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The Two Hunchbacks

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A MEUEND BY "BADOEB." It waa a vory long tiine ago. But tlio sun shono brightly then as now ; the trees and flowers put forth their leaves, and blossomed in the samo oíd way ; the mon sworo and drank, and tho women gossipod as cnviously of tbeir moro fortúnate sisters as they do now, thongh it was a very long timo ago, and in a foroign country. In tbis country a queer littlo city was nestled in a queer littlo vale, beneath the queerests of snowtipped mountains. And thore weremany queer propio in this city, as thcre havo boen in overy city, beforo or since. Gottlieb Greed was tho chief man in tho city. Ho was the hoad of tho government, and before him were brought all tho offenders against tho poaco whom his six trusty ofh'cers eoidd diacover. In him was vested the power to punish, even unto death, all who in his jiulgment deserved the penalty. Ho, yon seo, Gottlicb Groed was a gveut iman, though ho did live a very long timo ago, and although you never heard of Lim böfore. When Gottlieb Greed was clevated to his proud position in tho queer littlo city, ho was a poor man, tho son of a sausage-rnaker. But Gottliob had rare acqwnemente, ehiof among whioh, in the oyes of the neighbors, was tho faut that ho could preservo a sober identity ander a groater load of beer than any of his gnzzling brethren. Moreover he wa ali orator, and when well filled with tho voluble beveroge he could out-talk any othor citizeu, male or femalo. No wonder, then, that on tho day of his eleotion, whon nH the peoplo assomblod to listra to the nieochos of tho candidatos, GottHeb Groed ascended the rostrum, and, raisiog a keg of beer with his hands, placed the open bung to his capacious mouth, and draiuod every drop witliout a pause, and supplemeuted this foat with the longest and loudest, if not the roost intelligent of the speeches - no wonder, I say, the hoarts and suffrages of his fellow-citizens were capturrd together, and sundown of that day decided Gottlieb Groed to be the Chief Magistrate, as he was the chief of the beer-bibbers of that city. Gottliob's position was fast gaining him great wealtb, and as no travoler iu crossing the mountains could avoid resting awhile in tho city undor his charge, gare him opportimities for fleecing the stranger, he was not slow in availing himself. Still, he did not accumnlate wealth fast enough to suit him. His greatcst treasure was his daughter, but Gottlieb did not know it. A beautiful girl was Minnie Greed, with a sweet and confiding nature, and sho truly loved her father. Therichestas wellasthequeerestof the citizens was a littlo hunchback named Christian Cranky. Christian was the only cliild of wealthy parents, who had idolized him in spite of his deformity, and he had been petted and humored uutil, though the little follow had been namod Christian by his rnisguided parents, he was a very little devil in disposition. But though willful and mean, he had a sharper intellect than any of of his beer-drinking associates, and was one of the first to discover the beauty and value of Minnie Gh-eed. He also had tho courage to sue for her hand, well knowing the failing of the father, and the submissive disposition of the daughter. Of courso Gottlieb was in no way displeased with the prospect of more wealth, and of course Minnie objected strenuously to be thus mated for life, but linding that all her arguments and pleadings only elicited the decisive roply trom Gottlieb: "You must marry the hunchback," like the dutiful daughters of a bygono age, she reconciled herjelf to her fate, to please her great father, and submitted to the attentions of Christian. Christian Crauky had a carriago made oxpressly to assist him in advancing his suit with tho sweet Minnie, and together they would drive through the little city, and up the stoop mountain roads, whero Minnie delighted to watch the giddy caperings of tho waterfalls and cascades, or gaze downward with awo from the brink of tho precipiee. And how Christian would answer tho contemptuous looks he recoived from the well formed young men of the city as he passcd them in Juk line oarriage with the bcwitching en ature at his sido. His pinched and wantod face would whiton with malignant rage as he retnrned their envious gianoei With Kcornful smilos, thinking with satisfaction to himself : " If I am a hunchback, brains and money aro too mtich for you linely-built cIowils." Ohe day, while taking tho accustomed drive, Miiinio was attract'd by a singular object seafed near the principal store of the city. It was the figure of a hünchbaok, as clumsily formed as Christiiin liimwlf. Beiote him was a large 'na.sket fllied with bouquets of wild flowers, ciich irmnged