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Funny Fairy Tales by Ambrose Bierce

The Moral Principle and the Material Interest

A MORAL Principle met a Material Interest on a bridge wide enough
for but one.

'Down, you base thing!' thundered the Moral Principle, 'and let me
pass over you!'

The Material Interest merely looked in the other's eyes without
saying anything.

'Ah,' said the Moral Principle, hesitatingly, 'let us draw lots to
see which shall retire till the other has crossed.'

The Material Interest maintained an unbroken silence and an
unwavering stare.

'In order to avoid a conflict,' the Moral Principle resumed,
somewhat uneasily, 'I shall myself lie down and let you walk over
me.'

Then the Material Interest found a tongue, and by a strange
coincidence it was its own tongue. 'I don't think you are very
good walking,' it said. 'I am a little particular about what I
have underfoot. Suppose you get off into the water.'

It occurred that way.

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