gather in piles, a welcome eventuality since my decreasing capacity to rake them was evident to all who knew me. I couldn't believe it but was not going to complain. Before the wind had a chance to scatter them everywhere, I loaded them into big bags and carried them the short distance to the woods. What would have taken at least a day to accomplish was now completed in an hour and a half. I am blessed and thankful.
Our Stray Cat by Andrew
It was a cold March day when we first saw him. He came to our window and had that "feed me" look on his face. Now we've seen stray cats before ... in fact we adopted two of them. This little guy, probably about a year old, was different, however. He seemed already people-oriented. He purred and let us pet him, and of course let us feed him too. He even let us put him in a cat carrier so we could get him to the vet. The vet surprised us with the news that this cat was a male and had already been altered. The implication was that he belonged to someone so we brought him back home, gave him a good meal, put a collar with a note on it and let him out. Our little black and white visitor came back, though. We kept feeding him and he kept coming back. No one had responded to the note with our phone number on it so we guessed that he had been abandoned. We looked in the lost and found registry but saw nothing matching the description of the cat we affectionately named, "Burrito". So now we have an outside cat that comes faithfully everyday at dawn and dusk and consumes a healthy two cans of feline food at each visit. For now, we don't have to make a decision about bringing him in for the winter but when that time comes later this year, Burrito too wil have a big decision to make.
About Parenting by Pamela (a non-parent, non-professional, untrained , well intended wife) They may not resemble you physically but they will resemble you by their attitudes and behaviors. You may not be recognized for your good work until they have children of their own. Rightly or wrongly, you will be judged by the behavior of your children. Ground rules for the dinner table - no devices allowed. If you deny them the latest devices, you may be putting them at a disadvantage. If you give them all the latest tech gadgets, you may be spoiling them. Your children are doing their best to grow up, just like you did. Maybe it would help if you think of it this way - you're not raising children, you're raising adults. Have certain, designated times of the day where all family members are device-free. You will be remembered by how they interact with the world after you're gone. Use the current protest situation to teach them love and respect. If you hate, so might they. If you love, so might they. If you spend all your time on a device, so will they. Be patient, be loving, be a good guide. Use the quarantined time together at home to reestablish your relationship with your kids (and family). How long can they sit still without having their face in their phones? Teach them by the example you set. Can your kids tell time on a non-digital clock? Can your kids add and subtract without a calculator?
Find a happy medium between letting them be "over-deviced" and 21 century ignorant. As much as they may need you now, you may need them when you are elderly. They will learn their from values from you.
Grandparent influence is impotrant in the upbringing of a child also.
They will follow your lead.
Be the person you want them to become.
They will learn by your example.
Give them credit for understanding more than you might otherwise believe.
They are gifts. Treasure them.
Until they get older, you're not their friend, you're their parent who must guide them without being overbearing.
Don't lecture them.
Be the person you want your children to become.
Be truthful with them because they will detect non-truth and discount everything else you say.
It's important they know your motivation is your love for them.
Your role as a parent is a life-long committment.
Set an example for them.
They are your best way of leaving something positive for the future of the world.
It is the outlook they acqire from you that will guide them throughot their lives.
Be there for them.
Parenting may be the most important role you'll ever play in this life.
You wont have a more insight-inspiring legacy than your children.
They are a reflection of all they've gleaned from you.
It's important that they know you love them.
For better or for worse, they are a reflection of all you've imparted to them.
Respect them and they will respect you.
Give them a sense of their heritage so they know from whence they came.
They will learn more from being talked to rather than talked at.
Show them your main concern is their safety.
Talk to them, not at them.
If you want them to develop a love for reading, let them start by reading books of interst to them.
You are their role model.
Its not a popularity contest.
They will learn their values from your example.
When its all said and done, they are your future. Teach them well.
Be firm but fair.
If they know you really love them, they will be more likely to follow your direction and example.
Don't talk down to them.
Your children are your legacy.
Find the line between constuctive, non-alienating correction and criticism, and don't cross it.
More parenchild face-to-face time, less device time.
Operate under the assumption that they will remember how you parented them, even if it doesn't seem so now.
Don't force it but be there for them if they want one-on-one time with you.
Schedule regular family time with limited access to devices.
Be firm with them but communicate in a non-condescending manner that they will understand.
Your kids will grow up to parent as they were parented.
They are your legacy.
You are their parent long past the time they've grown and moved out.
Loving time is the most important asset you have to spend on your children.
Be their parent, not necessarily their friend.
Be consistent with them.
Just being there for them is sometimes all they need.
Set them on the right moral course. Their compasses will take them the rest of the way.
Your children will learn more from your example than your words.