An excellent peasant,
Of character pleasant,
Once lived in a hut with his wife.
He was cheerful and docile,
But such an old fossil
You wouldn’t meet twice in your life.
His notions were all without reason or rhyme,
Such dullness in any one else were a crime,
But the folly pig-headed
To which he was wedded
Was so deep imbedded,
it touched the sublime!
He frequently stated
Such quite antiquated
And singular doctrines as these:
“Do good unto others!
All men are your brothers!”
(Of course he forgot the Chinese!)
He said that all men were made equal and free,
(That’s true if they’re born on our side of the sea!)
That truth should be spoken,
And pledges unbroken:
(Now where, by that token,
would most of us be?)
One day, as his pottage
He ate in his cottage,
A fairy stepped up to the door;
Upon it she hammered,
And meekly she stammered:
“A morsel of food I implore.”
He gave her sardines, and a biscuit or two,
And she said in reply, when her luncheon was through,
“In return for these dishes
Of bread and of fishes
The first of your wishes
I’ll make to come true!”
That nincompoop peasant
Accepted the present,
(As most of us probably would,)
And, thinking her bounty
To turn to account, he
Said: “Now I’ll do somebody good!
I won’t ask a thing for myself or my wife,
But I’ll make all my neighbors with happiness rife.
Whate’er their conditions,
they’re rid of for life!”
These words energetic
The fairy’s prophetic
Announcement brought instantly true:
With singular quickness
Each victim of sickness
Was made over, better than new,
And people who formerly thought they were doomed
With almost obstreperous healthiness bloomed,
And each had some platitude,
Teeming with gratitude,
For the new attitude
life had assumed.
Our friend’s satisfaction
Concerning his action
Was keen, but exceedingly brief.
The wrathful condition
Of every physician
In town was surpassing belief!
Professional nurses were plunged in despair,
And chemists shook passionate fists in the air:
They called at his dwelling,
With violence swelling,
His greeting repelling
with arrogant stare.
They beat and they battered,
They slammed and they shattered,
And did him such serious harm,
That, after their labors,
His wife told the neighbors
They’d caused her excessive alarm!
They then set to work on his various ills,
And plied him with liniments, powders, and pills,
And charged him so dearly
That all of them nearly
Made double the yearly
amount of their bills.
This Moral by the tale is taught:–
The wish is father to the thought.
(We’d oftentimes escape the worst
If but the thinking part came first!)
(Guy Wetmore Carryl)
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