|1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18|
The Thoughtful Warden
THE Warden of a Penitentiary was one day putting locks on the doors of all the cells when a mechanic said to him:
"Those locks can all be opened from the inside - you are very imprudent."
The Warden did not look up from his work, but said:
"If that is called imprudence, I wonder what would be called a thoughtful provision against the vicissitudes of fortune."
The Treasury and the Arms
A PUBLIC Treasury, feeling Two Arms lifting out its contents, exclaimed:
"Mr. Shareman, I move for a division."
"You seem to know something about parliamentary forms of speech," said the Two Arms.
"Yes," replied the Public Treasury, "I am familiar with the hauls of legislation."
The Christian Serpent
A RATTLESNAKE came home to his brood and said: "My children, gather about and receive your father's last blessing, and see how a Christian dies."
"What ails you, Father?" asked the Small Snakes.
"I have been bitten by the editor of a partisan journal," was the reply, accompanied by the ominous death-rattle.
The Broom of the Temple
THE city of Gakwak being about to lose its character of capital of the province of Ukwuk, the Wampog issued a proclamation convening all the male residents in council in the Temple of Ul to devise means of defence. The first speaker thought the best policy would be to offer a fried jackass to the gods. The second suggested a public procession, headed by the Wampog himself, bearing the Holy Poker on a cushion of cloth-of-brass. Another thought that a scarlet mole should be buried alive in the public park and a suitable incantation chanted over the remains. The advice of the fourth was that the columns of the capitol be rubbed with oil of dog by a person having a moustache on the calf of his leg. When all the others had spoken an Aged Man rose and said:
"High and mighty Wampog and fellow-citizens, I have listened attentively to all the plans proposed. All seem wise, and I do not suffer myself to doubt that any one of them would be efficacious. Nevertheless, I cannot help thinking that if we would put an improved breed of polliwogs in our drinking water, construct shallower roadways, groom the street cows, offer the stranger within our gates a free choice between the poniard and the potion, and relinquish our private system of morals, the other measures of public safety would be needless."
The Aged Man was about to speak further, but the meeting informally adjourned in order to sweep the floor of the temple - for the men of Gakwak are the tidiest housewives in all that province. The last speaker was the broom.
WHILE bathing, Antinous was seen by Minerva, who was so enamoured of his beauty that, all armed as she happened to be, she descended from Olympus to woo him; but, unluckily displaying her shield, with the head of Medusa on it, she had the unhappiness to see the beautiful mortal turn to stone from catching a glimpse of it. She straightway ascended to ask Jove to restore him; but before this could be done a Sculptor and a Critic passed that way and espied him.
"This is a very bad Apollo," said the Sculptor: "the chest is too narrow, and one arm is at least a half-inch shorter than the other. The attitude is unnatural, and I may say impossible. Ah! my friend, you should see my statue of Antinous."
"In my judgment, the figure," said the Critic, "is tolerably good, though rather Etrurian, but the expression of the face is decidedly Tuscan, and therefore false to nature. By the way, have you read my work on 'The Fallaciousness of the Aspectual in Art'?"
The Foolish Woman
A MARRIED Woman, whose lover was about to reform by running away, procured a pistol and shot him dead.
"Why did you do that, Madam?" inquired a Policeman, sauntering by.
"Because," replied the Married Woman, "he was a wicked man, and had purchased a ticket to Chicago."
"My sister," said an adjacent Man of God, solemnly, "you cannot stop the wicked from going to Chicago by killing them."
Father and Son
"MY boy," said an aged Father to his fiery and disobedient Son, "a hot temper is the soil of remorse. Promise me that when next you are angry you will count one hundred before you move or speak."
No sooner had the Son promised than he received a stinging blow from the paternal walking-stick, and by the time he had counted to seventy-five had the unhappiness to see the old man jump into a waiting cab and whirl away.
The Discontented Malefactor
A JUDGE having sentenced a Malefactor to the penitentiary was proceeding to point out to him the disadvantages of crime and the profit of reformation.
