Forty Modern Fables, by George Ade, , at sacred-texts.com
DOWN in the Ague Belt there was a town called Miasma. It needed Paint, Sidewalks, Tooth-Brushes and Bibles.
Everybody in Miasma believed that the Sun rose just in the edge of Widow Clevison's Hog Lot and set over on yon side of the Sand Ridge. While the Residents were Standing around on the warm side of the General Store so as to get shut of the Daily Chill they would feel sorry for Folks who had to put up with Brooklyn and Old Point Comfort.
Now it happened that a Boston Biologist had been in those Parts collecting Amphibious Fauna. The Natives called them Varmints and Sarpentile Insects.
One Day the Biologist sat on a long-waisted Truck at the Station Platform and waited for the Train that was to carry him to some Place where he could get Beans properly cooked. He had his Satchel between his Legs and was reading the Numbers on the Freight Cars in order to entertain himself.
Presently a Native appeared and walked back and forth in front of the Boston Man. The Native had a Saffron Complexion and wore high-heeled Boots. Every time he stepped there was a muffled Castanet Effect caused by the Quinine Pellets. Every one in Miasma took Quinine, except the Boston Biologist and he took Quin-een.
The Native wore on and about his Person and somewhat exposed to View, a 48-Calibre Shooting-Iron, a Bowie Knife large enough for spading the Garden and several rows of Cartridges.
"I reckon we've got the purest Climate and the noblest People on God's Green Footstool," remarked the Native, pausing in front of the Biologist. "Don't say different or I may have to Gallop right through you."
"Life is very sweet to me," said the Boston Man. "I am just getting my Golf Score below 120. So I will not Contradict you. Only, I would like to ask."
"Come on with it," said the Native.
"I would like to ask, who held you while they strapped all those Chatelaine Effects on you?"
"I wear these Weepins in order to protect my Honor," replied Mr. Janders, for such was his name.
"Your Honor must be hard pushed if you have to tote such an Extensive Kit with which to defend it," observed the Boston Man.
"Well, I've got a Reputation that reaches up and down the Road," said Mr. Janders. "I've never been Curried below the Knees. I'm Long and Woolly. I've got seven or eight Fiery Nostrils and holes bored for more. I'm Pizen Ivy and can't be handled. I hate to talk about myself, but I must say I'm a Brave Little Man."
At that Moment the Train pulled in and the Boston Biologist hurried aboard, resuming the Conversation as he leaned out from the open Window of the Car.
"You say you are a Brave Man?" he asked.
"You heerd me," replied the Native, picking his Teeth with the Bowie.
"What is your Definition of a Brave Man?" asked the Biologist.
"A Brave Man is one who is not afeerd to Die," answered Mr. Janders.
"Therefore I judge that you are not afraid to depart from Miasma and take your Chances," said the Biologist. "How long have you lived here?"
"Twenty-seven Years," was the Reply.
The Boston Man looked across the Street at the dun-colored Hotel propped up by a comatose Livery Stable. Near at hand was a Pool of Green Water within which the Bacilli were croaking loudly. The Sky-Line was a row of red clay Hills pin-feathered with Saplings. A brackish Odor of Moonshine Whiskey tingled in the warm Air, and over the whole dejected Landscape lay a soft Pall of the real, Simon-Pure Malaria-the kind that can be put up in Tins and sent from Place to Place.
"You have lived here twenty-seven Years and you are not afraid to Die," said the Boston Man, reflectively. "I don't blame you. If I had lived here for twenty-seven Years I would not be afraid to Die, either. In fact, I think I'd be downright Anxious to Die."
But the crafty Biologist did not release this Body Blow until he was good and sure that the Train had started to move.
The infuriated Native had to take his chances with a moving Target, so instead of plunking the Man from Boston, he made a Wing Shot on a State Senator who was riding on a Pass.
Still, it was taking an Awful Chance.
MORAL: Home is where the Heart is.