The Buffoon and the Countryman

A RICH NOBLEMAN once opened the theaters without charge to the

people, and gave a public notice that he would handsomely reward

any person who invented a new amusement for the occasion.

Various public performers contended for the prize. Among them

came a Buffoon well known among the populace for his jokes, and

said that he had a kind of entertainment which had never been

brought out on any stage before. This report being spread about

made a great stir, and the theater was crowded in every part.

The Buffoon appeared alone upon the platform, without any

apparatus or confederates, and the very sense of expectation

caused an intense silence. He suddenly bent his head towards his

bosom and imitated the squeaking of a little pig so admirably

with his voice that the audience declared he had a porker under

his cloak, and demanded that it should be shaken out. When that

was done and nothing was found, they cheered the actor, and

loaded him with the loudest applause. A Countryman in the crowd,

observing all that has passed, said, "So help me, Hercules, he

shall not beat me at that trick!" and at once proclaimed that he

would do the same thing on the next day, though in a much more

natural way. On the morrow a still larger crowd assembled in the

theater, but now partiality for their favorite actor very

generally prevailed, and the audience came rather to ridicule the

Countryman than to see the spectacle. Both of the performers

appeared on the stage. The Buffoon grunted and squeaked away

first, and obtained, as on the preceding day, the applause and

cheers of the spectators. Next the Countryman commenced, and

pretending that he concealed a little pig beneath his clothes

(which in truth he did, but not suspected by the audience )

contrived to take hold of and to pull his ear causing the pig to

squeak. The Crowd, however, cried out with one consent that the

Buffoon had given a far more exact imitation, and clamored for

the Countryman to be kicked out of the theater. On this the

rustic produced the little pig from his cloak and showed by the

most positive proof the greatness of their mistake. "Look here,"

he said, "this shows what sort of judges you are."

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