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The Legend of Sleepy HollowThe valley known as Sleepy Hollow hides from the world in the high hills of New York state.There are many stories told about the quiet valley. But the story that people believe most isabout a man who rides a horse at night. The story says the man died many years ago duringthe American revolutionary war. His head was shot off. Every night he rises from his burialplace, jumps on his horse and rides through the valley looking for his lost head.Near Sleepy Hollow is a village called Tarry Town. It was settled many years ago by peoplefrom Holland. The village had a small school. And one teacher, named Ichabod Crane. IchabodCrane was a good name for him, because he looked like a tall bird, a crane. He was tall and thinlike a crane. His shoulders were small, joined two long arms. His head was small, too, and flaton top. He had big ears, large glassy green eyes and a long nose.Ichabod did not make much money as a teacher. And although he was tall and thin, he ate likea fat man. To help him pay for his food he earned extra money teaching young people to sing.Every Sunday after church Ichabod taught singing.Among the ladies Ichabod taught was one Katrina Van Tassel. She was the only daughter of arich Dutch farmer. She was a girl in bloom…much like a round red, rosy apple. Ichabod had asoft and foolish heart for the ladies, and soon found himself interested in Miss Van Tassel.Ichabods eyes opened wide when he saw the riches of Katrinas farm: the miles of apple treesand wheat fields, and hundreds of fat farm animals. He saw himself as master of the VanTassel farm with Katrina as his wife.But there were many problems blocking the road to Katrinas heart. One was a strong youngman named Brom Van Brunt. Brom was a hero to all the young ladies. His shoulders were big.His back was wide. And his hair was short and curly. He always won the horse races in TarryTown and earned many prizes. Brom was never seen without a horse.Sometimes late at night Brom and his friends would rush through town shouting loudly fromthe backs of their horses. Tired old ladies would awaken fromtheir sleep and say: "Why, there goes Brom Van Brunt leadinghis wild group again!"Such was the enemy Ichabod had to defeat for Katrinas heart.Stronger and wiser men would not have tried. But Ichabodhad a plan. He could not fight his enemy in the open. So hedid it silently and secretly. He made many visits to Katrinasfarm and made her think he was helping her to sing better.
Time passed, and the town people thought Ichabod was winning. Broms horse was never seenat Katrinas house on Sunday nights anymore.One day in autumn Ichabod was asked to come to a big party at the Van Tassel home. Hedressed in his best clothes. A farmer loaned him an old horse for the long trip to the party.The house was filled with farmers and their wives, red-faced daughters and clean, washedsons. The tables were filled with different things to eat. Wine filled many glasses.Brom Van Brunt rode to the party on his fastest horse called Daredevil. All the young ladiessmiled happily when they saw him. Soon music filled the rooms and everyone began to danceand sing.Ichabod was happy dancing with Katrina as Brom looked at them with a jealous heart. Thenight passed. The music stopped, and the young people sat together to tell stories about therevolutionary war.Soon stories about Sleepy Hollow were told. The most feared story was about the rider lookingfor his lost head. One farmer told how he raced the headless man on a horse. The farmer ranhis horse faster and faster. The horseman followed over bush and stone until they came to theend of the valley. There the headless horseman suddenly stopped. Gone were his clothes andhis skin. All that was left was a man with white bones shining in the moonlight.The stories ended and time came to leave the party. Ichabod seemed very happy until he saidgoodnight to Katrina. Was she ending their romance? He left feeling very sad. Had Katrinabeen seeing Ichabod just to make Brom Van Brunt jealous so he would marry her?Well, Ichabod began his long ride home on the hills that surround Tarry Town. He had neverfelt so lonely in his life. He began to whistle as he came close to the tree where a man hadbeen killed years ago by rebels.He thought he saw something white move in the tree. But no, it was only the moonlightshining and moving on the tree. Then he heard a noise. His body shook. He kicked his horsefaster. The old horse tried to run, but almost fell in the river, instead. Ichabod hit the horseagain. The horse ran fast and then suddenly stopped, almost throwing Ichabod forward to theground.There, in the dark woods on the side of the river where the bushes grow low, stood an uglything. Big and black. It did not move, but seemed ready to jump like a giant monster.Ichabods hair stood straight up. It was too late to run, and in his fear, he did the only thing hecould. His shaking voice broke the silent valley."Who are you?" The thing did not answer. Ichabod asked again. Still no answer. Ichabods old
