XX Category: Ambrose Bierce

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Parker Adderson, Philosopher

“Prisoner, what is your name?”

“As I am to lose it at daylight to-morrow morning it is hardly worth while concealing it. Parker Adderson.”

“Your rank?”

“A somewhat humble one; commissioned officers are too precious to be risked in the perilous business of a spy. I am a sergeant.”

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An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

A man stood upon a railroad bridge in northern Alabama, looking down into the swift water twenty feet below. The man’s hands were behind his back, the wrists bound with a cord. A rope closely encircled his neck. It was attached to a stout cross-timber above his head and the slack fell to the level of his knees.

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The Crimson Candle

Part 176 of total 177 stories in series Fantastic Fables.

A man lying at the point of death called his wife to his bedside and said:

“I am about to leave you forever; give me, therefore, one last proof of your affection and fidelity, for, according to our holy religion, a married man seeking admittance at the gate of Heaven is required to

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The Blotted Escutcheon and the Soiled Ermine

Part 175 of total 177 stories in series Fantastic Fables.

A Blotted Escutcheon, rising to a question of privilege, said:

“Mr. Speaker, I wish to hurl back an allegation and explain that the spots upon me are the natural markings of one who is a direct descendant of the sun and a spotted fawn. They come of no accident of character, but inhere in the divine order and constitution of things.”

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The Ingenious Patriot

Part 174 of total 177 stories in series Fantastic Fables.

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.

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Two Kings

Part 173 of total 177 stories in series Fantastic Fables.

The King of Madagao, being engaged in a dispute with the King of Bornegascar, wrote him as follows:

“Before proceeding further in this matter I demand the recall of your Minister from my capital.”

Greatly enraged by this impossible demand, the King of Bornegascar replied:

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An Officer and a Thug

Part 172 of total 177 stories in series Fantastic Fables.

A Chief of Police who had seen an Officer beating a Thug was very indignant, and said he must not do so any more on pain of dismissal.

“Don’t be too hard on me,” said the Officer, smiling; “I was beating him with a stuffed club.”

“Nevertheless,” persisted the Chief of Police, “it was a liberty that must have been very disagreeable,

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The Conscientious Official

Part 171 of total 177 stories in series Fantastic Fables.

While a Division Superintendent of a railway was attending closely to his business of placing obstructions on the track and tampering with the switches he received word that the President of the road was about to discharge him for incompetency.

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How Leisure Came

Part 170 of total 177 stories in series Fantastic Fables.

A Man to Whom Time Was Money, and who was bolting his breakfast in order to catch a train, had leaned his newspaper against the sugar-bowl and was reading as he ate. In his haste and abstraction he stuck a pickle-fork into his right eye, and on removing the fork the eye came with it.

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The Moral Sentiment

Part 169 of total 177 stories in series Fantastic Fables.

A Pugilist met the Moral Sentiment of the Community, who was carrying a hat-box. “What have you in the hat-box, my friend?” inquired the Pugilist.

“A new frown,” was the answer. “I am bringing it from the frownery—the one over there with the gilded steeple.”

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The Politicians

Part 168 of total 177 stories in series Fantastic Fables.

An Old Politician and a Young Politician were travelling through a beautiful country, by the dusty highway which leads to the City of Prosperous Obscurity. Lured by the flowers and the shade and charmed by the songs of birds which invited to woodland paths and green fields,

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