with consummato taste and eare. Bnt little higher thaji the hand of tkebaekfitwas tho head of tho hunehback, displaying a fresh and ruddy face, as bright mul round us the full iHoon, and looking a ploasing as "hu nf lus owii bouquets. "Why, Christian," exoliamed Minnie. " I never saw that poer little boy before. Wliüt, beautiful bouquets he iüis. atop and et me see them." 80 Minnie descended from the earriage and approached tho singular looking vender of flowers. "How do you sell your botWjuet, my boy ?" sho iiskcd. "Pirase take any you wish for one groschen'iepliod the hunchback, Jy displaying them to their best ad van tage. " Why, linw cheap they art'. Wherc do you get them 1" "I galhcr them in the woods near my home, sweet lady, and I arrango them myseíf, so that I can alTord to sell them cheap, as they cost lne nolliing Imt my time." " AVhcro do y oh ive, my poor boy, and whose child are you ?" " I live in the Black Forest, kind lady. My name in Adam Constant, and my ftithcr is the charcoal burner ; luit I atn not a child," he said, unavoidably displaying a beautiful set of teeth, "for I am 19 years old." " Why, you are older thnn I am," said Minnie, astonished, and smiling in return, " I can hard ly believe you. How long have you been selling bouquete ?" ' ' Yesterday was the first time I brought them to town, " replied Adam. ' ' Mother bas been bed-ridden with siekness for sonie time, and father has neglected bis work so mucli that I thought I would ly and make a littlo money to helji BS ilong, and I think I sball do very woll. The walking is the worst part of it. It s eight miles from hereto our home." " You deserve to succeed," said Minnie. " I will take these two bouquete," sho continued, handing him a silvor )tece," ana I don't want auy chango." " O thaük you, young lady, niany imes," cricd Adam, with joyous grntiude beaming from bis fresh, boyish ountcnance, and bright eyes, as Minïic (ripiicd gaily and pleasantly to tho arriago. "That is not a boy, hc is a youug man," exclaimed Minnio to Christlali, is she ro-cntored the carriage. "Anti seo what tasto he has ; he arrang(;d the ilowcrs himself. Yon wouldn't bclieve what a pleasant, nice young man lie is. What a pity he is deformed," she said, forgetfully. " Ho says hc is 19 yoars old. I ara going to patronizo him ovory timo we go out." Christian was cither angry at Minnie's uufortunato allusion to diformity, or (illod with onvy and jcnlousy that this rival lmuchbaek sholtld make moro impression upon Miunio's sym patines, with liis hajipy face and.'goo d-natnrcd eonversatiou, in threo miuutos, tlian lic had in so much time, with all his money and advautages. Oertain it. is that a whitu spot Huddoiily appcnrod ttpon eooh nido of his peaked üoso, and his eyes sparkled viciously. He said little, but meditated mischicf agaiust happy Adam in case Minnie should patronize him. The following day found Adam again at his post, with frcsh flowers in his basket, and freaher smiles on his ful lace. And what a joyotteone bloomed i on his cotmtenanco os ho obseryed the luvoly patrón of the day before direoting Christian to himself. Yes, iigain she cnmo and purehased his bouqiiets, and again did Christian find himself oorapelled to hand over his silver to humor the wliim of the beautiful Minnie. But j this timo he was not prudent cnough to conceal his vexation, and ho upbraided Minnie ae much as ho dared for what he termcd lier foolish patronage of an idle vagabond. And then Minnie got angry with Christian, and told him if ho only had the happy disposition of the " vagabond" she should really liko him, but that he was a hatoful, cross thing, and if he didu't like her opinión of him, ho needn't come to see her again. And then Christian endeavored to soothe her ruffled temper, and at the same time secretly vowed veugeanco upon the uulucky Adam. GÏuïstian ownod many houses in the little city, and among his tenante were the rioh and poor, good and bad. That night Chrislian visited one of the poorest and meanost of his houses, tenauted by two wicked, drunken brothers. He found them at home, and alter plying them with boer, secretly announced the object of his visit, and as he left the btousc a gleam of satisiied picasure overspread his othorwise sour-looking face. He had hired tho wicked brothers to murder poor Adam. Next day found Adam at his post, and again did Christian place a silver piece in Minnie's hand to purchase bouquots, but this time he oven smiled as he did so, as he muttered maliciously to himself : "That is the last Minnio or any one else will give you." On this particular day it was evident by the groups of earnest talkers in every portion of the queer little city that soniething uüusual and of great importance bad transpired, or was to occur, affecting the interests