A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
"I can, fair sir, and I will. Doubt it not."
He drew an imaginary circle on the stones of the roof, and burnt a pinch of powder in it,
which sent up a small cloud of aromatic smoke, whereat everybody fell back and began
to cross themselves and get uncomfortable. Then he began to mutter and make passes in
the air with his hands. He worked himself up slowly and gradually into a sort of frenzy,
and got to thrashing around with his arms like the sails of a windmill. By this time the
storm had about reached us; the gusts of wind were flaring the torches and making the
shadows swash about, the first heavy drops of rain were falling, the world abroad was
black as pitch, the lightning began to wink fitfully. Of course, my rod would be loading
itself now. In fact, things were imminent. So I said:
"You have had time enough. I have given you every advantage, and not interfered. It is
plain your magic is weak. It is only fair that I begin now."
I made about three passes in the air, and then there was an awful crash and that old tower
leaped into the sky in chunks, along with a vast volcanic fountain of fire that turned night
to noonday, and showed a thousand acres of human beings groveling on the ground in a
general collapse of consternation. Well, it rained mortar and masonry the rest of the
week. This was the report; but probably the facts would have modified it.
It was an effective miracle. The great bothersome temporary population vanished. There
were a good many thousand tracks in the mud the next morning, but they were all
outward bound. If I had advertised another miracle I couldn't have raised an audience
with a sheriff.
Merlin's stock was flat. The king wanted to stop his wages; he even wanted to banish
him, but I interfered. I said he would be useful to work the weather, and attend to small
matters like that, and I would give him a lift now and then when his poor little parlor-
magic soured on him. There wasn't a rag of his tower left, but I had the government
rebuild it for him, and advised him to take boarders; but he was too high-toned for that.
And as for being grateful, he never even said thank you. He was a rather hard lot, take
him how you might; but then you couldn't fairly expect a man to be sweet that had been
set back so.