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

couldn’t give it up. She thought we could start a dairy with it,

and wanted me to help milk it; but I wouldn’t; it was too risky.

The sex wasn’t right, and we hadn’t any ladder anyway. Then she

wanted to ride it, and look at the scenery. Thirty or forty feet

of its tail was lying on the ground, like a fallen tree, and she

thought she could climb it, but she was mistaken; when she got

to the steep place it was too slick and down she came, and would

have hurt herself but for me.

Was she satisfied now? No. Nothing ever satisfies her but demonstration;

untested theories are not in her line, and she won’t have them.

It is the right spirit, I concede it; it attracts me; I feel the

influence of it; if I were with her more I think I should take it

up myself. Well, she had one theory remaining about this colossus:

she thought that if we could tame it and make him friendly we could

stand in the river and use him for a bridge. It turned out that he

was already plenty tame enough–at least as far as she was concerned–

so she tried her theory, but it failed: every time she got him

properly placed in the river and went ashore to cross over him,

he came out and followed her around like a pet mountain. Like the

other animals. They all do that.

FRIDAY.–Tuesday–Wednesday–Thursday–and today: all without

seeing him. It is a long time to be alone; still, it is better

to be alone than unwelcome.

I HAD to have company–I was made for it, I think–so I made

friends with the animals. They are just charming, and they have

the kindest disposition and the politest ways; they never look sour,

they never let you feel that you are intruding, they smile at you

and wag their tail, if they’ve got one, and they are always ready

for a romp or an excursion or anything you want to propose.

I think they are perfect gentlemen. All these days we have had such

good times, and it hasn’t been lonesome for me, ever. Lonesome! No,

I should say not. Why, there’s always a swarm of them around–

sometimes as much as four or five acres–you can’t count them;

and when you stand on a rock in the midst and look out over the

furry expanse it is so mottled and splashed and gay with color

and frisking sheen and sun-flash, and so rippled with stripes,

that you might think it was a lake, only you know it isn’t;

and there’s storms of sociable birds, and hurricanes of whirring wings;

and when the sun strikes all that feathery commotion, you have a blazing

up of all the colors you can think of, enough to put your eyes out.

We have made long excursions, and I have see a great deal of the world;

almost all of it, I think; and so I am the first traveler,

and the only one. When we are on the march, it is an imposing sight–

there’s nothing like it anywhere. For comfort I ride a tiger

or a leopard, because it is soft and has a round back that fits me,

and because they are such pretty animals; but for long distance

or for scenery I ride the elephant. He hoists me up with his trunk,

but I can get off myself; when we are ready to camp, he sits and I

slide down the back way.

The birds and animals are all friendly to each other, and there

are no disputes about anything. They all talk, and they all talk

to me, but it must be a foreign language, for I cannot make out

a word they say; yet they often understand me when I talk back,

particularly the dog and the elephant. It makes me ashamed.

It shows that they are brighter than I am, for I want to be the

principal Experiment myself–and I intend to be, too.

I have learned a number of things, and am educated, now, but I

wasn’t at first. I was ignorant at first. At first it used to vex

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Categories: Twain, Mark