Fantastic Fables

by Ambrose Bierce

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The Power of the Scalawag

A FORESTRY Commissioner had just felled a giant tree when, seeing an honest man approaching, he dropped his axe and fled. The next day when he cautiously returned to get his axe, he found the following lines pencilled on the stump:

"What nature reared by centuries of toil, A scalawag in half a day can spoil; An equal fate for him may Heaven provide - Damned in the moment of his tallest pride."

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It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.