The Persistence Of Vision

There was once a little man, a man of short stature and quick to temper, who lived somewhere in the suburbs of London, weathering cold weather or a hot summer without smile or frown. He had a quick and crisp moustache so fiendishly red that it frightened away the children who wandered into his wide front-yard, and they would run and they would run lest he spot them trampling his leaves. The neighbours did not know much about him nor did they have any complaint, and the little man kept his house and his nose quite clean. While he wished they would only leave him alone and not suffer the pains of company, he would decline tea and biscuits completely politely.

Once it so happened that, returning from the grocer an evening, an old man walking the other way tipped his hat at him, and the little man was overcome by a sudden but freakish curiosity, and so stepped up to enquire: “Good evening, sir!”, quoth he, “The sun is too high in the sky although August is nigh gone. When is winter to come?” In reply said the old man: “Good evening, sir, to you! The chap on the radio said winter would be here, quite strong and bleak, before the week after is done!” The little man thanked and set off once more, thinking of the weather to himself when the old man called: “Have a day as wonderful as you are, sir!” The little man, now, he was swift to anger, and turning back, he called in reply: “Why, sir, why! What have I said to earn that curse? What have I spoken to deserve something as terse?” The old man knew not what dragon he had poked and stood so still as to surprise winter before it arrived. In receiving only silence, the little man finished: “As wonderful as I am, you say to me, but the town knows, oh, the world knows, I am no wonderful man but as devilish as they come to be! Lest you fear anything, sir, let us have it clear. Speak not to me again for a madness is here. My madness of your futile attempts at persistence is here.”

All those who wander are not lost

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