horse began to move forward. The black thing began to move along the side of Ichabods horsein the dark. Ichabod made his horse run faster. The black thing moved with them. Side by sidethey moved, slowly at first. And not a word was said.Ichabod felt his heart sink. Up a hill they moved above the shadow of the trees. For a momentthe moon shown down and to Ichabods horror he saw it was a horse. And it had a rider. Butthe riders head was not on his body. It was in front of the rider, resting on the horse.Ichabod kicked and hit his old horse with all his power. Away they rushed through bushes andtrees across the valley of Sleepy Hollow. Up ahead was the old church bridge where theheadless horseman stops and returns to his burial place."If only I can get there first, I am safe," thought Ichabod. He kicked his horse again. The horsejumped on to the bridge and raced over it like the sound of thunder. Ichabod looked back tosee if the headless man had stopped. He saw the man pick up his head and throw it with apowerful force. The head hit Ichabod in the face and knocked him off his horse to the dirtbelow.They found Ichabods horse the next day peacefully eating grass. They could not find Ichabod.They walked all across the valley. They saw the foot marks of Ichabods horse as it had racedthrough the valley. They even found Ichabods old hat in the dust near the bridge. But they didnot find Ichabod. The only other thing they found was lying near Ichabods hat.It was the broken pieces of a round orange pumpkin.The town people talked about Ichabod for many weeks. They remembered the frighteningstories of the valley. And finally they came to believe that the headless horseman had carriedIchabod away.Much later an old farmer returned from a visit to New York City. He said he was sure he sawIchabod there. He thought Ichabod silently left Sleepy Hollow because he had lost Katrina.As for Katrina, her mother and father gave her a big wedding when she married Brom VanBrunt. Many people who went to the wedding saw that Brom smiled whenever Ichabodsname was spoken. And they wondered why he laughed out loud when anyone talked aboutthe broken orange pumpkin found lying near Ichabods old dusty hat.
The Cask of Amontilladoby Edgar Allan PoeFortunato and I both were members of very old and important Italian families. We used toplay together when we were children.Fortunato was bigger, richer and more handsome than I was. And he enjoyed making me looklike a fool. He hurt my feelings a thousand times during the years of my childhood. I nevershowed my anger, however. So, he thought we were good friends. But I promised myself thatone day I would punish Fortunato for his insults to me.Many years passed. Fortunato married a rich and beautiful woman who gave him sons. Deepin my heart I hated him, but I never said or did anything that showed him how I really felt.When I smiled at him, he thought it was because we were friends.He did not know it was the thought of his death that made me smile.Everyone in our town respected Fortunato. Some men were afraid of him because he was sorich and powerful. He had a weak spot, however. He thought he was an excellent judge ofwine. I also was an expert on wine. I spent a lot of money buying rare and costly wines. I storedthe wines in the dark rooms under my familys palace.Our palace was one of the oldest buildings in the town. The Montresor family had lived in it forhundreds of years. We had buried our dead in the rooms under the palace. These tombs werequiet, dark places that no one but myself ever visited.Late one evening during carnival season, I happened to meet Fortunato on the street. He wasgoing home alone from a party. Fortunato was beautiful in his silk suit made of many colors:yellow, green, purple and red. On his head he wore an orange cap, covered with little silverbells. I could see he had been drinking too much wine. He threw his arms around me. He saidhe was glad to see me.I said I was glad to see him, too because I had a little problem."What is it?" he asked, putting his large hand on my shoulder."My dear Fortunato," I said, "Im afraid I have been very stupid. The man who sells me winesaid he had a rare barrel of Amontillado wine. I believed him and I bought it from him. Butnow, I am not so sure that the wine is really Amontillado."
