Gateway to the Classics: The Oak-Tree Fairy Book by Clifton Johnson
The Oak-Tree Fairy Book by  Clifton Johnson

The Lost Legs

S EVERAL men of Gotham once sat down on the ground in a circle, and when they wanted to get up their legs were so intermingled that no one could make out which were his.

"Alas!" said they, "what a pity that we sat down thus. We shall never again be able to rise and walk—that is quite plain."

So they remained sitting there very sorrowful and quiet until they saw a traveller passing. They called to him and asked if he could tell them how they might find their legs. The traveller took his cane and pointed out to each man his feet. "Now," said he, "you know where your feet are, all you need do is to stand on them."

But his explanations only confused the men of Gotham the more. "It is of no use," said they. "However, we thank you, sir, for your good intentions."

"Oh, well," said the traveller, "I haven't given up yet. I'll try one more plan."

Then he struck one of the men smartly on the legs with his cane, and that man discovered which legs were his in no time and scrambled away. The traveller served another man in like manner, and a third, and so on till every man tumbled out of the heap and got on his feet.


"How remarkable!" said one of them, "that with the rap of a stick we should discover our legs so quickly when with all our thinking we could not have determined which were which had we sat there a hundred years."

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