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

That pleases me, and I study to be useful to him in every way I can,

so as to increase his regard. During the last day or two I

have taken all the work of naming things off his hands, and this

has been a great relief to him, for he has no gift in that line,

and is evidently very grateful. He can’t think of a rational name

to save him, but I do not let him see that I am aware of his defect.

Whenever a new creature comes along I name it before he has time

to expose himself by an awkward silence. In this way I have

saved him many embarrassments. I have no defect like this.

The minute I set eyes on an animal I know what it is. I don’t

have to reflect a moment; the right name comes out instantly,

just as if it were an inspiration, as no doubt it is, for I am

sure it wasn’t in me half a minute before. I seem to know just

by the shape of the creature and the way it acts what animal

it is.

When the dodo came along he thought it was a wildcat–I saw it

in his eye. But I saved him. And I was careful not to do it

in a way that could hurt his pride. I just spoke up in a quite

natural way of pleasing surprise, and not as if I was dreaming

of conveying information, and said, “Well, I do declare, if there

isn’t the dodo!” I explained–without seeming to be explaining–

how I know it for a dodo, and although I thought maybe he was

a little piqued that I knew the creature when he didn’t, it was

quite evident that he admired me. That was very agreeable, and I

thought of it more than once with gratification before I slept.

How little a thing can make us happy when we feel that we have

earned it!

THURSDAY.–my first sorrow. Yesterday he avoided me and seemed

to wish I would not talk to him. I could not believe it,

and thought there was some mistake, for I loved to be with him,

and loved to hear him talk, and so how could it be that he could

feel unkind toward me when I had not done anything? But at last it

seemed true, so I went away and sat lonely in the place where I first

saw him the morning that we were made and I did not know what he

was and was indifferent about him; but now it was a mournful place,

and every little think spoke of him, and my heart was very sore.

I did not know why very clearly, for it was a new feeling; I had

not experienced it before, and it was all a mystery, and I could

not make it out.

But when night came I could not bear the lonesomeness, and went

to the new shelter which he has built, to ask him what I had done

that was wrong and how I could mend it and get back his kindness again;

but he put me out in the rain, and it was my first sorrow.

SUNDAY.–It is pleasant again, now, and I am happy; but those were

heavy days; I do not think of them when I can help it.

I tried to get him some of those apples, but I cannot learn to

throw straight. I failed, but I think the good intention pleased him.

They are forbidden, and he says I shall come to harm; but so I

come to harm through pleasing him, why shall I care for that harm?

MONDAY.–This morning I told him my name, hoping it would interest him.

But he did not care for it. It is strange. If he should tell me

his name, I would care. I think it would be pleasanter in my ears

than any other sound.

He talks very little. Perhaps it is because he is not bright,

and is sensitive about it and wishes to conceal it. It is

such a pity that he should feel so, for brightness is nothing;

it is in the heart that the values lie. I wish I could make him

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Categories: Twain, Mark