"What!" he said, "A cask of Amontillado at this time of year. An entire barrel? Impossible!""Yes, I was very stupid. I paid the wine man the full price he wanted without asking you totaste the wine first. But I couldnt find you and I was afraid he would sell the cask ofAmontillado to someone else. So I bought it.""A cask of Amontillado!" Fortunato repeated. "Where is it?"I pretended I didnt hear his question. Instead I told him I was going to visit our friend Lucresi."He will be able to tell me if the wine is really Amontillado," I said.Fortunato laughed in my face. "Lucresi cannot tell Amontillado from vinegar."I smiled to myself and said "But some people say that he is as good a judge of wine as you are."Fortunato grabbed my arm. "Take me to it," he said. "Ill taste the Amontillado for you.""But my friend," I protested, "it is late. The wine is in my wine cellar, underneath the palace.Those rooms are very damp and cold and the walls drip with water.""I dont care," he said. "I am the only person who can tell you if your wine man has cheatedyou. Lucresi cannot!"Fortunato turned, and still holding me by the arm, pulled me down the street to my home. Thebuilding was empty. My servants were enjoying carnival. I knew they would be gone all night.I took two large candles, lit them and gave one to Fortunato. I started down the dark, twistingstairway with Fortunato close behind me. At the bottom of the stairs, the damp air wrappeditself around our bodies."Where are we?" Fortunato asked. "I thought you said the cask of Amontillado was in yourwine cellar.""It is," I said. "The wine cellar is just beyond these tombs where the dead of my family arekept. Surely, you are not afraid of walking through the tombs.He turned and looked into my eyes. "Tombs?" he said. He began to cough. The silver bells onhis cap jingled."My poor friend," I said, "how long have you had that cough?""Its nothing," he said, but he couldnt stop coughing."Come," I said firmly, "we will go back upstairs. Your health is important.You are rich,respected, admired, and loved. You have a wife and children. Many people would miss you if
you died. We will go back before you get seriously ill. I can go to Lucresi for help with thewine.""No!" he cried. "This cough is nothing. It will not kill me. I wont die from a cough.""That is true," I said, "but you must be careful." He took my arm and we began to walk throughthe cold, dark rooms. We went deeper and deeper into the cellar.Finally, we arrived in a small room. Bones were pushed high against one wall. A doorway inanother wall opened to an even smaller room, about one meter wide and two meters high. Itswalls were solid rock."Here we are," I said. "I hid the cask of Amontillado in there." I pointed to the smaller room.Fortunato lifted his candle and stepped into the tiny room. I immediately followed him. Hestood stupidly staring at two iron handcuffs chained to a wall of the tiny room. I grabbed hisarms and locked them into the metal handcuffs. It took only a moment. He was too surprisedto fight me.I stepped outside the small room."Where is the Amontillado?" he cried."Ah yes," I said, "the cask of Amontillado." I leaned over and began pushing aside the pile ofbones against the wall. Under the bones was a basket of stone blocks, some cement and asmall shovel. I had hidden the materials there earlier. I began to fill the doorway of the tinyroom with stones and cement.By the time I laid the first row of stones Fortunato was no longer drunk. I heard him moaninginside the tiny room for ten minutes. Then there was a long silence.I finished the second and third rows of stone blocks. As I began the fourth row, I heardFortunato begin to shake the chains that held him to the wall. He was trying to pull them outof the granite wall.I smiled to myself and stopped working so that I could better enjoy listening to the noise. Aftera few minutes, he stopped. I finished the fifth, the sixth and the seventh rows of stones. Thewall I was building in the doorway was now almost up to my shoulders.Suddenly, loud screams burst from the throat of the chained man. For a moment I worried.What if someone heard him? Then I placed my hand on the solid rock of the walls and felt safe.I looked into the tiny room, where he was still screaming. And I began to scream, too. Myscreams grew louder than his and he stopped.It was now almost midnight. I finished the eighth, the ninth and the tenth rows. All that wasleft was a stone for the last hole in the wall. I was about to push it in when I heard a low laugh
from behind the stones.The laugh made the hair on my head stand up. Then Fortunato spoke, in a sad voice that nolonger sounded like him.He said, "Well, you have played a good joke on me. We will laugh about it soon over a glass ofthat Amontillado. But isnt it getting late. My wife and my friends will be waiting for us. Let usgo.""Yes," I replied, "let us go."I waited for him to say something else. I heard only my own breathing. "Fortunato!" I called.No answer. I called again. "Fortunato!" Still no answer.I hurried to put the last stone into the wall and put the cement around it. Then I pushed thepile of bones in front of the new wall I had built.That was fifty years ago. For half a century now, no one has touched those bones. "May he restin peace!"
A HORSEMAN IN THE SKYUN JINETE EN EL CIELOCarter Druse was born in Virginia. He loved his parents, his home and the south. But heloved his country, too. And in the autumn of eighteen sixty-one, when the United States wasdivided by a terrible civil war, Carter Druse, a southerner, decided to join the Union Army ofthe north.He told his father about his decision one morning at breakfast.The older man looked at his only son for a moment, too shocked to speak. Then he said, "As ofthis moment you are a traitor to the south. Please dont tell your mother about your decision.She is sick, and we both know she has only a few weeks to live."Carters father paused, again looking deep into his sons eyes. "Carter," he said, "No matterwhat happens -- be sure you always do what you think is your duty."Both Carter Druse and his father left the table that morningwith broken hearts. And Carter soon left his home, andeveryone he loved to wear the blue uniform of the Unionsoldier.One sunny afternoon, a few weeks later, Carter Druse laywith his face in the dirt by the side of a road. He was on hisstomach, his arms still holding his gun. Carter would notreceive a medal for his actions. In fact, if his commandingofficer were to see him, he would order Carter shotimmediately.For Carter was not dead or wounded. He was sleeping whileon duty. Fortunately, no one could see him. He was hiddenby some bushes, growing by the side of the road.The road Carter Druse had been sent to guard was only a few miles from his fathers house.It began in a forest, down in the valley, and climbed up the side of a huge rock. Anyonestanding on the top of this high rock would be able to see down into the valley. And thatperson would feel very dizzy, looking down. If he dropped a stone from the edge of this cliff, itwould fall for six hundred meters before disappearing into the forest in the valley below.Giant cliffs, like the one Carter lay on, surrounded the valley.Hidden in the valleys forest were five union regiments -- thousands of Carters fellow soldiers.
