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Famous Stories

Other Wise Men Of Gotham
One day, news was brought to Gotham that the king was comin...

Sir Walter Raleigh
There once lived in England a brave and noble man whose nam...

The Brave Three Hundred
All Greece was in danger. A mighty army, led by the great K...

The Sons Of William The Conqueror
There was once a great king of England who was called Wil-l...

There was a great battle at sea. One could hear nothing but...

The Sword Of Damocles
There was once a king whose name was Di-o-nys'i-us. He was ...

The Ungrateful Soldier
Here is another story of the bat-tle-field, and it is much ...

Cornelia's Jewels
It was a bright morning in the old city of Rome many hundre...

The Bell Of Atri
A-tri is the name of a little town in It-a-ly. It is a very...

The Story Of Cincinnatus
There was a man named Cin-cin-na'tus who lived on a little ...

Many years ago there was a poor gentleman shut up in one of...

There was once a very brave man whose name was John Smith. ...

The Blind Men And The Elephant
There were once six blind men who stood by the road-side ev...

King Canute On The Seashore
A hundred years or more after the time of Alfred the Great ...

Damon And Pythias
A young man whose name was Pyth'i-as had done something whi...

Whittington And His Cat
The City There was once a little boy whose name was Rich...

Maximilian And The Goose Boy
One summer day King Max-i-mil'ian of Ba-va'ri-a was walking...

The Story Of Regulus
On the other side of the sea from Rome there was once a gre...

The Endless Tale
In the Far East there was a great king who had no work to d...

The White Ship
King Henry, the Handsome Scholar, had one son, named Willia...


One day, news was brought to Gotham that the king was coming that way,
and that he would pass through the town. This did not please the men
of Gotham at all. They hated the king, for they knew that he was a
cruel, bad man. If he came to their town, they would have to find food
and lodg-ing for him and his men; and if he saw anything that pleased
him, he would be sure to take it for his own. What should they do?

They met together to talk the matter over.

"Let us chop down the big trees in the woods, so that they will block
up all the roads that lead into the town," said one of the wise men.

"Good!" said all the rest.

So they went out with their axes, and soon all the roads and paths to
the town were filled with logs and brush. The king's horse-men would
have a hard time of it getting into Gotham. They would either have to
make a new road, or give up the plan al-to-geth-er, and go on to some
other place.

When the king came, and saw that the road had been blocked up, he was
very angry.

"Who chopped those trees down in my way?" he asked of two country lads
that were passing by.

"The men of Gotham," said the lads.

"Well," said the king, "go and tell the men of Gotham that I shall
send my sher-iff into their town, and have all their noses cut off."

The two lads ran to the town as fast as they could, and made known
what the king had said.

Every-body was in great fright. The men ran from house to house,
carrying the news, and asking one another what they should do.

"Our wits have kept the king out of the town," said one; "and so now
our wits must save our noses."

"True, true!" said the others. "But what shall we do?"

Then one, whose name was Dobbin, and who was thought to be the wisest
of them all, said, "Let me tell you something. Many a man has been
punished because he was wise, but I have never heard of any one being
harmed because he was a fool. So, when the king's sher-iff comes, let
us all act like fools."

"Good, good!" cried the others. "We will all act like fools."

It was no easy thing for the king's men to open the roads; and while
they were doing it, the king grew tired of waiting, and went back to
London. But very early one morning, the sheriff with a party of fierce
soldiers rode through the woods, and between the fields, toward
Gotham. Just before they reached the town, they saw a queer sight. The
old men were rolling big stones up the hill, and all the young men
were looking on, and grunting very loudly.

The sheriff stopped his horses, and asked what they were doing.

"We are rolling stones up-hill to make the sun rise," said one of the
old men.

"You foolish fellow!" said the sheriff. "Don't you know that the sun
will rise without any help?"

"Ah! will it?" said the old man. "Well, I never thought of that. How
wise you are!"

"And what are _you_ doing?" said the sheriff to the young men.

"Oh, we do the grunting while our fathers do the working," they

"I see," said the sheriff. "Well, that is the way the world goes
every-where." And he rode on toward the town.

He soon came to a field where a number of men were building a stone

"What are you doing?" he asked.

"Why, master," they answered, "there is a cuck-oo in this field, and
we are building a wall around it so as to keep the bird from straying

"You foolish fellows!" said the sheriff. "Don't you know that the bird
will fly over the top of your wall, no matter how high you build it?"

"Why, no," they said. "We never thought of that. How very wise you

The sheriff next met a man who was carrying a door on his back.

"What are you doing?" he asked.

"I have just started on a long jour-ney," said the man.

"But why do you carry that door?" asked the sheriff.

"I left my money at home."

"Then why didn't you leave the door at home too?"

"I was afraid of thieves; and you see, if I have the door with me,
they can't break it open and get in."

"You foolish fellow!" said the sheriff. "It would be safer to leave
the door at home, and carry the money with you."

"Ah, would it, though?" said the man. "Now, I never thought of that.
You are the wisest man that I ever saw."

Then the sheriff rode on with his men; but every one that they met was
doing some silly thing.

"Truly I believe that the people of Gotham are all fools," said one of
the horsemen.

"That is true," said another. "It would be a shame to harm such simple

"Let us ride back to London, and tell the king all about them," said
the sheriff.

"Yes, let us do so," said the horsemen.

So they went back, and told the king that Gotham was a town of fools;
and the king laughed, and said that if that was the case, he would not
harm them, but would let them keep their noses.



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