THE $30,000 BEQUEST and Other Stories by Mark Twain

comes out of the places in her face that she looks out of, and she

pats the fish on the back and makes soft sounds with her mouth

to soothe it, and betrays sorrow and solicitude in a hundred ways.

I have never seen her do like this with any other fish, and it

troubles me greatly. She used to carry the young tigers around so,

and play with them, before we lost our property, but it was only play;

she never took on about them like this when their dinner disagreed

with them.

SUNDAY.–She doesn’t work, Sundays, but lies around all tired out,

and likes to have the fish wallow over her; and she makes fool

noises to amuse it, and pretends to chew its paws, and that makes

it laugh. I have not seen a fish before that could laugh.

This makes me doubt. . . . I have come to like Sunday myself.

Superintending all the week tires a body so. There ought to be

more Sundays. In the old days they were tough, but now they

come handy.

WEDNESDAY.–It isn’t a fish. I cannot quite make out what it is.

It makes curious devilish noises when not satisfied, and says “goo-goo”

when it is. It is not one of us, for it doesn’t walk; it is not

a bird, for it doesn’t fly; it is not a frog, for it doesn’t hop;

it is not a snake, for it doesn’t crawl; I feel sure it is not a fish,

though I cannot get a chance to find out whether it can swim or not.

It merely lies around, and mostly on its back, with its feet up.

I have not seen any other animal do that before. I said I believed it

was an enigma; but she only admired the word without understanding it.

In my judgment it is either an enigma or some king of a bug.

If it dies, I will take it apart and see what its arrangements are.

I never had a thing perplex me so.

THREE MONTHS LATER.–The perplexity augments instead of diminishing.

I sleep but little. It has ceased from lying around, and goes about on

its four legs now. Yet it differs from the other four legged animals,

in that its front legs are unusually short, consequently this

causes the main part of its person to stick up uncomfortably high

in the air, and this is not attractive. It is built much as we are,

but its method of traveling shows that it is not of our breed.

The short front legs and long hind ones indicate that it is a of

the kangaroo family, but it is a marked variation of that species,

since the true kangaroo hops, whereas this one never does.

Still it is a curious and interesting variety, and has not been

catalogued before. As I discovered it, I have felt justified

in securing the credit of the discovery by attaching my name to it,

and hence have called it KANGAROORUM ADAMIENSIS. . . . It must have

been a young one when it came, for it has grown exceedingly since.

It must be five times as big, now, as it was then, and when

discontented it is able to make from twenty-two to thirty-eight times

the noise it made at first. Coercion does not modify this, but has

the contrary effect. For this reason I discontinued the system.

She reconciles it by persuasion, and by giving it things which she

had previously told me she wouldn’t give it. As already observed,

I was not at home when it first came, and she told me she found it

in the woods. It seems odd that it should be the only one, yet it

must be so, for I have worn myself out these many weeks trying to find

another one to add to my collection, and for this to play with;

for surely then it would be quieter and we could tame it more easily.

But I find none, nor any vestige of any; and strangest of all,

no tracks. It has to live on the ground, it cannot help itself;

therefore, how does it get about without leaving a track?

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Categories: Twain, Mark