of all, and wheu Adam Constant propared to start on his long tramp for home, a great crowd was gathering before the house of Gottlieb Greed, which was not only his private residence, but tho general rendezvous when public meetings wcre necessary. And Adam followed with the throng to learn the cause of the excitement. A little listening soon gave him the desired information, and his happy, smiling face became as sober and agitated in its expression as that of any congregated about Mm. It appears that tho inaccessible mountain fastnesses in the immediate vicinity of that queer little city had, not niany years before, been the home of a monster known as the Black Giaut. This terrible creature, in the form of a magniñed human being, was sixtecn feet in height, and of immense brute strength. This fact would not have disturbed the peaco of the people, but it was also well known that the giant had a weakuess for human flesh, and formerly nsed to amuse himself by watching the contortions of fear in the faces of tho comparativelyspeaking pigmy residents of the queor little city, whom he captured in his wild retreats, and afterward gratiiied his appetite by transferring them froni their happy homes to a tinal resting-place in liis capacious jaws. This monster was reported to bo back agaiu in his old haunts. No wonder, then, every one was excited ; even the boor was untasted and forgott(!U, and all waited anxiouwly for counsel and advice from their great Chief Magistrate, Gottlieb Greed. Soon a shout of acclamation went up sw tho portly form of this worthy appeared at an open wiudow. But his faoe was palo, and his voice faltered. Though Gottüeb was able to quaü' a keg of bi vr in a single draught, ho feit he was not able to copo with the Black üiaut. All he could do was to conlirni the rumors of the reappeatanee of the monster, and to confess that uo life was safe uniese siinu measnre could be deyised to extermínate him. As an inducem!iit to this end, he declared that any single man who should successfnlly iceomplisli this object, shoulil bo rewarded with his daughter, who had suggeated the proposition, in mamage, and he wished the people to add to this oiler that the choicj of any homo in the city sbould bc conceded as a right to the conqueren of this formidable enemy. To all of which the trembling crowd assented as tlmy stared vaoantly about to discover fome one witli siiilicküit rcisolution and cunning to rid them of the calamity which liad befallen them. The men were appointed and armed to guard the cntrancrs of tho city during tho night, nul Adam hurriedly departed for home to teil his párente the dzeadful nows. To savo timo lie left the highwny and enterad tho forest, to reach home by a shorter route, thinking of the lihtuk Griant in tlie mountains, and wondering what schemo could bo devisod to kill him, and thns secure the lovely Minnie Greed. But poor Adam little thonght what personal danger he was in himself, for if ho had looked suddenly behind him, he would hura discovered two men following closely - tho brothers liired to murder him. Adam had no thouglit of danger to himself. He was now passing a beautifui part of the forest, just as tho sim was sinking in tlie western horizon, juid the shadows of the hngo tree trunks were stretehing their greatest lecgth, like ominoua lingera pointiug to the wicked brotluM behind him. Poor Adam reached a spot near the bank of a ravine, through which danced merrily a clear, pure sti'cam of water. There hc paused in pleasnre as he snrveyed a natural bed of beautiful wild flowei-s, already closing their petals for the night. " Go to sleep, pretty ones," he spoke aloud j "to-morrow, early, when you awako, I shull be hore, and prepare you j for au introduetion 'o a flower loTeliei than either of you - the beautiful JUinnio Greed. And you, dainty one," t;iking a j splendid blossom of tho rose in his i gers, " shall bc head center of the nnest bouquet that can bc culled in the Black Forest." And then Adam quickened his steps for home, a milo distant, gaily whistling as hu went. Immediatelv from behind tlio trees carne the two brothers, ono lookiug angry, tho otlier crest-fallen. " Why wouldn't you step in and finish him hero ?" remarked the iirst, " we conldn't have had a better chance. Auybody wouldn't suppose yon were af raid of the littlo hunchback." " You knerw bctter tban that," replied the ether, BurHly. " But I teil you wliat, I don't like the idea of butchëring a helpleSs object likc that, and don't forget we owe Christian Cranky a grudge for btmdling ns out of our old home iuto the bolo we livo in now. I propose we givc this poor littlo devil a chance to live, and still secure Cranky's gold. Adam will bo bere before sunrise in the morning to piek these flowers. Now let us dig a pit