“But suppose,” continued the burden, “I were a shoulder of beef—which I quite as much resemble—belonging to some poor family?”
“In that case,” replied the man, promptly, “I should carry you to my larder, my good fellow.”
“But if I were a sack of gold, do you think you would find me very onerous?” said the burden.
“A great deal would depend,” was the answer, “upon whom you happened to belong to; but I may say, generally, that gold upon the shoulders is wonderfully light, considering the weight of it.”
“Behold,” said the burden, “the folly of mankind: they cannot perceive that the quality of the burdens of life is a matter of no importance. The question of pounds and ounces is the only consideration of any real weight.”
A ghost meeting a genie, one wintry night, said to him:
“Extremely harassing weather, friend. Wish I had some teeth to chatter!”
“You do not need them,” said the other; “you can always chatter those of other people, by merely showing yourself. For my part, I should be content with some light employment: would erect a cheap palace, transport a light-weight princess, threaten a small cripple—or jobs of that kind. What are the prospects of the fool crop?”
“For the next few thousand years, very good. There is a sort of thing called Literature coming in shortly, and it will make our fortune. But it will be very bad for History. Curse this phantom apparel! The more I gather it about me the colder I get.”
“When Literature has made our fortune,” sneered the genie, “I presume you will purchase material clothing.”
“And you,” retorted the ghost, “will be able to advertise for permanent employment at a fixed salary.”
This fable shows the difference between the super natural and the natural “super”: the one appears in the narrative, the other does not.
“Permit me to help you on in the world, sir,” said a boy to a travelling tortoise, placing a glowing coal upon the animal’s back.
“Thank you,” replied the unconscious beast; “I alone am responsible for the time of my arrival, and I alone will determine the degree of celerity required. The gait I am going will enable me to keep all my present appointments.”
A genial warmth began about this time to pervade his upper crust, and a moment after he was dashing away at a pace comparatively tremendous.
“How about those engagements?” sneered the grinning urchin.
“I’ve recollected another one,” was the hasty reply.
Having fastened his gaze upon a sparrow, a rattlesnake sprung open his spanning jaws, and invited her to enter.
“I should be most happy,” said the bird, not daring to betray her helpless condition, but anxious by any subterfuge to get the serpent to remove his fascinating regard, “but I am lost in contemplation of yonder green sunset, from which I am unable to look away for more than a minute. I shall turn to it presently.”