by Robert Louis Stevenson
“I never read such an impious book,” said the
reader, throwing it on the floor.
“You need not hurt me,” said the book; “you
will only get less for me second hand, and I did not write
“That is true,” said the reader. “My
quarrel is with your author.”
“Ah, well,” said the book, “you need not buy
“That is true,” said the reader. “But
I thought him such a cheerful writer.”
“I find him so,” said the book.
“You must be differently made from me,” said the
“Let me tell you a fable,” said the book.
“There were two men wrecked upon a desert island; one of
them made believe he was at home, the other
“Oh, I know your kind of fable,” said the
reader. “They both died.”
“And so they did,” said the book. “No
doubt of that. And everybody else.”
“That is true,” said the reader. “Push
it a little further for this once. And when they were all
“They were in God’s hands, the same as
before,” said the book.
“Not much to boast of, by your account,” cried the
“Who is impious now?” said the book.
And the reader put him on the fire.
The coward crouches from the rod,
And loathes the iron face of God.