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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
By Maarten Maartens (J. M. W. van der Poorten Schwartz) (1858–1915)
From ‘God’s Fool’

THERE was a man once—a satirist. In the natural course of time his friends slew him, and he died. And the people came and stood about his corpse. “He treated the whole round world as his football,” they said indignantly, “and he kicked it.” The dead man opened one eye. “But always toward the Goal,” he said.  1
  There was a man once—a naturalist. And one day he found a lobster upon the sands of time. Society is a lobster: it crawls backwards. “How black it is!” said the naturalist. And he put it in a little pan over the hot fire of his wit. “It will turn red,” he said. But it didn’t. That was its shamelessness.  2
  There was a man once—a logician. He picked up a little clay ball upon the path of life. “It is a perfect little globe,” said his companions. But the logician saw that it was not perfectly, mathematically round. And he took it in his hands and rubbed it between them softly. “Don’t rub so hard,” said his companions. And at last he desisted, and looked down upon it. It was not a bit rounder, only pushed out of shape. And he looked at his hands. They were very dirty.  3
  There was a man once—a poet. He went wandering through the streets of the city, and he met a disciple. “Come out with me,” said the poet, “for a walk in the sand-dunes.” And they went. But ere they had progressed many stages, said the disciple, “There is nothing here but sand.”—“To what did I invite you?” asked the poet.—“To a walk in the sand-dunes.”—“Then do not complain,” said the poet. “Yet even so your words are untrue. There is heaven above. Do you not see it? The fault is not heaven’s. Nor the sand’s.”  4

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