They had marched for thirty-six hours. Now they were resting. But at midnight they wouldclimb that road up the rocky cliff.Their plan was to attack by surprise an army of southerners, camped on the other side of thecliff. But if their enemy learned about the Union Army hiding in the forest, the soldiers wouldfind themselves in a trap with no escape. That was why Carter Druse had been sent to guardthe road.It was his duty to be sure that no enemy soldier, dressed in gray, spied on the valley, where theunion army was hiding.But Carter Druse had fallen asleep. Suddenly, as if a messenger of fate came to touch him onthe shoulder, the young man opened his eyes. As he lifted his head, he saw a man onhorseback standing on the huge rocky cliff that looked down into the valley.The rider and his horse stood so still that they seemed made of stone. The mans gray uniformblended with the blue sky and the white clouds behind him. He held a gun in his right hand,and the horses reins in the other.Carter could not see the mans face, because the rider was looking down into the valley. Butthe man and his horse seemed to be of heroic, almost gigantic size, standing there motionlessagainst the sky. Carter discovered he was very much afraid, even though he knew the enemysoldier could not see him hiding in the bushes.Suddenly the horse moved, pulling back its head from the edge of the cliff. Carter wascompletely awake now. He raised his gun, pushing its barrel through the bushes. And he aimedfor the horsemans heart. A small squeeze of the trigger, and Carter Druse would have done hisduty.At that instant, the horseman turned his head and looked in Carters direction. He seemed tolook at Carters face, into his eyes, and deep into his brave, generous heart.Carters face became very white. His entire body began shaking. His mind began to race, and inhis fantasy, the horse and rider became black figures, rising and falling in slow circles against afiery red sky.Carter did not pull the trigger. Instead, he let go of his gun and slowly dropped his face until itrested again in the dirt.Brave and strong as he was, Carter almost fainted from the shock of what he had seen.Is it so terrible to kill an enemy who might kill you and your friends? Carter knew that this manmust be shot from ambush -- without warning. This man must die without a moment toprepare his soul; without even the chance to say a silent prayer.
Slowly, a hope began to form in Carter Druses mind. Perhaps the southern soldier had notseen the northern troops.Perhaps he was only admiring the view. Perhaps he would now turn and ride carelessly away.Then Carter looked down into the valley so far below. He saw a line of men in blue uniformsand their horses, slowly leaving the protection of the forest. A foolish Union officer hadpermitted his soldiers to bring their horses to drink at a small stream near the forest. Andthere they were -- in plain sight!Carter Druse looked back to the man and horse standing there against the sky. Again he tookaim. But this time he pointed his gun at the horse. Words rang in his head -- the last words hisfather ever spoke to him: "No matter what happens, be sure you always do what you think isyour duty."Carter Druse was calm as he pulled the trigger of his gun.At that moment, a Union officer happened to look up from his hiding place near the edge ofthe forest. His eyes climbed to the top of the cliff that looked over the valley. Just looking atthe top of the gigantic rock, so far above him, made the soldier feel dizzy.And then the officer saw something that filled his heart with horror. A man on a horse wasriding down into the valley through the air!The rider sat straight in his saddle. His hair streamed back, waving in the wind. His left handheld his horses reins while his right hand was hidden in the cloud of the horses mane. Thehorse looked as if it were galloping across the earth. Its body was proud and noble.As the frightened Union officer watched this horseman in the sky, he almost believed he waswitnessing a messenger from heaven. A messenger who had come to announce the end of theworld. The officers legs grew weak, and he fell. At almost the same instant, he heard acrashing sound in the trees. The sound died without an echo. And all was silent.The officer got to his feet, still shaking. He went back to his camp. But he didnt tell anyonewhat he had seen. He knew no one would ever believe him.Soon after firing his gun, Carter Druse was joined by a Union sergeant. Carter did not turn hishead as the sergeant kneeled beside him."Did you fire?" The sergeant whispered."Yes.""At what?"
"A horse. It was on that rock. Its not there now. It went over the cliff." Carters face was white.But he showed no other sign of emotion. The sergeant did not understand."See here, Druse," he said, after a moments silence. "Why are you making this into a mystery.I order you to report. Was there anyone on the horse?""Yes.""Who? ""My father."
