Fantastic Fables

by Ambrose Bierce

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The Rainmaker

AN Officer of the Government, with a great outfit of mule-waggons loaded with balloons, kites, dynamite bombs, and electrical apparatus, halted in the midst of a desert, where there had been no rain for ten years, and set up a camp. After several months of preparation and an expenditure of a million dollars all was in readiness, and a series of tremendous explosions occurred on the earth and in the sky. This was followed by a great down-pour of rain, which washed the unfortunate Officer of the Government and the outfit off the face of creation and affected the agricultural heart with joy too deep for utterance. A Newspaper Reporter who had just arrived escaped by climbing a hill near by, and there he found the Sole Survivor of the expedition - a mule-driver - down on his knees behind a mesquite bush, praying with extreme fervour. "Oh, you can't stop it that way," said the Reporter. "My fellow-traveller to the bar of God," replied the Sole Survivor, looking up over his shoulder, "your understanding is in darkness. I am not stopping this great blessing; under Providence, I am bringing it." "That is a pretty good joke," said the Reporter, laughing as well as he could in the strangling rain - "a mule driver's prayer answered!" "Child of levity and scoffing," replied the other; "you err again, misled by these humble habiliments. I am the Rev. Ezekiel Thrifft, a minister of the gospel, now in the service of the great manufacturing firm of Skinn & Sheer. They make balloons, kites, dynamite bombs, and electrical apparatus."

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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.