Click here to Download Fantastic Fables PDF Book by Ambrose Bierce Language English having PDF Size 1 MB and No of Pages 102.
Having obtained an audience of the King an Ingenious Patriot pulled a paper from his pocket, saying: “May it please your Majesty, I have here a formula for constructing armour-plating which no gun can pierce. If these plates are adopted in the Royal Navy our warships will be invulnerable, and therefore invincible. Here, also, are reports of your Majesty’s Ministers, attesting the value of the invention.
Fantastic Fables PDF Book by Ambrose Bierce
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I will part with my right in it for a million tumtums.” After examining the papers, the King put them away and promised him an order on the Lord High Treasurer of the Extortion Department for a million tumtums. “And here,” said the Ingenious Patriot, pulling another paper from another pocket, “are the working plans of a gun that I have invented, which will pierce that armour.
Your Majesty’s Royal Brother, the Emperor of Bang, is anxious to purchase it, but loyalty to your Majesty’s throne and person constrains me to offer it first to your Majesty. The price is one million tumtums.” Having received the promise of another check, he thrust his hand into still another pocket, remarking: “The price of the irresistible gun would have been much greater.
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Your Majesty, but for the fact that its missiles can be so effectively averted by my peculiar method of treating the armour plates with a new—” The King signed to the Great Head Factotum to approach. “Search this man,” he said, “and report how many pockets he has.” “Forty-three, Sire,” said the Great Head Factotum, completing the scrutiny.
“May it please your Majesty,” cried the Ingenious Patriot, in terror, “one of them contains tobacco.” “Hold him up by the ankles and shake him,” said the King; “then give him a check for forty-two million tumtums and put him to death. Let a decree issue declaring ingenuity a capital offence.”
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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. Fantastic Fables PDF Book
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 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. Jamrach the Rich, being anxious to reach the City of Political Distinction before nightfall, arrived at a fork of the road and was undecided which branch to follow; so he consulted a Wise-Looking Person who sat by the wayside. “Take that road,” said the Wise-Looking Person, pointing it out; “it is known as the Political Highway.” Fantastic Fables PDF Book
“Thank you,” said Jamrach, and was about to proceed. “About how much do you thank me?” was the reply. “Do you suppose I am here for my health?” As Jamrach had not become rich by stupidity, he handed something to his guide and hastened on, and soon came to a toll-gate kept by a Benevolent Gentleman, to whom he gave something, and was suffered to pass.
A little farther along he came to a bridge across an imaginary stream, where a Civil Engineer (who had built the bridge) demanded something for interest on his investment, and it was forthcoming. It was growing late when Jamrach came to the margin of what appeared to be a lake of black ink, and there the road terminated.
Seeing a Ferryman in his boat he paid something for his passage and was about to embark. “No,” said the Ferryman. “Put your neck in this noose, and I will tow you over. It is the only way,” he added, seeing that the passenger was about to complain of the accommodations. In due time he was dragged across, half strangled, and dreadfully beslubbered by the feculent waters. Fantastic Fables PDF Book
“There,” said the Ferryman, hauling him ashore and disengaging him, “you are now in the City of Political Distinction. It has fifty millions of inhabitants, and as the colour of the Filthy Pool does not wash off, they all look exactly alike.” “Alas!” exclaimed Jamrach, weeping and bewailing the loss of all his possessions, paid out in tips and tolls; “I will go back with you.”
“I don’t think you will,”, said the Ferryman, pushing off; “this city is situated on the Island of the Unreturning.” An Office Seeker whom the President had ordered out of Washington was watering the homeward highway with his tears. “Ah,” he said, “how disastrous is ambition! how unsatisfying its rewards! how terrible its disappointments!
Behold yonder peasant tilling his field in peace and contentment! He rises with the lark, passes the day in wholesome toil, and lies down at night to pleasant dreams. In the mad struggle for place and power he has no part; the roar of the strife reaches his ear like the distant murmur of the ocean. Happy, thrice happy man! Fantastic Fables PDF Book Download
I will approach him and bask in the sunshine of his humble felicity. Peasant, all hail!” Leaning upon his rake, the Peasant returned the salutation with a nod, but said nothing. “My friend,” said the Office Seeker, “you see before you the wreck of an ambitious man—ruined by the pursuit of place and power.
This morning when I set out from the national capital—” “Stranger,” the Peasant interrupted, “if you’re going back there soon maybe you wouldn’t mind using your influence to make me Postmaster at Smith’s Corners.” The traveller passed on. An Insurance Agent was trying to induce a Hard Man to Deal With to take out a policy on his house.
After listening to him for an hour, while he painted in vivid colours the extreme danger of fire consuming the house, the Hard Man to Deal With said: “Do you really think it likely that my house will burn down inside the time that policy will run?” “Certainly,” replied the Insurance Agent; “have I not been trying all this time to convince you that I do?” Fantastic Fables PDF Book Download
“Then,” said the Hard Man to Deal With, “why are you so anxious to have your Company bet me money that it will not?” The Agent was silent and thoughtful for a moment; then he drew the other apart into an unfrequented place and whispered in his ear: “My friend, I will impart to you a dark secret. Years ago the Company betrayed my sweetheart by promise of marriage.