BartlebyI am an old lawyer, and I have three men working for me. My business continued to grow andso I decided to get one more man to help write legal papers.I have met a great many people in my days, but the man who answered my advertisement wasthe strangest person I have ever heard of or met.He stood outside my office and waited for me to speak. He was a small man, quiet and dressedin a clean but old suit of clothes. I asked him his name. It was Bartleby.At first Bartleby almost worked himself too hard writing the legal papers I gave him. Heworked through the day by sunlight, and into the night by candlelight. I was happy with hiswork, but not happy with the way he worked. He was too quiet. But, he worked well…like amachine, never looking or speaking.One day, I asked Bartleby to come to my office to study alegal paper with me. Without moving from his chair,Bartleby said: “I do not want to.”I sat for a short time, too surprised to move. Then Ibecame excited.“You do not want to. What do you mean, are you sick? Iwant you to help me with this paper.”“I do not want to.”His face was calm. His eyes showed no emotion. He was not angry. This is strange, I thought.What should I do? But, the telephone rang, and I forgot the problem for the time being.A few days later, four long documents came into the office. They needed careful study, and Idecided to give one document to each of my men. I called and all came to my office. But notBartleby.“Bartleby, quick, I am waiting.”He came, and stood in front of me for a moment. “I don’t want to,” he said then turned andwent back to his desk.I was so surprised, I could not move. There was something about Bartleby that froze me, yet,at the same time, made me feel sorry for him.
As time passed, I saw that Bartleby never went out to eat dinner. Indeed, he never wentanywhere. At eleven o’clock each morning, one of the men would bring Bartleby some gingercakes.“Umm. He lives on them,” I thought. “Poor fellow!” He is a little foolish at times, but he isuseful to me.“Bartleby,” I said one afternoon. “Please go to the post office and bring my mail.”“I do not want to.”I walked back to my office too shocked to think. Let’s see, the problem here is…one of myworkers named Bartleby will not do some of the things I ask him to do. One important thingabout him though, he is always in his office.One Sunday I walked to my office to do some work. When I placed the key in the door, Icouldn’t open it. I stood a little surprised, then called, thinking someone might be inside. Therewas. Bartleby. He came from his office and told me he did not want to let me in.The idea of Bartleby living in my law office had a strange effect on me. I slunk away much like adog does when it has been shouted at…with its tail between its legs.Was anything wrong? I did not for a moment believe Bartleby would keep a woman in myoffice. But for some time he must have eaten, dressed and slept there. How lonely andfriendless Bartleby must be.I decided to help him. The next morning I called him to my office.“Bartleby, will you tell me anything about yourself?”“I do not want to.”I sat down with him and said, “You do not have to tell me about your personal history, butwhen you finish writing that document…“I have decided not to write anymore,” he said. And left my office.What was I to do? Bartleby would not work at all. Then why should he stay on his job? Idecided to tell him to go. I gave him six days to leave the office and told him I would give himsome extra money. If he would not work, he must leave.On the sixth day, somewhat hopefully, I looked into the office Bartleby used. He was still there.The next morning, I went to the office early. All was still. I tried to open the door, but it was
locked. Bartleby’s voice came from inside. I stood as if hit by lightening. I walked the streetsthinking. “Well, Bartleby, if you will not leave me, I shall leave you.”I paid some men to move all the office furniture to another place. Bartleby just stood there asthe men took his chair away.“Goodbye Bartleby, I am going. Goodbye and God be with you. Here take this money.” I placedit in his hands. It dropped to the floor; and then, strange to say, I had difficulty leaving theperson I wanted to leave me.A few days later, a stranger visited me in my new office. “You are responsible for the man youleft in your last office,” he said. The owner of the building has given me a court order whichsays you must take him away. We tried to make him leave, but he returned and troubles theothers there.I went back to my old office and found Bartleby sitting on the empty floor.“Bartleby, one of two things must happen. I will get you a different job, or you can go to workfor some other lawyer.”He said he did not like either choice.“Bartleby, will you come home with me and stay there until we decide what you will do?”He answered softly, “No, I do not want to make any changes.”I answered nothing more. I fled. I rode around the city and visited places of historic interest,anything to get Bartleby off my mind.When I entered my office later, I found a message for me. Bartleby had been taken to prison.I found him there, and when he saw me he said: “I know you, and I have nothing to say toyou.”“But I didn’t put you here, Bartleby.” I was deeply hurt. I told him I gave the prison guardmoney to buy him a good dinner.“I do not want to eat today, he said. I never eat dinner.”Days passed, and I went to see Bartleby again. I was told he was sleeping in the prison yardoutside.Sleeping? The thin Bartleby was lying on the cold stones. I stooped to look at the small manlying on his side with his knees against his chest. I walked closer and looked down at him. Hiseyes were open. He seemed to be in a deep sleep.
