Monsieur Pierre Agenor de Vargnes, the Examining Magistrate, was the exact opposite of a practical joker. He was dignity, staidness, correctness personified. As a sedate man, he was quite incapable of being guilty, even in his dreams, of a... Read more of The Man With The Pale Eyes at Mystery Stories.caInformational Site Network Informational
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Our Little Enemies

from Keep-well Stories For Little Folks





"Hello, Central, give me 1882, Mrs. Consumption Germ. Oh, is that you, I
am so glad to hear your voice. Do tell me what you have been doing this
long time!"

"Oh, my good friend Pneumonia, I have been hiding away all these years
to keep the doctors from finding me. I did not want them to learn about
me. I feared that they would destroy me entirely.

"But with all my care, do you know that just a few years ago, an old
German doctor pulled me out of my hiding place and showed me to the
world. Since then I and my family have had little peace.

"I have to be mighty careful, or I fear that these doctors who are
turning all sorts of magnifying glasses on my people will finally drive
us from the earth. They already have us on the run. In the meantime we
are playing a game of 'catch me if you can.' Sometimes we get on pencils
or sticks of candy. Then again we roll and turn somersaults on a nice
red apple and are passed from one mouth to another by over-polite
children.

"Sometimes, some of my children swim in the milk or travel on a fly's
foot.

"I don't like sunshine at all. I dote on dark places where the wind does
not blow.

"I like poor people better than rich ones, because the poor have not
money enough to buy good food, fresh air, and rest, the weapons the rich
use to fight us with.

"Last week I went to a Fourth of July celebration on a grain of dust--my
airship, I called it. Whom do you think I saw there? Young Mr. Lockjaw
Germ; do you know I think that he has gotten the big head. Probably the
war in Europe has something to do with it. For I believe that he and his
family are very prominent among the soldiers in Belgium. I hear also
that in America the folks are trying to put him out of business,
especially since fire-crackers are not used so much. Some man had to
start a 'Sane Fourth of July.' That was a sane Fourth of July
celebration that I attended, and I must say that Mr. Lockjaw Germ looked
a bit lonely."

"Do tell me, Mrs. Consumption Germ," said her friend Pneumonia Germ,
"have you heard about the Diphtheria family? They are having a hard
time."

"These French doctors have found something that will even prevent
children from having diphtheria. They call it anti-toxin. I never did
like antis anyway, did you?

"Mrs. Typhoid Germ tells me that her family is not as large as it used
to be, all because of an anti-toxin."

"My, my, what shall we do!" said Mrs. Consumption Germ, "even the school
people are after us. I heard Miss Measles and little Master Scarlet
Fever say that a doctor comes every day to some of the schools. They
said that in some of the school-rooms the teacher had the nerve to hang
a placard, on which was printed, 'Prevention Better Than Cure.'

"I'll tell you I don't like these new times; this Hygiene the people
talk of is a regular ogre to our children.

"In some schools the teachers are even having lunches for the little
children who are pale and thin. They are having their eyes examined.
Some are having adenoids taken out, just to make those children so
strong that we can't catch them.

"I thought that I had a fair chance to get little Jimmy Brown, but his
teacher talked to his mother one day at recess. The next day his mother
whisked him off down town and had the doctor take the adenoids from
behind his nose. Now he is as strong as any little boy, because he can
breathe through his nose. So I lost my chance at him, you see."

"Yes, indeed," said Mrs. Consumption Germ, "one can't even hide in an
old stump of a tooth. Some man with sharp-looking things tells you that
o-u-t spells 'out and begone,' as we used to say in playing the game."

"Do you know I believe that man Pasteur was our greatest enemy?"

"Tell me, who was he?" said Mrs. Consumption Germ.

"Well, he was a man who lived in France. He discovered the germ that
killed the silk-worm and also the cause of the loss of grapes in that
country.

"The wine and silk merchants of that country paid him immense sums of
money for this work.

"He studied all about our friends and relatives, and it was he who first
started all this anti-toxin, which saves the people, but which kills us
by the millions.

"But with all this great work and the work of their great men, we
sometimes catch folks napping. We catch our greatest enemy, the white
blood-cells, when they are without their fighting clothes on, and then
we get busy. In this way we can make up for a great deal of lost time.

"Of course, you have heard of Dr. Jenner. He was another enemy of ours.
He taught the people about vaccination, which keeps them from having
small-pox. I am glad to say there will always be a few persons who do
not follow these new ideas. If this were not true, one would starve to
death."

"I know, Mrs. Pneumonia Germ, that you love close, damp, places. I am
sure that fresh air makes you nervous. What will you do now that the
factories and mills are to be cleaner and better ventilated? We used to
find plenty to do with the old order of things.

"Dr. Sunshine, Dr. Fresh Air, and Dr. Good Food are certainly doing all
they can to drive us out of the country.

"We will go to the great cities, and I suspect that, for a long time
yet, we can find a home for our little ones in the miserable homes of
the poor; and, notwithstanding all this talk of hygiene, health, and
sanitation, I believe that some of the homes and factories will always
furnish us with hiding places in which to rear our families."

"Well, I must say good-bye, Mrs. Germ, as I see Dr. Fresh Air coming,
and I do not care to speak to him; he does not treat me cordially.
Good-bye."


QUESTIONS

1. Who was Pasteur? Where did he live? What did he
do for the merchants of France?

2. Who was Jenner? What disease did he show the
people how to prevent?

3. Why did Jimmy Brown grow well and strong?





Next: One Little Girl

Previous: A Hygiene Song



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