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Funny Fairy Tales by Ambrose Bierce

The Noser and the Note

THE Head Rifler of an insolvent bank, learning that it was about to
be visited by the official Noser into Things, placed his own
personal note for a large amount among its resources, and, gaily
touching his guitar, awaited the inspection. When the Noser came
to the note he asked, 'What's this?'

'That,' said the Assistant Pocketer of Deposits, 'is one of our

'A liability?' exclaimed the Noser. 'Nay, nay, an asset. That is
what you mean, doubtless.'

'Therein you err,' the Pocketer explained; 'that note was written
in the bank with our own pen, ink, and paper, and we have not paid
a stationery bill for six months.'

'Ah, I see,' the Noser said, thoughtfully; 'it is a liability. May
I ask how you expect to meet it?'

'With fortitude, please God,' answered the Assistant Pocketer, his
eyes to Heaven raising - 'with fortitude and a firm reliance on the
laxity of the law.'

'Enough, enough,' exclaimed the faithful servant of the State,
choking with emotion; 'here is a certificate of solvency.'

'And here is a bottle of ink,' the grateful financier said,
slipping it into the other's pocket; 'it is all that we have.'

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