Title: Further Fables for Our Time Author: Thurber, James Grover () Date of first has lighted our time, so that we can see where. Further Fables for Our Time has ratings and 13 reviews. Eleanor said: Anyone who has ever read anything by Thurber knows that he is perfect. If you h.. . Fables for Our Time and Famous Poems Illustrated has ratings and 30 reviews. Susan said: The world’s a fine and terrible place. Thurber approaches it.. .
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A pair of gibbous creatures, who had lived in the sea since time began, which hadn’t been long before, were washed upon the shore one day and became the discoverers of land. In the female, lying thurbeg the sand in the sun, a dim intuition and prescience began developing.
She prefigured mistily things that would one day become rose-point lace and taffeta, sweet perfumes and jewelry. The male, who had a feeling only for wetness and wash, mumbled, “You’re a little moist for things like that, a little moist and shapeless.
But the male had globbed back into the sea, and was gone. A couple of eons later, the male, unable to get along alone, reappeared one day upon the shore. He noted with faint satisfaction that the female’s shapelessness was beginning to take [Pg 3] shape and had become afbles shapely.
He thuber back toward the sea, but a mindless urge deep inside him took on the frail flicker of desire. Suddenly the sea seemed something less than satisfying. He turned about and began flobbering up the sand toward the female, who seemed certain to reach the greening undergrowth in another two thousand years.
Let us ponder this basic fact about the human: Ahead of every man, not behind him, is a woman. One midsummer night at the Fauna Club, some of the members fell to boasting, each of his own unique distinction or achievement. The Mouse got into the act. The members of the Fauna Club stared at the timr. I have a precious jewel [Pg 7] in my head. They summoned the Woodpecker from the back room and explained what was up.
There wasn’t anything there, gleaming or lovely or precious. The bartender turned out the lights, the Rooster crowed, the sun came jamee, and the members of the Fauna Club went silently home to bed. Open timr heads and you will find nothing shining, not even a mind.
A phoebe, bugwinner for a nestful of fledglings, flew out one day to provide dinner for his family, and came upon a ladybug in frantic flight. The phoebe, who had sometimes been guilty of wishing that his own house were on fire, let the ladybug fly away, and turned his attention to a beautiful butterfly. She who goes unarmed in Paradise should first be sure that’s where she is.
Such sport there had been that day, in the kitchen and the pantry, for the cat was away and the mice were playing all manner of games: Then the cat came home. The exception was an eccentric mouse named Mervyn, who had once boldly nipped [Pg 12] a bulldog in the ear and got away with it.
Mervyn did not know at the time, and never found out, that the bulldog was a stuffed bulldog, and so he lived in a fool’s paradise. The day the cat, whose name was Pouncetta, came back from wherever she had been, she was astonished to encounter Mervyn in the butler’s pantry, nonchalantly nibbling crumbs.
Further Fables for Our Time by James Thurber
She crept toward him in her stocking feet and was astounded when he turned, spit a fable in her eye, and began insulting her with a series of insults.
This mouse is probably a martyr mouse. He has swallowed poison jqmes the hope that I will eat him and die, so that he can be a hero to a hundred generations of his descendants.
Mervyn looked over his shoulder at the startled and suspicious cat and began to mock her in a mousetto voice. Then he did some other imitations, including a tiime good one of W. If I jump on it, it will explode and blow me into a hundred pieces. Damned clever, these mice, but not clever enough for me. But Pouncetta did not pounce, jamez spite of the insult unforgivable. Instead, she turned and stalked out of the butler’s pantry and into the sitting room and lay down on her pillow near the fireplace and went to sleep.
When Mervyn got back to his home in the [Pg 14] woodwork, his father and mother and brothers and sisters and cousins and uncles and aunts were surprised to see him alive and well.
There was great jollity, and the finest cheese was served at a family banquet. I could take on all the cats in the Catskills. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread, and the angels are all in Heaven, but few of the fools are dead. In a country garden a lovely rose looked down upon a common weed and said, “You are an unwelcome guest, economically useless, and unsightly of appearance.
The Devil must love weeds, he made so many of them. The unwelcome guest looked up at the rose and said, “Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds, and, one supposes, that goes for roses. The names of weeds are ugly. The rose drew herself up to her full height.
I’ve seen it happen many times, to roses of yesteryear, long gone and long forgotten. The lines are too sweet for your ears, but I will tell you some. Just then, and before Miss Perkins could recite, a wind came out of the west, riding low to the ground and swift, like the cavalry of March, and Dorothy Perkins’ beautiful disdain suddenly became a scattering of petals, economically useless, and of appearance not especially sightly.
The weed stood firm, his head to the wind, armored, or so he thought, in security and strength, but as he was brushing a few rose petals and aphids from his lapels, the hand of the gardener flashed out of the air and pulled him out of the ground by the roots before you could say Dorothy Perkins, or, for that matter, jewelweed.
Tout, as the French say, in a philosophy older than ours and an idiom often more succinctpasse. A colony of bats living in a great American cave had got along fine for a thousand generations, flying, hanging head down, eating insects, and raising young, and then one year a male named Flitter, who had fluttered secretly out of his room at night and flown among the haunts of men, told his father that he had decided to get the hell out.
The shocked father sent Flitter to Fleder, the great-great-grandfather of all the bats in the cave. The discontented young bat was not impressed. At this, old Fleder stormed about the cave, squeaking unintelligibly. Then he recovered his calm and continued his talk. It was a shattering experience, from which I shall never completely recover. This amused old Fleder in a gaunt and gloomy sort of way, and he chittered, quickered, and zickered for some moments before [Pg 20] he could say, “You have no more soul than a moose, or a mouse, or a mole.
