Three Men of Gotham by James Baldwin
There is a town in England called Go-tham, and many merry stories are
told of the queer people who used to live there.
One day two men of Go-tham met on a bridge. Hodge was coming from the
market, and Peter was going to the market.
"Where are you going?" said Hodge.
"I am going to the market to buy sheep," said Peter.
"Buy sheep?" said Hodge. "And which way will you bring them home?"
"I shall bring them over this bridge," said Peter.
"No, you shall not," said Hodge.
"Yes, but I will," said Peter.
"You shall not," said Hodge.
"I will," said Peter.
Then they beat with their sticks on the ground as though there had
been a hundred sheep between them.
"Take care!" cried Peter. "Look out that my sheep don't jump on the
"I care not where they jump," said Hodge; "but they shall not go over
"But they shall," said Peter.
"Have a care," said Hodge; "for if you say too much, I will put my
fingers in your mouth."
"Will you?" said Peter.
Just then another man of Gotham came from the market with a sack of
meal on his horse. He heard his neigh-bors quar-rel-ing about sheep;
but he could see no sheep between them, and so he stopped and spoke to
"Ah, you foolish fellows!" he cried. "It is strange that you will
never learn wisdom.—Come here, Peter, and help me lay my sack on my
Peter did so, and the man carried his meal to the side of the bridge.
"Now look at me," he said, "and learn a lesson." And he opened the
mouth of the sack, and poured all the meal into the river.
"Now, neighbors," he said, "can you tell how much meal is in my
"How much meal is in my sack?"
"There is none at all!" cried Hodge and Peter together.
"You are right," said the man; "and you that stand here and quarrel
about nothing, have no more sense in your heads than I have meal in my