Ambrose Bierce Weighs In


A comment by Notellin reminded WC of a couple of Ambrose Bierce stories that are on point:

His Fly-Speck Majesty

A Distinguished Advocate of Republican Institutions was seen pickling his shins in the ocean.

“Why don’t you come out on dry land?” said the Spectator. “What are you in there for?”

“Sir,” replied the Distinguished Advocate of Republican Institutions, “a ship is expected, bearing His Majesty the King of the Fly-Speck Islands, and I wish to be the first to grasp the crowned hand.”

“But,” said the Spectator, “you said in your famous speech before the Society for the Prevention of the Protrusion of Nail Heads from Plank Sidewalks that Kings were blood-smeared oppressors and hell-bound loafers.”

“My dear sir,” said the Distinguished Advocate of Republican Institutions, without removing his eyes from the horizon, “you wander away into the strangest irrelevancies! I spoke of Kings in the abstract.”

The Seeker and the Sought

A Politician seeing a fat Turkey which he wanted for dinner, baited a hook with a grain of corn and dragged it before the fowl at the end of a long and almost invisible line. When the Turkey had swallowed the hook, the Politician ran, drawing the creature after him.

“Fellow-citizens,” he cried, addressing some turkey-breeders whom he met, “you observe that the man does not seek the bird, but the bird seeks the man. For this unsolicited and unexpected dinner I thank you with all my heart.”