Fantastic Fables

by Ambrose Bierce

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The Writer and the Tramps

AN Ambitious Writer, distinguished for the condition of his linen, was travelling the high road to fame, when he met a Tramp.

"What is the matter with your shirt?" inquired the Tramp.

"It bears the marks of that superb unconcern which is the characteristic of genius," replied the Ambitious Writer, contemptuously passing him by.

Resting by the wayside a little later, the Tramp carved upon the smooth bark of a birch-tree the words, "John Gump, Champion Genius."

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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.