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Funny Fairy Tales by Ambrose Bierce

The Prerogative of Might

A SLANDER travelling rapidly through the land upon its joyous
mission was accosted by a Retraction and commanded to halt and be
killed.

'Your career of mischief is at an end,' said the Retraction,
drawing his club, rolling up his sleeves, and spitting on his
hands.

'Why should you slay me?' protested the Slander. 'Whatever my
intentions were, I have been innocuous, for you have dogged my
strides and counteracted my influence.'

'Dogged your grandmother!' said the Retraction, with contemptuous
vulgarity of speech. 'In the order of nature it is appointed that
we two shall never travel the same road.'

'How then,' the Slander asked, triumphantly, 'have you overtaken
me?'

'I have not,' replied the Retraction; 'we have accidentally met. I
came round the world the other way.'

But when he tried to execute his fell purpose he found that in the
order of nature it was appointed that he himself perish miserably
in the encounter.


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