Under an assumed name I have wormed myself into its service for revenge; and as there is a heaven above us, I will have its heart’s blood!” A Party Manager said to a Gentleman whom he saw minding his own business: “How much will you pay for a nomination to office?” “Nothing,” the Gentleman replied. “But you will contribute something to the campaign fund to assist in your election, will you not?”
Asked the Party Manager, winking. “Oh, no,” said the Gentleman, gravely. “If the people wish me to work for them, they must hire me without solicitation. I am very comfortable without office.” “But,” urged the Party Manager, “an election is a thing to be desired. It is a high honour to be a servant of the people.” “If servitude is a high honour,” the Gentleman said. Fantastic Fables PDF Book Download
“It would be indecent for me to seek it; and if obtained by my own exertion it would be no honour.” “Well,” persisted the Party Manager, “you will at least, I hope, indorse the party platform.” The Gentleman replied: “It is improbable that its authors have accurately expressed my views without consulting me; and if I indorsed their work without approving it I should be a liar.”
“You are a detestable hypocrite and an idiot!” shouted the Party Manager. “Even your good opinion of my fitness,” replied the Gentleman, “shall not persuade me.” A Silken-Eared Spaniel, who traced his descent from King Charles the Second of England, chanced to look into a mirror which was leaning against the wainscoting of a room on the ground floor of his mistress’s house.
Seeing his reflection, he supposed it to be another dog, outside, and said: “I can chew up any such milksoppy pup as that, and I will.” So he ran out-of-doors and around to the side of the house where he fancied the enemy was. It so happened that at that moment a Bulldog sat there sunning his teeth. Fantastic Fables PDF Book Download
The Spaniel stopped short in dire consternation, and, after regarding the Bulldog a moment from a safe distance, said: “I don’t know whether you cultivate the arts of peace or your flag is flung to the battle and the breeze and your voice is for war. If you are a civilian, the windows of this house flatter you worse than a newspaper, but if you’re a soldier, they do you a grave injustice.”
This speech being unintelligible to the Bulldog he only civilly smiled, which so terrified the Spaniel that he dropped dead in his tracks. A Wise and illustrious Writer of Fables was visiting a travelling menagerie with a view to collecting literary materials. As he was passing near the Elephant, that animal said.
“How sad that so justly famous a satirist should mar his work by ridicule of people with long noses—who are the salt of the earth!” The Kangaroo said: “I do so enjoy that great man’s censure of the ridiculous—particularly his attacks on the Proboscidæ; but, alas! he has no reverence for the Marsupials, and laughs at our way of carrying our young in a pouch.” Fantastic Fables PDF Book Free
The Camel said: “If he would only respect the sacred Hump, he would be faultless. As it is, I cannot permit his fables to be read in the presence of my family.” The Ostrich, seeing his approach, thrust her head in the straw, saying: “If I do not conceal myself, he may be reminded to write something disagreeable about my lack of a crest or my appetite for scrap-iron.
And although he is inexpressibly brilliant when he devotes himself to censure of folly and greed, his dulness is matchless when he transcends the limits of legitimate comment.” “That,” said the Buzzard to his mate, “is the distinguished author of that glorious fable, ‘The Ostrich and the Keg of Raw Nails.’
I regret to add, that he wrote, also, ‘The Buzzard’s Feast,’ in which a carrion diet is contumeliously disparaged. A carrion diet is the foundation of sound health. If nothing else but corpses were eaten, death would be unknown.” Seeing an attendant approaching, the wise and illustrious Writer of Fables passed out of the tent and mingled with the crowd. Fantastic Fables PDF Book Free
It was afterward discovered that he had crept in under the canvas without paying. A Dog passing over a stream on a plank saw his reflection in the water. “You ugly brute!” he cried; “how dare you look at me in that insolent way.” He made a grab in the water, and, getting hold of what he supposed was the other dog’s lip, lifted out a fine piece of meat which a butcher’s boy had dropped into the stream.
The Man and the Fish-horn A Truthful Man, finding a musical instrument in the road, asked the name of it, and was told that it was a fish-horn. The next time he went fishing he set his nets and blew the fish-horn all day to charm the fish into them; but at nightfall there were not only no fish in his nets, but none along that part of the coast.
Meeting a friend while on his way home he was asked what luck he had had. “Well,” said the Truthful Man, “the weather is not right for fishing, but it‘s a redletter day for music.” The Hare and the Tortoise A Hare having ridiculed the slow movements of a Tortoise, was challenged by the latter to run a race, a Fox to go to the goal and be the judge. Fantastic Fables PDF Book Free
They got off well together, the hare at the top of her speed, the Tortoise, who had no other intention than making his antagonist exert herself, going very leisurely. After sauntering along for some time he discovered the Hare by the wayside, apparently asleep, and seeing a chance to win pushed on as fast as he could, arriving at the goal hours afterward, suffering from extreme fatigue and claiming the victory. “Not so,” said the Fox; “the Hare was here long ago, and went back to cheer you on your way.”