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The Vagabond


"Knowest thou the mystery of the moon? Darest thus sleep even in its stolen rays? Take care, Vagabond, take care!" There is nothing so uncanny as when a man accidentally sees his pale face by moonlight in a mirror; and at the same time hears wired whispering voices murdering the silence of the night with ambiguous warnings. But so it happened.

It was near midnight, and the Vagabond climbed his old Tower and this time by some queer premonition drew the ladder after him. The old woman had left a fire to welcome the fellow; the candies had burned their life away. Things were different tonight; as if some ominous cloud had set about the Tower. The moon shone into the chamber in a doubtful, suspicious manner. All kinds of weird shapes quivered on the wall. And now there struck a deep-booming, yawning bell. Twelve o'clock!

The Vagabond lay in his four-poster trying to rationalize himself to sleep. But no. No sooner had the iron tongues silenced and a stillness, of death ran over the Tower than a shuffling noise, like the unsteady steps of an old man, came from the narrow corridor. The door groaned on its hinges and: "Knowest thou the mystery of the moon. . .?"

During these several years the Vagabond has learned to expect most anything to happen in his Tower. But this was a bit too much: "Who in h-l are you?"

At last! At last! You see, dear Vagabond, for a long time I've wanted your audience. But the only time I've succeeded in attracting you is when you're with some fair one--and many a pretty tale you've told her about me, too--but, old fellow, it's time you learned the truth. I really have much more to do with your earth besides affecting lovers and inspiring poets. The story of my origin; my mountains and craters; my influence on the sea and hundreds of other things are just as interesting as my love lore. Why not journey to the Astronomical Laboratory and hear my good friend and pupil Dr. Kuiper tell you a bit about me in the morning?"

The Vagabond rolled over and was soon asleep. But this morning he has not forgotten his visitor, and will leave his Tower at ten to hear about the "Origin and Surface Features of the Moon."

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