“Won’t he eat today, either, or does he live without eating?” the guard asked.“Lives without eating,” I answered…and closed his eyes.“Uh…he is asleep isn’t he?” the guard said.“With kings and lawyers,” I answered.One little story came to me some days after Bartleby died. I learned he had worked for manyyears in the post office. He was in a special office that opened all the nation’s letters that neverreach the person they were written to. It is called the dead letter office. The letters are notwritten clearly, so the mailmen cannot read the addresses.Well, poor Bartleby had to read the letters, to see if anyone’s name was written clearly so theycould be sent. Think of it. From one letter a wedding ring fell, the finger it was bought forperhaps lies rotting in the grave. Another letter has money to help someone long since dead.Letters filled with hope for those who died without hope.Poor Bartleby! He himself had lost all hope. His job had killed something inside him.Ah, Bartleby! Ah, humanity!
Keesh lived at the edge of the polar sea. He had seen thirteen suns in the Eskimo way ofkeeping time. Among the Eskimos, the sun each winter leaves the land in darkness. And thenext year, a new sun returns, so it might be warm again.The father of Keesh had been a brave man. But he had died hunting for food. Keesh was hisonly son. Keesh lived along with his mother, Ikeega.One night, the village council met in the big igloo of Klosh-kwan, the chief. Keesh was therewith the others. He listened, then waited for silence.He said, “It is true that you give us some meat. But it is often old and tough meat, and hasmany bones.”The hunters were surprised. This was a child speaking against them. A child talking like a grownman!Keesh said, “My father, Bok, was a great hunter. It is said that Bok brought home more meatthan any of the two best hunters. And that he divided the meat so that all got an equal share.”“Naah! Naah!” the hunters cried. “Put the child out! Send him to bed. He should not talk togray-beards this way!”Keesh waited until the noise stopped. “You have a wife, Ugh-gluk,” he said. “And you speak forher. My mother has no one but me. So I speak. As I say, Bok hunted greatly, but is now dead. Itis only fair then that my mother, who was his wife, and I, his son, should have meat when thetribe has meat. I, Keesh, son of Bok, have spoken.”Again, there was a great noise in the igloo. The council ordered Keesh to bed. It even talked ofgiving him no food.Keesh jumped to his feet. “Hear me!” he cried. “Never shall Ispeak in the council igloo again. I shall go hunt meat like myfather, Bok.”There was much laughter when Keesh spoke of hunting. Thelaughter followed Keesh as he left the council meeting.The next day, Keesh started out for the shore, where the landmeets the ice. Those who watched saw that he carried hisbow and many arrows. Across his shoulder was his father’sbig hunting spear. Again there was laughter.
One day passed, then a second. On the third day, a great wind blew. There was no sign ofKeesh. His mother, Ikeega, put burned seal oil on her face to show her sorrow. The womenshouted at their men for letting the little boy go. The men made no answer, but got ready tosearch for the body of Keesh.Early next morning, Keesh walked into the village. Across his shoulders was fresh meat. “Goyou men, with dogs and sleds. Follow my footsteps. Travel for a day,” he said. “There is muchmeat on the ice. A she-bear and her two cubs.”His mother was very happy. Keesh, trying to be a man, said to her, “Come, Ikeega, let us eat.And after that, I shall sleep. For I am tired.”There was much talk after Keesh went to his igloo. The killing of a bear was dangerous. But itwas three times more dangerous to kill a mother bear with cubs. The men did not believeKeesh had done so. But the women pointed to the fresh meat. At last, the men agreed to gofor the meat that was left. But they were not very happy.One said that even if Keesh had killed the bear, he probably had not cut the meat into pieces.But when the men arrived, they found that Keesh had not only killed the bear, but had also cutit into pieces, just like a grown hunter.So began the mystery of Keesh.On his next trip, he killed a young bear…and on the following trip, a large male bear and itsmate.Then there was talk of magic and witchcraft in the village. “He hunts with evil spirits,” said one.“Maybe his father’s spirit hunts with him,” said another.Keesh continued to bring meat to the village. Some people thought he was a great hunter.There was talk of making him chief, after old Klosh-kwan. They waited, hoping he would cometo council meetings. But he never came.“I would like to build an igloo.” Keesh said one day, “but I have no time. My job is hunting. So itwould be just if the men and women of the village who eat my meat, build my igloo.” And theigloo was built. It was even bigger than the igloo of the Chief Klosh-kwan.One day, Ugh-gluk talked to Keesh. “It is said that you hunt with evil spirits, and they help youkill the bear.”“Is not the meat good?” Keesh answered. “Has anyone in the village yet become sick aftereating it? How do you know evil spirits are with me? Or do you say it because I am a goodhunter?”Ugh-gluk had no answer.
