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Somewhere Or Nowhere?
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"How do you know that, if I may be so bold?" I rejoined.
"As any one would who had been there to see," he replied. "It is a great sight, until you get used to it, when the earth gives a heave, and out comes a beast. You might think it a hairy elephant or a deinotherium--but none of the animals are the same as we have ever had here. I was almost frightened myself the first time I saw the dry-bog-serpent come wallowing out--such a head and mane! and SUCH eyes!--but the shower is nearly over. It will stop directly after the next thunder-clap. There it is!"
A flash came with the words, and in about half a minute the thunder. Then the rain ceased.
"Now we should be going!" said the raven, and stepped to the front of the porch.
"Going where?" I asked.
"Going where we have to go," he answered. "You did not surely think you had got home? I told you there was no going out and in at pleasure until you were at home!"
"I do not want to go," I said.
"That does not make any difference--at least not much," he answered. "This is the way!"
"I am quite content where I am."
"You think so, but you are not. Come along."
He hopped from the porch onto the grass, and turned, waiting.
"I will not leave the house to-day," I said with obstinacy.
"You will come into the garden!" rejoined the raven.
"I give in so far," I replied, and stepped from the porch.
The sun broke through the clouds, and the raindrops flashed and sparkled on the grass. The raven was walking over it.
"You will wet your feet!" I cried.
"And mire my beak," he answered, immediately plunging it deep in the sod, and drawing out a great wriggling red worm. He threw back his head, and tossed it in the air. It spread great wings, gorgeous in red and black, and soared aloft.
"Tut! tut!" I exclaimed; "you mistake, Mr. Raven: worms are not the larvŠ of butterflies!"
"Never mind," he croaked; "it will do for once! I'm not a reading man at present, but sexton at the--at a certain graveyard--cemetery, more properly--in--at--no matter where!"
"I see! you can't keep your spade still: and when you have nothing to bury, you must dig something up! Only you should mind what it is before you make it fly! No creature should be allowed to forget what and where it came from!"
"Why?" said the raven.
"Because it will grow proud, and cease to recognise its superiors."
No man knows it when he is making an idiot of himself.
"Where DO the worms come from?" said the raven, as if suddenly grown curious to know.
"Why, from the earth, as you have just seen!" I answered.
"Yes, last!" he replied. "But they can't have come from it first-- for that will never go back to it!" he added, looking up.
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