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Funny Fairy Tales by Ambrose Bierce

A Treaty of Peace

THROUGH massacres of each other's citizens China and the United
States had been four times plunged into devastating wars, when, in
the year 1994, arose a Philosopher in Madagascar, who laid before
the Governments of the two distracted countries the following MODUS

'Massacres are to be sternly forbidden as heretofore; but any
citizen or subject of either country disobeying the injunction is
to detach the scalps of all persons massacred and deposit them with
a local officer designated to receive and preserve them and sworn
to keep and render a true account thereof. At the conclusion of
each massacre in either country, or as soon thereafter as
practicable, or at stated regular periods, as may be provided by
treaty, there shall be an exchange of scalps between the two
Governments, scalp for scalp, without regard to sex or age; the
Government having the greatest number is to be taxed on the excess
at the rate of $1000 a scalp, and the other Government credited
with the amount. Once in every decade there shall be a general
settlement, when the balance due shall be paid to the creditor
nation in Mexican dollars.'

The plan was adopted, the necessary treaty made, with legislation
to carry out its provisions; the Madagascarene Philosopher took his
seat in the Temple of Immortality, and Peace spread her white wings
over the two nations, to the unspeakable defiling of her plumage.

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