The council sat up late talking about Keesh and the meat. They decided to spy on him.On Keesh’s next trip, two young hunters, Bim and Bawn, followed him. After five days, theyreturned. The council met to hear their story.“Brothers,” Bim said, “we followed Keesh, and he did not see us. The first day he came to agreat bear. Keesh shouted at the bear, loudly. The bear saw him and became angry. It rosehigh on its legs and growled. But Keesh walked up to it.”“We saw it,” Bawn, the other hunter, said. “The bear began to run toward Keesh. Keesh ranaway. But as he ran, he dropped a little round ball on the ice. The bear stopped and smelledthe ball, then ate it. Keesh continued to run, dropping more balls on the ice. The bear followedand ate the balls.”The council members listened to every word. Bim continued the story. “The bear suddenlystood up straight and began to shout in pain.“Evil spirits,” said Ugh-gluk.I do not know,” said Bawn. “I can tell only what my eyes saw. The bear grew weak. Then it satdown and pulled at its own fur with its sharp claws. Keesh watched the bear that whole day.”“For three more days, Keesh continued to watch the bear. It was getting weaker and weaker.Keesh moved carefully up to the bear and pushed his father’s spear into it.”“And then?” asked Klosh-kwan.“And then we left.”That afternoon, the council talked and talked. When Keesh arrived in the village, the councilsent a messenger to ask him to come to the meeting. But Keesh said he was tired and hungry.He said his igloo was big and could hold many people, if the council wanted a meeting.Klosh-kwan led the council to the igloo of Keesh. Keesh was eating, but he welcomed them.Klosh-kwan told Keesh that two hunters had seen him kill a bear. And then, in a serious voiceto Keesh, he said, “We want to know how you did it.” Did you use magic and witchcraft?”Keesh looked up and smiled. “No, Klosh-kwan. I am a boy. I know nothing of magic orwitchcraft. But I have found an easy way to kill the ice-bear. It is head-craft, not witchcraft.”“And will you tell us, O Keesh?” Klosh-kwan asked in a shaking voice.“I will tell you. It is very simple. Watch.”
Keesh picked up a thin piece of whale bone. The ends were pointed and sharp as a knife. Keeshbent the bone into a circle. Suddenly he let the bone go, and it became straight with a sharpsnap. He picked up a piece of seal meat.“So,” he said, “first make a circle with a sharp, thin piece of whale bone. Put the circle of boneinside some seal meat. Put it in the snow to freeze. The bear eats the ball of meat with thecircle of bone inside. When the meat gets inside the bear, the meat gets warm, and the bonegoes snap! The sharp points make the bear sick. It is easy to kill then. It is simple.”Ugh-gluk said, “Ohhh!” Klosh-kwan said “Ahh!” Each said something in his own way. And allunderstood.That is the story of Keesh, who lived long ago on the edge of the polar sea. Because he usedhead-craft, instead of witchcraft, he rose from the poorest igloo to be the chief in the village.And for all the years that followed, his people were happy. No one cried at night with pains ofhunger.
The Line of Least ResistanceMister Mindon returned home for lunch. His wife Millicent was not at home. The servantsdid not know where she was.Mister Mindon sat alone at the table in the garden. He ate a small piece of meat and dranksome mineral water. Mister Mindon always ate simple meals, because he had problems withhis stomach. Why then did he keep a cook among his servants? Because his wife Millicent likedto invite her friends to big dinners and serve them rare and expensive food and wine.Mister Mindon did not enjoy his wifes parties. Millicent complained that he did not know howto enjoy life. She did a lot of things that he did not like.Millicent wasted Mister Mindons money and was unpleasant to him. But he never got angrywith his wife.After eating, Mister Mindon took a walk through his house. He did not stay long in the livingroom. It reminded him of all the hours he had spent there at his wifes parties. The sight of theformal dining room made him feel even more uncomfortable. He remembered the longdinners where he had to talk to his wifes friends for hours. They never seemed very interestedin what he was saying.Mister Mindon walked quickly past the ballroom where his wife danced with her friends. Hewould go to bed after dinner. But he could hear the orchestra playing until three in themorning.Mister Mindon walked into the library. No one in the house ever read any of the books. ButMister Mindon was proud to be rich enough to have aperfectly useless room in his house.He went into the sunny little room where his wife plannedher busy days and evenings. Her writing table was coveredwith notes and cards from all her friends. Her wastepaperbasket was full of empty envelopes that had carriedinvitations to lunches, dinners, and theater parties.Mister Mindon saw a letter crushed into a small ball onthe floor. He bent to pick it up. Just as he was about to throw it into the wastepaper basket, henoticed that the letter was signed by his business partner, Thomas Antrim. But Antrims letterto Mister Mindons wife was not about business.As Mister Mindon read it, he felt as if his mind was spinning out of control. He sat down
