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THE TIME MACHINE

by H. G. Wells I The Time Traveller (for so it will be convenient to speak of him) was expounding a recondite matter to us. His grey eyes shone and twinkled, and his usually pale face was ...

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The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights

Author: Knowles, James, Sir, 1831-1908 Author: Malory, Thomas, Sir, -1471 Note: "Merely a word-for-word reprint of my early effort to popularise the Arthur legends. It is little else than an abridgment of Sir Thomas Malory's version ... ...

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Metamorphosis

by Franz Kafka I One morning, when Gregor Samsa woke from troubled dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin. He lay on his armour-like back, and if he lifted his head a ...

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The Decameron

by Giovanni Boccaccio Here Beginneth the Book Called Decameron and Surnamed Prince Galahalt Wherein Are Contained an Hundred Stories in Ten Days Told by Seven Ladies and Three Young Men Proem A kindly thing it is to have ...

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Madame Bovary

by Gustave Flaubert Part I Chapter One We were in class when the head-master came in, followed by a "new fellow," not wearing the school uniform, and a school servant carrying a large desk. Those who had been ...

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David Copperfield

By Charles Dickens CHAPTER 1. I AM BORN Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show. To begin ...

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UNCLE TOM'S CABIN

By Harriet Beecher Stowe CHAPTER I In Which the Reader Is Introduced to a Man of Humanity Late in the afternoon of a chilly day in February, two gentlemen were sitting alone over their wine, in a well-furnished ...

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The Cosmic Computer

by H. Beam Piper I Thirty minutes to Litchfield. Conn Maxwell, at the armor-glass front of the observation deck, watched the landscape rush out of the horizon and vanish beneath the ship, ten thousand feet down. He thought ...

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The jungle book

By Rudyard Kipling MOWGLI'S BROTHERS I T was seven o'clock of a very warm evening in the Seeonee hills when Father Wolf woke up from his day's rest, scratched himself, yawned, and spread out his paws one after the ...

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The Gods of Mars

by Edgar Rice Burroughs CHAPTER I THE PLANT MEN As I stood upon the bluff before my cottage on that clear cold night in the early part of March, 1886, the noble Hudson flowing like the grey and ...

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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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The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe

  By Daniel Defoe CHAPTER I—START IN LIFE I was born in the year 1632, in the city of York, of a good family, though not of that country, my father being a foreigner of Bremen, who settled ...

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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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GULLIVER’S TRAVELS

By Jonathan Swift A LETTER FROM CAPTAIN GULLIVER TO HIS COUSIN SYMPSON. Written in the Year 1727. I hope you will be ready to own publicly, whenever you shall be called to it, that by your great and frequent ...

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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 Call of the Wild

by Jack London Chapter I. Into the Primitive "Old longings nomadic leap, Chafing at custom's chain; Again from its brumal sleep Wakens the ferine strain." Buck did not read the newspapers, or he would have known that trouble was brewing, not ...

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The Extraordinary Adventures of Arsene Lupin, Gentleman-Burglar

Author: Leblanc, Maurice, 1864-1941 Uniform Title: Arsène Lupin, gentleman-cambrioleur. English Title: The Extraordinary Adventures of Arsene Lupin, Gentleman-Burglar Contents: The arrest of Arsène Lupin -- Arsène Lupin in prison -- The escape of Arsène Lupin -- The mysterious ...

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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 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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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 Radio Man

by Ralph Milne Farley:

1
the message in the meteor

Never had I been so frightened in all my life! It was a warm evening late in August, and I was sitting on the kitchen steps of my Chappaquiddick Island farmhouse, discussing the drought with one of the farm hands. Suddenly there appeared in the sky over our heads a flaming fiery mass, rushing straight downward toward us.

“Here’s where a shooting star gets me,” I thought, as I instinctively ducked my head, just as though such a feeble move as ducking one’s head could afford any possible protection from the flaming terror. The next instant there came a dull crash, followed by silence, which in turn was broken by the hired man dryly remarking: “I reckon she struck over to Cow Hill.” Cow Hill was the slight elevation just back of our farmhouse.

So the meteor hadn’t been aimed exactly at me, after all.

If that thing had hit me, some one else would be giving to the world this story.

We did nothing further about the meteor that night, being pretty well shaken up by the occurrence. But next morning, as soon as the chores were done, the hired man and I hastened to the top of Cow Hill to look for signs of last night’s fiery visitor.

And, sure enough, there were plenty of signs. Every spear of grass was singed from the top of the hill; the big rock on the summit showed marks of a collision; and several splinters of some black igneous material were lying strewed around. Leading from the big rock there ran down the steep side of the hill a gradually deepening furrow, ending in a sort of caved-in hole.

We could not let slip such a good opportunity to get some newspaper publicity for our farm. And so on the following Friday a full account of the meteoric visitation appeared in the Vineyard Gazette, with the result that quite a number of summer folks walked across the island from the bathing beach to look at the hole.

And there was another result, for early the following week I received a letter from Professor Gerrish, of the Harvard Observatory, stating that he had read about the meteor in the paper, and requesting that I send him a small piece—or, if possible, the whole meteor—by express, collect, for purposes of analysis.

Anything for dear old Harvard! Unfortunately all the black splinters had been carried away by tourists. So I set the men to work digging out the main body. Quite a hole was dug before we came to the meteor, a black pear-shaped object about the size of a barrel. With rock tongs, chains and my pair of Percherons, we dragged this out onto the level. I had hoped that it would be small enough so that I could send the whole thing up to Harvard and perhaps have it set up in front of the Agassiz Museum, marked with a bronze plate bearing my name; but its size precluded this.

My wife, who was present when we hauled it out, remarked: “It looks just like a huge black teardrop or raindrop.”

And sure enough it did. But why not? If raindrops take on a streamline form in falling, why might not a more solid meteor do so as well? But I had never heard of one doing so before. This new idea prompted me to take careful measurements and to submit them to Professor O. D. Kellogg, of the Harvard mathematics department, who was summering at West Chop near by. He reported to me that the form was as perfectly streamlined as it was possible to conceive, but that my surmise as to how it had become so was absurd.

While making these measurements I was attracted by another feature of the meteor. At one place on the side, doubtless where it had struck the big rock, the black coating had been chipped away, disclosing a surface of yellow metal underneath. Also there was to be seen in this metal an absolutely straight crack, extending as far as the metal was exposed, in a sidewise direction.

At the time the crack did not attract me so much as the metal. I vaguely wondered if it might not be gold. But, being reminded of Professor Gerrish’s request for a sample of the meteor, I had one of the men start chiseling off some pieces.

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