You should be glad that you will never become an angel, for angels do not have true flight. One wants to sleep through eternity, not bumble and flap about forever like a bee or a butterfly.
But Flitter had made up his mind, and the old bat’s words of wisdom were in vain. That night, the discontented young bat quit the bat colony, and flickered out of the cave, in the confident hope of giving up his membership in the Chiroptera and joining the happy breed of men. Unfortunately for his dream, he spent his first night hanging head down from the rafters of an auditorium in which a best-selling Inspirationalist was dragging God down to the people’s level. Ushers moved silently among the rapt listeners, selling copies of the speaker’s books: The speaker was saying, “Have a little talk with the Lord while [Pg 21] you’re waiting for a bus, or riding to work, or sitting in the dentist’s chair.
Have comfy chats with the Lord in the little cozy corners of spare time. Flitter decided that there was something the matter with the acoustics, or with his tragus, caused by hanging head down in the presence of the Eternal Species, but when he began flying about the auditorium, there was no change in the nature of the English sentences.
Flitter, who had never felt sick before in his life, felt sick, and decided to get the air. After he had got the air, he realized that he did not want to become a member of the species Homo sapiensbecause of the danger of bumbling or flapping into the Inspirationalist after they had both become angels.
And so Flitter re [Pg 22] turned to the cave, and everybody was astonished to see him, and nobody said anything, and for a time there was a great silence. And he resumed, without discontent, the immemorial life of the Chiroptera, flying, hanging head down, eating insects, and raising young. By decent minds is he abhorred who’d make a Babbitt of the Lord.
The lion had just explained to the cow, the goat, and the sheep that the stag they had killed belonged to him, when three little foxes appeared on the scene. It is not as easy to get the lion’s share nowadays as it used to be. A wealthy young wolf, who was oblivious of everything except himself, was tossed out of college for cutting classes and corners, and he decided to see if he could travel around the world in eighty minutes. She went with him to the door of the old Wolf place.
He bought a Blitzen Bearcat, a combination motorcar and airplane, with sky-rocket getaway, cyclone speedrive, cannonball takeoff, blindall headlights, magical retractable monowings, and lightning pushbutton transformationizer. The wealthy young wolf smashed all the ground records and air records and a lot of other things in his trip around the world, which took him only In the crowd that welcomed him home, consisting of about eleven creatures, for all the others were hiding under beds, there was a speed-crazy young wolfess, with built-in instantaneous pickup ability, and in no time at all the wolf and his new-found mate were setting new records for driving upside down, backward, blindfolded, handcuffed, and cockeyed, doubled and redoubled.
One day, they decided to see if they could turn in to Central Park from Fifth Avenue while traveling at a rate of miles an hour, watching television, and holding hands. There was a tremendous shattering, crashing, splitting, roaring, blazing, cracking, and smashing, ending in a fiery display of wheels, stars, cornices, roofs, treetops, glass, steel, and people, and it seemed to those spectators who did not die of seizures as they watched that great red portals opened in the sky, swinging inward on mighty hinges, revealing an endless nowhere, [Pg 28] and then closed behind the flying and flaming wolves with a clanking to end all clanking, as if those gates which we have been assured shall not prevail had, in fact, prevailed.
Where most of us end up there is no knowing, but the hellbent get where they are going. It was said of two bluebirds that they were unlike as two brothers could be, that one was a pearl in a pod and the other a pea. Pearl was happy-go-lucky, and Pea was gloomy-go-sorry. Pearl flaunted his gay colors like a bonnie blue flag, and his song was as bold as the Rebel yell.
He went South every winter alone, and came North every spring with a different female. His gay philosophy freed his psyche of the stains of fear and the stresses of guilt, and he attained a serenity of spirit that few male birds and even fewer male human beings ever reach.
He did not worry because some of his children were also his nieces, the daughters of one of his sisters. He sat loose, sang pretty, and slept tight, in a hundred honey locusts and cherry trees and lilac bushes. And every winter he went South alone, and every jsmes he came North ja,es a different female. He did not worry because some of his grandchildren were also his grandnephews, the grandsons of one of his sisters.
At sunset in summertime, the gay bluebird jaames higher than the lark or the wild goose, and he was pleased to note that, like himself, heaven wore blue, with a tinge of red.
The gloomy bluebird went South alone in the winter and came North alone in the spring, and never flew higher than you could throw a sofa. While still in his prime he developed agoraphobia and went to live underground, to the surprise oc dismay of families of frogs and foxes and moles and gophers and crickets and toads, and of the bewildered dog who dug him up one day while burying a bone, and then hastily buried him again, without ceremony or sorrow.
It is more dangerous to straight-arm life than to embrace it. A clothes moth who lived in a closet and had never done anything, or wanted to do anything, except eat wool and fur, flew out of his closet one twilight just in time to see a lovely Luna moth appear on the outside of a windowpane. The Luna moth fluttered against the lighted glass as gracefully as a drifting autumn leaf, and she was dressed in a charming evening gown.
What interested her was the flame of a candle burning in the room, burning [Pg 33] on the mantelpiece above the fireplace, but the clothes moth thought she was making signs at him, and he conceived a great desire for her. The Luna moth’s tiny silvery tone became sharper.