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Search the Sky

by C. M. Kornbluth and Frederik Pohl: ..... 1 DECAY. Ross stood on the traders’ ramp, overlooking the Yards, and the word kept bobbing to the top of his mind. Decay. About all of Halsey’s Planet there was the imperceptible ...

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Sense and Sensibility

by Jane Austen CHAPTER 1 The family of Dashwood had long been settled in Sussex. Their estate was large, and their residence was at Norland Park, in the centre of their property, where, for many generations, they ...

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The Radio Planet

by Ralph Milne Farley: I “It’s too bad that Myles Cabot can’t see this!” I exclaimed, as my eye fell on the following item: SIGNALS FROM MARS FAIL TO REACH HARVARD Cambridge, Massachusetts, Wednesday. The Harvard College Radio Station ...

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Ivanhoe: A Romance

by Walter Scott INTRODUCTION TO IVANHOE. The Author of the Waverley Novels had hitherto proceeded in an unabated course of popularity, and might, in his peculiar district of literature, have been termed "L'Enfant Gate" of success. It ...

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The Story of the Three Little Pigs

by L. Leslie Brooke Once upon a time there was an old Sow with three little Pigs, and as she had not enough to keep them, she sent them out to seek their fortune. The first that ...

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DRACULA

By Bram Stoker CHAPTER I JONATHAN HARKER’S JOURNAL (Kept in shorthand.) 3 May. Bistritz.—Left Munich at 8:35 P. M., on 1st May, arriving at Vienna early next morning; should have arrived at 6:46, but train was an hour late. ...

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The Odyssey

by Homer BOOK I THE GODS IN COUNCIL—MINERVA'S VISIT TO ITHACA—THE CHALLENGE FROM TELEMACHUS TO THE SUITORS. Tell me, O Muse, of that ingenious hero who travelled far and wide after he had sacked the famous town of ...

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Don Juan

By Lord Byron DEDICATION Bob Southey! You're a poet, poet laureate, And representative of all the race. Although 'tis true that you turned out a Tory at Last, yours has lately been a common case. And now my epic renegade, what ...

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The Adventures of Pinocchio

by Carlo Collodi CHAPTER 1 How it happened that Mastro Cherry, carpenter, found a piece of wood that wept and laughed like a child. Centuries ago there lived— "A king!" my little readers will say immediately. No, children, you are ...

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The War of the Worlds

by H. G. Wells BOOK ONE THE COMING OF THE MARTIANS CHAPTER ONE THE EVE OF THE WAR No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely ...

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Hans Andersen's Fairy Tales - Second Series

by H. C. Andersen THE FLAX HE flax was in full bloom; it had pretty little blue flowers, as delicate as the wings of a moth. The sun shone on it and the showers watered it; and ...

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Utopia

by Saint Thomas More INTRODUCTION Sir Thomas More, son of Sir John More, a justice of the King’s Bench, was born in 1478, in Milk Street, in the city of London. After his earlier education at St. ...

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The Travels of Marco Polo — Volume 1

Author:  Polo, Marco, 1254-1323? Subject: Voyages and travels Download full book

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The Iliad

by Homer BOOK I The quarrel between Agamemnon and Achilles—Achilles withdraws from the war, and sends his mother Thetis to ask Jove to help the Trojans—Scene between Jove and Juno on Olympus. Sing, O goddess, the anger of ...

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THE REPUBLIC

By Plato INTRODUCTION AND ANALYSIS. The Republic of Plato is the longest of his works with the exception of the Laws, and is certainly the greatest of them. There are nearer approaches to modern metaphysics in the ...

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Oh, Rats!

by Miriam Allen DeFord SK540, the 27th son of two very ordinary white laboratory rats, surveyed his world. He was no more able than any other rat to possess articulate speech, or to use his paws as ...

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Thus Spake Zarathustra: A Book for All and None

By Friedrich Nietzsche FIRST PART. ZARATHUSTRA'S DISCOURSES. ZARATHUSTRA'S PROLOGUE. 1. When Zarathustra was thirty years old, he left his home and the lake of his home, and went into the mountains. There he enjoyed his spirit and solitude, and ...

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New Lamps

by Robert Moore Williams: Ronson came to the Red Planet on the strangest mission of all ... he only knew he wanted to see Les Ro, but he didn't know exactly why. It was because he ...

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Anna Karenina

By Leo Tolstoy   PART ONE Chapter 1 Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. Everything was in confusion in the Oblonskys’ house. The wife had discovered that the husband was carrying on an ...

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The Communist Manifesto

by Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx I. BOURGEOIS AND PROLETARIANS The history of all hitherto existing societies is the history of class struggles. Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, ...

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The Adventures of Pinocchio

by Carlo Collodi

CHAPTER 1

How it happened that Mastro Cherry, carpenter, found a piece of wood that wept and laughed like a child.

Centuries ago there lived—

“A king!” my little readers will say immediately.

No, children, you are mistaken. Once upon a time there was a piece of wood. It was not an expensive piece of wood. Far from it. Just a common block of firewood, one of those thick, solid logs that are put on the fire in winter to make cold rooms cozy and warm.

I do not know how this really happened, yet the fact remains that one fine day this piece of wood found itself in the shop of an old carpenter. His real name was Mastro Antonio, but everyone called him Mastro Cherry, for the tip of his nose was so round and red and shiny that it looked like a ripe cherry.

As soon as he saw that piece of wood, Mastro Cherry was filled with joy. Rubbing his hands together happily, he mumbled half to himself:

“This has come in the nick of time. I shall use it to make the leg of a table.”

