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A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

end to the other, was in a pitiable state of panic, and the churches, hermitages, and
monkeries overflowed with praying and weeping poor creatures who thought the end of
the world was come. Then had followed the news that the producer of this awful event
was a stranger, a mighty magician at Arthur's court; that he could have blown out the sun
like a candle, and was just going to do it when his mercy was purchased, and he then
dissolved his enchantments, and was now recognized and honored as the man who had by
his unaided might saved the globe from destruction and its peoples from extinction. Now
if you consider that everybody believed that, and not only believed it, but never even
dreamed of doubting it, you will easily understand that there was not a person in all
Britain that would not have walked fifty miles to get a sight of me. Of course I was all the
talk--all other subjects were dropped; even the king became suddenly a person of minor
interest and notoriety. Within twenty-four hours the delegations began to arrive, and from
that time onward for a fortnight they kept coming. The village was crowded, and all the
countryside. I had to go out a dozen times a day and show myself to these reverent and
awe-stricken multitudes. It came to be a great burden, as to time and trouble, but of
course it was at the same time compensatingly agreeable to be so celebrated and such a
center of homage. It turned Brer Merlin green with envy and spite, which was a great
satisfaction to me. But there was one thing I couldn't understand--nobody had asked for
an autograph. I spoke to Clarence about it. By George! I had to explain to him what it
was. Then he said nobody in the country could read or write but a few dozen priests.
Land! think of that.
There was another thing that troubled me a little. Those multitudes presently began to
agitate for another miracle. That was natural. To be able to carry back to their far homes
the boast that they had seen the man who could command the sun, riding in the heavens,
and be obeyed, would make them great in the eyes of their neighbors, and envied by them
all; but to be able to also say they had seen him work a miracle themselves--why, people
would come a distance to see them. The pressure got to be pretty strong. There was going
to be an eclipse of the moon, and I knew the date and hour, but it was too far away. Two
years. I would have given a good deal for license to hurry it up and use it now when there
was a big market for it. It seemed a great pity to have it wasted so, and come lagging
along at a time when a body wouldn't have any use for it, as like as not. If it had been
booked for only a month away, I could have sold it short; but, as matters stood, I couldn't
seem to cipher out any way to make it do me any good, so I gave up trying. Next,
Clarence found that old Merlin was making himself busy on the sly among those people.
He was spreading a report that I was a humbug, and that the reason I didn't accommodate
the people with a miracle was because I couldn't. I saw that I must do something. I
presently thought out a plan.
By my authority as executive I threw Merlin into prison--the same cell I had occupied
myself. Then I gave public notice by herald and trumpet that I should be busy with affairs
of state for a fortnight, but about the end of that time I would take a moment's leisure and
blow up Merlin's stone tower by fires from heaven; in the meantime, whoso listened to
evil reports about me, let him beware. Furthermore, I would perform but this one miracle
at this time, and no more; if it failed to satisfy and any murmured, I would turn the
murmurers into horses, and make them useful. Quiet ensued.