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"I did not come through any door," I rejoined.
"I saw you come through it!--saw you with my own ancient eyes!" asserted the raven, positively but not disrespectfully.
"I never saw any door!" I persisted.
"Of course not!" he returned; "all the doors you had yet seen--and you haven't seen many--were doors in; here you came upon a door out! The strange thing to you," he went on thoughtfully, "will be, that the more doors you go out of, the farther you get in!"
"Oblige me by telling me where I am."
"That is impossible. You know nothing about whereness. The only way to come to know where you are is to begin to make yourself at home."
"How am I to begin that where everything is so strange?"
"By doing something."
"Anything; and the sooner you begin the better! for until you are at home, you will find it as difficult to get out as it is to get in."
"I have, unfortunately, found it too easy to get in; once out I shall not try again!"
"You have stumbled in, and may, possibly, stumble out again. Whether you have got in UNFORTUNATELY remains to be seen."
"Do you never go out, sir?"
"When I please I do, but not often, or for long. Your world is such a half-baked sort of place, it is at once so childish and so self-satisfied--in fact, it is not sufficiently developed for an old raven--at your service!"
"Am I wrong, then, in presuming that a man is superior to a bird?"
"That is as it may be. We do not waste our intellects in generalising, but take man or bird as we find him.--I think it is now my turn to ask you a question!"
"You have the best of rights," I replied, "in the fact that you CAN do so!"
"Well answered!" he rejoined. "Tell me, then, who you are--if you happen to know."
"How should I help knowing? I am myself, and must know!"
"If you know you are yourself, you know that you are not somebody else; but do you know that you are yourself? Are you sure you are not your own father?--or, excuse me, your own fool?--Who are you, pray?"
I became at once aware that I could give him no notion of who I was. Indeed, who was I? It would be no answer to say I was who! Then I understood that I did not know myself, did not know what I was, had no grounds on which to determine that I was one and not another. As for the name I went by in my own world, I had forgotten it, and did not care to recall it, for it meant nothing, and what it might be was plainly of no consequence here. I had indeed almost forgotten that there it was a custom for everybody to have a name! So I held my peace, and it was my wisdom; for what should I say to a creature such as this raven, who saw through accident into entity?
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