This Horvendile says foolishly, not knowing it is an axiom among the Philistines that literary expression is best controlled by somebody with no misleading tenderness toward it; and that it is this custom, as they proudly aver, which makes the literature of Philistia what it is.
But John the Garbage-man said nothing at all, the while that he changed nouns to “fork” and “dish,” and carefully annotated each verb in the book as meaning “to eat.” Thereafter he carried off the book along with his garbage, and with—which was the bewildering part of it—self-evident and glowing self-esteem. And all that watched him spoke the Dirghic word of derision, which is “Tee-Hee.”
3—How Thereupon Ensued a Legal Debate
Now Horvendile in his bewilderment consulted with a man of law. And the lawman answered a little peevishly, by reason of the fact that age had impaired his digestive organs, and he said, “But of course you are a lewd fellow if you have been suspected of writing about eating.”
“Sir,” replies Horvendile, “I would have you consider that if your parents and your grandparents had not eaten, your race would have perished, and you would never have been born. I would have you consider that if you and your wife had not eaten, again your race would have perished, and neither of you would ever have lived to have the children for whose protection, as men tell me, you of Philistia avoid all mention of eating.”
“Yes, for the object of this most righteous law,” declares the lawman, “is to protect those whose character is not so completely formed as to be proof against the effect of meat market reports and grocery advertisements and menu folders and other such provocatives to gluttony.”
“—Yet I would have you consider how little is to be gained by attempting to conceal even from the young the inevitability of this natural function, so long as dogs eat publicly in the streets, and the poultry regale themselves just as candidly, and the house-flies also. Instead, the knowledge that this function is not to be talked about induces furtive and misleading discussion among these children, and, though lack of proper instruction in the approved etiquette of eating, they often commit deplorable errors—”
To which the man of law replied, still with a bewildering effect of talking very wisely and patiently: “Ah, but it does not matter at all whether or not the function of eating is practised and is inevitable to the nature and laws of our being. The law merely considers that any mention of eating is apt to inflame an improper and lewd appetite, particularly in the young, who are always ready to eat: and therefore any such mention is an obscene libel.”
4—How There Was Babbling in Philistia
Now Horvendile, yet in bewilderment, lamented, and he fled from the man of law. Thereafter, in order to learn what manner of writing was most honored by the Philistines, this Horvendile goes into an academy where the faded old books of Philistia were stored, along with yesterday’s other leavings.