heavily in the chair near his wifes little writing table.Now the room looked cold and unfamiliar. "Who are you?" the walls seemed to say. "Who amI?" Mister Mindon said in a loud voice. "Ill tell you who I am! I am the man who paid for everypiece of furniture in this room. If it were not for me and my money, this room would beempty!" Suddenly, Mister Mindon felt taller. He marched across his wifes room. It belonged tohim, didnt it? The house belonged to him, too. He felt powerful.He sat at the table and wrote a letter to Millicent. One of the servants came into the room."Did you call, sir?" he asked. "No," Mister Mindon replied. "But since you are here, pleasetelephone for a taxi cab at once."The taxi took him to a hotel near his bank. A clerk showed him to his room. It smelled of cheapsoap. The window in the room was open and hot noises came up from the street. MisterMindon looked at his watch. Four oclock. He wondered if Millicent had come home yet andread his letter.His head began to ache, and Mister Mindon lay down on the bed. When he woke up, it wasdark. He looked at his watch. Eight oclock. Millicent must be dressing for dinner. They weresupposed to go to Missus Targes house for dinner tonight. Well, Mister Mindon thought,Millicent would have to go alone. Maybe she would ask Thomas Antrim to take her to theparty!Mister Mindon realized he was hungry. He left his room and walked down the stairs to thehotel dining room. The air -- smelling of coffee and fried food -- wrapped itself around hishead.Mister Mindon could not eat much of the food that the hotel waiter brought him. He wentback to his room, feeling sick. He also felt hot and dirty in the clothing he had worn all day. Hehad never realized how much he loved his home!Someone knocked at his door. Mister Mindon jumped to his feet. "Mindon?" a voice asked."Are you there?" Mister Mindon recognized that voice. It belonged to Laurence Meysy. Thirtyyears ago, Meysy had been very popular with women -- especially with other mens wives. As ayoung man he had interfered in many marriages. Now, in his old age, Laurence Meysy hadbecome a kind of "marriage doctor.” He helped husbands and wives save their marriages.Mister Mindon began to feel better as soon as Laurence Meysy walked into his hotel room.Two men followed him. One was Mister Mindons rich uncle, Ezra Brownrigg. The other wasthe Reverend Doctor Bonifant, the minister of Saint Lukes church where Mister Mindon andhis family prayed every Sunday.Mister Mindon looked at the three men and felt very proud that they had come to help him.For the first time in his married life, Mister Mindon felt as important as his wife Millicent.
Laurence Meysy sat on the edge of the bed and lit a cigarette. "Misses Mindon sent for me,"he said. Mister Mindon could not help feeling proud of Millicent. She had done the right thing.Meysy continued. "She showed me your letter. She asks you for mercy." Meysy paused, andthen said: "The poor woman is very unhappy. And we have come here to ask you what youplan to do."Now Mister Mindon began to feel uncomfortable. "To do?" he asked. "To do? Well…I, I planto…to leave her."Meysy stopped smoking his cigarette. "Do you want to divorce her?" he asked."Why, yes! Yes!" Mister Mindon replied.Meysy knocked the ashes from his cigarette. "Are you absolutely sure that you want to dothis?" he asked.Mister Mindon nodded his head. "I plan to divorce her," he said loudly.Mister Mindon began to feel very excited. It was the first time he had ever had so many peoplesitting and listening to him. He told his audience everything, beginning with his discovery of hiswifes love affair with his business partner, and ending with his complaints about her expensivedinner parties.His uncle looked at his watch. Doctor Bonifant began to stare out of the hotel window. Meysystood up. "Do you plan to dishonor yourself then?" he asked. "No one knows what hashappened. You are the only one who can reveal the secret. You will make yourself lookfoolish.”Mister Mindon tried to rise. But he fell back weakly. The three men picked up their hats. Inanother moment, they would be gone. When they left, Mister Mindon would lose hisaudience, and his belief in himself and his decision. "I wont leave for New York untiltomorrow," he whispered. Laurence Meysy smiled."Tomorrow will be too late," he said. "Tomorrow everyone will know you are here." Meysyopened the hotel room door. Mister Brownrigg and Doctor Bonifant walked out of the room.Meysy turned to follow them, when he felt Mister Mindons hand grab his arm. "I…I will comewith you," Mister Mindon sighed. "Its…its…for the children." Laurence Meysy nodded asMister Mindon walked out of the room. He closed the door gently.