"Your Honour," said the Malefactor, interrupting, "would you be kind enough to alter my punishment to ten years in the penitentiary and nothing else?"
"Why," said the Judge, surprised, "I have given you only three years!"
"Yes, I know," assented the Malefactor - "three years' imprisonment and the preaching. If you please, I should like to commute the preaching."
A Call to Quit
SEEING that his audiences were becoming smaller every Sunday, a Minister of the Gospel broke off in the midst of a sermon, descended the pulpit stairs, and walked on his hands down the central aisle of the church. He then remounted his feet, ascended to the pulpit, and resumed his discourse, making no allusion to the incident.
"Now," said he to himself, as he went home, "I shall have, henceforth, a large attendance and no snoring."
But on the following Friday he was waited upon by the Pillars of the Church, who informed him that in order to be in harmony with the New Theology and get full advantage of modern methods of Gospel interpretation they had deemed it advisable to make a change. They had therefore sent a call to Brother Jowjeetum-Fallal, the World- Renowned Hindoo Human Pin-Wheel, then holding forth in Hoopitup's circus. They were happy to say that the reverend gentleman had been moved by the Spirit to accept the call, and on the ensuing Sabbath would break the bread of life for the brethren or break his neck in the attempt.
The Man and the Lightning
A MAN Running for Office was overtaken by Lightning.
"You see," said the Lightning, as it crept past him inch by inch, "I can travel considerably faster than you."
"Yes," the Man Running for Office replied, "but think how much longer I keep going!"
The Lassoed Bear
A HUNTER who had lassoed a Bear was trying to disengage himself from the rope, but the slip-knot about his wrist would not yield, for the Bear was all the time pulling in the slack with his paws. In the midst of his trouble the Hunter saw a Showman passing by, and managed to attract his attention.
"What will you give me," he said, "for my Bear?"
"It will be some five or ten minutes," said the Showman, "before I shall want a fresh Bear, and it looks to me as if prices would fall during that time. I think I'll wait and watch the market."
"The price of this animal," the Hunter replied, "is down to bed- rock; you can have him for nothing a pound, spot cash, and I'll throw in the next one that I lasso. But the purchaser must remove the goods from the premises forthwith, to make room for three man- eating tigers, a cat-headed gorilla, and an armful of rattlesnakes."
But the Showman passed on, in maiden meditation, fancy free, and being joined soon afterward by the Bear, who was absently picking his teeth, it was inferred that they were not unacquainted.
The Ineffective Rooter
A DRUNKEN Man was lying in the road with a bleeding nose, upon which he had fallen, when a Pig passed that way.
"You wallow fairly well," said the Pig, "but, my fine fellow, you have much to learn about rooting."
A Protagonist of Silver
SOME Financiers who were whetting their tongues on their teeth because the Government had "struck down" silver, and were about to "inaugurate" a season of sweatshed, were addressed as follows by a Member of their honourable and warlike body:
"Comrades of the thunder and companions of death, I cannot but regard it as singularly fortunate that we who by conviction and sympathy are designated by nature as the champions of that fairest of her products, the white metal, should also, by a happy chance, be engaged mostly in the business of mining it. Nothing could be more appropriate than that those who from unselfish motives and elevated sentiments are doing battle for the people's rights and interests, should themselves be the chief beneficiaries of success. Therefore, O children of the earthquake and the storm, let us stand shoulder to shoulder, heart to heart, and pocket to pocket!"
This speech so pleased the other Members of the convention that, actuated by a magnanimous impulse, they sprang to their feet and left the hall. It was the first time they had ever been known to leave anything having value.
The Holy Deacon
AN Itinerant Preacher who had wrought hard in the moral vineyard for several hours whispered to a Holy Deacon of the local church:
"Brother, these people know you, and your active support will bear fruit abundantly. Please pass the plate for me, and you shall have one fourth."
|1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18|
Fantastic Fables -- by Bierce