He grasped the hatchet quickly to peel off the bark and shape the wood. But as he was about to give it the first blow, he stood still with arm uplifted, for he had heard a wee, little voice say in a beseeching tone: “Please be careful! Do not hit me so hard!”

What a look of surprise shone on Mastro Cherry’s face! His funny face became still funnier.

He turned frightened eyes about the room to find out where that wee, little voice had come from and he saw no one! He looked under the bench—no one! He peeped inside the closet—no one! He searched among the shavings—no one! He opened the door to look up and down the street—and still no one!

“Oh, I see!” he then said, laughing and scratching his Wig. “It can easily be seen that I only thought I heard the tiny voice say the words! Well, well—to work once more.”

He struck a most solemn blow upon the piece of wood.

“Oh, oh! You hurt!” cried the same far-away little voice.

Mastro Cherry grew dumb, his eyes popped out of his head, his mouth opened wide, and his tongue hung down on his chin.

As soon as he regained the use of his senses, he said, trembling and stuttering from fright:

“Where did that voice come from, when there is no one around? Might it be that this piece of wood has learned to weep and cry like a child? I can hardly believe it. Here it is—a piece of common firewood, good only to burn in the stove, the same as any other. Yet—might someone be hidden in it? If so, the worse for him. I’ll fix him!”

With these words, he grabbed the log with both hands and started to knock it about unmercifully. He threw it to the floor, against the walls of the room, and even up to the ceiling.

He listened for the tiny voice to moan and cry. He waited two minutes—nothing; five minutes—nothing; ten minutes—nothing.

“Oh, I see,” he said, trying bravely to laugh and ruffling up his wig with his hand. “It can easily be seen I only imagined I heard the tiny voice! Well, well—to work once more!”

The poor fellow was scared half to death, so he tried to sing a gay song in order to gain courage.

He set aside the hatchet and picked up the plane to make the wood smooth and even, but as he drew it to and fro, he heard the same tiny voice. This time it giggled as it spoke:

“Stop it! Oh, stop it! Ha, ha, ha! You tickle my stomach.”

This time poor Mastro Cherry fell as if shot. When he opened his eyes, he found himself sitting on the floor.

His face had changed; fright had turned even the tip of his nose from red to deepest purple.

CHAPTER 2

Mastro Cherry gives the piece of wood to his friend Geppetto, who takes it to make himself a Marionette that will dance, fence, and turn somersaults.

In that very instant, a loud knock sounded on the door. “Come in,” said the carpenter, not having an atom of strength left with which to stand up.

At the words, the door opened and a dapper little old man came in. His name was Geppetto, but to the boys of the neighborhood he was Polendina,* on account of the wig he always wore which was just the color of yellow corn.
* Cornmeal mush

Geppetto had a very bad temper. Woe to the one who called him Polendina! He became as wild as a beast and no one could soothe him.

“Good day, Mastro Antonio,” said Geppetto. “What are you doing on the floor?”

“I am teaching the ants their A B C’s.”

“Good luck to you!”

“What brought you here, friend Geppetto?”

“My legs. And it may flatter you to know, Mastro Antonio, that I have come to you to beg for a favor.”

“Here I am, at your service,” answered the carpenter, raising himself on to his knees.

“This morning a fine idea came to me.”

“Let’s hear it.”

“I thought of making myself a beautiful wooden Marionette. It must be wonderful, one that will be able to dance, fence, and turn somersaults. With it I intend to go around the world, to earn my crust of bread and cup of wine. What do you think of it?”

“Bravo, Polendina!” cried the same tiny voice which came from no one knew where.

On hearing himself called Polendina, Mastro Geppetto turned the color of a red pepper and, facing the carpenter, said to him angrily:

“Why do you insult me?”

“Who is insulting you?”

“You called me Polendina.”

“I did not.”

“I suppose you think I did! Yet I KNOW it was you.”

“No!”

“Yes!”

“No!”

“Yes!”

And growing angrier each moment, they went from words to blows, and finally began to scratch and bite and slap each other.

When the fight was over, Mastro Antonio had Geppetto’s yellow wig in his hands and Geppetto found the carpenter’s curly wig in his mouth.

“Give me back my wig!” shouted Mastro Antonio in a surly voice.

“You return mine and we’ll be friends.”

The two little old men, each with his own wig back on his own head, shook hands and swore to be good friends for the rest of their lives.

“Well then, Mastro Geppetto,” said the carpenter, to show he bore him no ill will, “what is it you want?”

“I want a piece of wood to make a Marionette. Will you give it to me?”

Mastro Antonio, very glad indeed, went immediately to his bench to get the piece of wood which had frightened him so much. But as he was about to give it to his friend, with a violent jerk it slipped out of his hands and hit against poor Geppetto’s thin legs.

“Ah! Is this the gentle way, Mastro Antonio, in which you make your gifts? You have made me almost lame!”

“I swear to you I did not do it!”

“It was I, of course!”

“It’s the fault of this piece of wood.”

“You’re right; but remember you were the one to throw it at my legs.”

“I did not throw it!”

“Liar!”

“Geppetto, do not insult me or I shall call you Polendina.”

“Idiot.”

“Polendina!”

“Donkey!”

“Polendina!”

“Ugly monkey!”

“Polendina!”

On hearing himself called Polendina for the third time, Geppetto lost his head with rage and threw himself upon the carpenter. Then and there they gave each other a sound thrashing.

After this fight, Mastro Antonio had two more scratches on his nose, and Geppetto had two buttons missing from his coat. Thus having settled their accounts, they shook hands and swore to be good friends for the rest of their lives.

Then Geppetto took the fine piece of wood, thanked Mastro Antonio, and limped away toward home.

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A Short History of the World
King Solomon's Mines