Nonfiction > Lionel Strachey, et al., eds. > The World’s Wit and Humor > Russian, Scandinavian, etc.
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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes.  1906.
Vol. XIV: Russian—Scandinavian—Miscellaneous
 
Beneficence and Gratitude
By Ivan Turgenev (1818–1883)
 
From “Poems in Prose”

ONE day the Supreme Being took it into His head to give a great banquet in His azure palace.
  1
  All the virtues were invited. Men He did not ask—only ladies.  2
  There was a large number of them, great and small. The lesser virtues were more agreeable and genial than the great ones; but they all appeared to be in good-humor, and chatted amiably together, as was only becoming for near relations and friends.  3
  But the Supreme Being noticed two charming ladies who seemed to be totally unacquainted.  4
  The Host gave one of the ladies His arm, and led her up to the other.  5
  “Beneficence!” He said, indicating the first.  6
  “Gratitude!” He added, indicating the second.  7
  Both the virtues were amazed beyond expression. Ever since the world had stood—and it had been standing a long time—this was the first time they had met.  8
 
 
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