The Unfortunates

: Literary Fables Of Yriarte

A man who, from his birth, was dumb

And deafer than a mole,

Some trifle to arrange was set

With a blind man, cheek by jowl.

The blind man spoke by signs

Which the mute did plainly mark;

When, in like way, he said his say,

His friend was in the dark.

In this odd predicament,

They, for friendly aid, accost

A passing comrade of them both,

Who his right arm had lost.

The gestures of the mute

He explained in language good;

And the blind man, from his mouth,

The whole matter understood.

To close this curious scene

And conference singular,

A contract it behoved

Of the bargain to prepare.

"Friends,"--said the one-armed man--,

"I must here give up the task;

But the schoolmaster will come

And write it, if you ask."

"How can a cripple lame,"--

Said the blind man,--"hither come?

Why, he can hardly stir.

We must go to him at home."

The cripple then the compact

To paper did transfer;

The blind and maimed man dictate;

The mute was messenger.

For this purpose any two

Were enough,--and even more.

But, of such a hapless crew,

It took no less than four.

* * * * *

Were it not that in Alcarria,

A little while ago.

This very matter happened,--

As a thousand gossips know,--

It might have been surmised

That, some one contrived the story,

To hit off the plan devised

By weak aspirants for glory,

Who club their pens and brains

Some wondrous work to try,

By their united pains,

Which would each alone defy.