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American Fairy Tales
L Frank Baum
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is Beni,” the middle-sized man bowed; ”and I am Victor. We are three
”Bandits!” cried Martha, with a look of horror.
”Exactly. Perhaps in all the world there are not three other bandits
so terrible and ?erce as ourselves,” said Victor, proudly.
”’Tis so,” said the fat man, nodding gravely.
”But it’s wicked!” exclaimed Martha.
”Yes, indeed,” replied Victor. ”We are extremely and tremendously
wicked. Perhaps in all the world you could not ?nd three men more
wicked than those who now stand before you.”
”’Tis so,” said the fat man, approvingly.
”But you shouldn’t be so wicked,” said the girl;
Victor cast down his eyes and blushed.
”Naughty!” gasped Beni, with a horri?ed look.
”’Tis a hard word,” said Luigi, sadly, and buried his face in his
”I little thought,” murmured Victor, in a voice broken by emotion,
”ever to be so reviled–and by a lady! Yet, perhaps you spoke
thoughtlessly. You must consider, miss, that our wic kedness has an
excuse. For how are we to be bandits, let me ask, unless we are
Martha was puzzled and shook her head, thought fully. Then she
”You can’t remain bandits any longer,” said she, ”because you are
now in America.”
”America!” cried the three, together.
”Certainly. You are on Prairie avenue, in Chicago. Uncle Walter sent
you here from Italy in this chest.”
The bandits seemed greatly bewildered by this announcement. Lugui
sat down on an old chair with a broke n rocker and wiped his forehead
with a yellow silk handkerchief. Beni and Victor fell back upon the
chest and looked at her with pale faces and staring ey es.
When he had somewhat rec overed himself Victor spoke.
”Your Uncle Walter has greatly wronged us,” he said, reproachfully.
”He has taken us from our beloved Italy, where bandits are highly
respected, and brought us to a strange country where we shall not
know whom to rob or how much to ask for a ransom.”
”’Tis so!” said the fat man, slapping his leg sharply.
”And we had won such ?ne reputations in Italy!” said Beni,
”Perhaps Uncle Walter wanted to reform you,” suggested Martha.
”Are there, then, no bandits in Chicago?” asked Victor.
”Well,” replied the girl, blushing in her turn, ”we do not call them
”Then what shall we do for a living?” inquired Beni, despairingly.
”A great deal can be done in a big American city,” said the child.
”My father is a lawyer” (the bandits shuddered), ”and my mother’s
cousin is a police inspector.”
”Ah,” said Victor, ”that is a good employment. The police need to be
inspected, especially in Italy.”
”Everywhere!” added Beni.
”Then you could do other things,” continued Martha, encouragingly.
”You could be motor men on trolley cars, or clerks in a department
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