f all for him right under this rosebusb he w:xs talking to, and cover it carefully. ] f he gets in, lic will never get out again, and we can swear to Cranky fbat he is safe eight fèét underground. If be don't got in, he's in luek. We shall get OUI pay auyway to-morrow, and Christian would daro to say mucb about it if he found out we bad swindled bim." Tlus propositiou being accepted, the brotfeera went in qnestóf spades, returning with wbicb they dug a large and deep pit, wide at tbc bottom and narrow nbove, wbicb thoy covercd cunnitigly with willow twigs, and luid over all the Howers which had bloomed on the spot, so that it would have required sbarp oyes and study to discover anythiug suspicious in the appearanco of the ground, and after eoncealing the earth taken f rom the )iit in the littlo streum, tbey left hurricdly, as wild animáis made the l?lack Forest a dangerous place after dark. Early the following morning Adam arose and wended his way to the trap prepared for him, whistling as he went. When he rcached the rosebusb be was saved from falling into the pit by hearing unusual sounds, and looking cautiously about be discovered a rent in the ground at his feet, from whieh the noise proeeeded. Though eonsidorably alarmed, Adam cried out, " Is anybody there?" "Yes,"sídd a weak voice. "Oh, please get me out, I'm so frightened. " " Who are you?" said Adam. " I'm only a poor littlo rabbit," eaid tho weak voice. "But there's a fox in bere, too ; and a bear, and a lion, and I'm eo frightened - please get me out." "Get me out, too," growled the bear. " Go and got a rope," barked the fox, "and I'll get myself out." " Get us all out," roared the liou, " I won't hnrt you, and I'U sec tbat the bcar don't." " Oh pleaso get me out quick," reiterated the rsbbit, " I'm so frightened." Bo Adam hurricd back for a rope, returning with whicb, he fouud the four strange prisoners impatiently waiting him. As be lowered the rope into the pit, the rabbit seized it, and was hauled out by Adam, when the frightened rabbit ran beliind a tree to watch the release of the others. Next came the fox. " Tie ono end of tbc rope to a tree," bo said, "and the bear and the liou will climb out." Adam did so, and a huge brown bear shambled out of the pit, immediately followed by an enormous lion. "Not so fast, gentlemen," cried the fox to these two, as they started off in different directions, "Don't go off without saying, 'thaukyou.' Wait and see if we eau do anything in return for this kindness." Adam then askcd the fox if he could thiuk bow tho pit came there, as it was not thero the night bef ore ; to wbicb the fox replied that he heard two men talking in the forest, and they spoke of their laudlord, Christian Cranky, hiring them to kill a man namod Adam. " That's me," interruptcd Adam. " Tluin they must have dug the pit for you and not for vis," said the fox. " 13ut is there anything we could do for you bef ore we go 1" Adam thonght a moment, and then told the story of tho Black Giaut, and bow happy Ik; should be if he eould rid tlio people of him, and roscue Minuie Greed out of wickod Crauky's hands. The fox then coiisultid wilh the beat and lion, and turning to Adam, aaid : "If you will get your father's best ax, and have the courage to uw il, you shall kill the Black Giant to-day ! Tbenspying the rabbit'a eara behiifl the, tree, he continued : " We shall need you, too, Mr. Kabbit." "Oh I don't want to go," said the rabbit, " I shan't 1ï of any ue, and - I'm so frightened." "Bc quiet," replied the fox. "You are more troubleaome tlian olil old mau's nose. You must go, though, and you ill have notlüng to do but lo see bow fast you cMii run." Then Adam again went home and re: turned with thn ax, and koou tho whole party were. rondiicied by the l'ox through woods and mountailis to Ilie. giout's cave. It was a droadful looking ptóoe, ]itt(ired with bonos on the rocks outside, and the entrance to the cave was low and small, foreing the giant to crawl in and out on hands and linees. A loud, uionotonous sound issucil IVoin the c.ive. The giant was sound asleep and siioring. Boon the terrible roar of a lion heard, waking ] the giant from his sleep. Au he thrüst his huge sliaggy head from the mouth of tlie eave into the open air a rabbit darted by him, qniokly folloyed by a fox, and after the fox i bear, and aftor the bear a lion. "Well," ejaculated the giant, " tbat is the strangest thing I over saw in all my born dayR!" After looking about him in wonder for a short time, he again íetíred to sleep. i In a few tniüutes the roar of the lion Was heard, lotuler than before. Again the 1 giant thrust out his huge, shaggy head ; ; ngain the rabbit darted past his faee ; again followed the fox, and the fox by the bear, and the beax by the lion. "Well, that beats all'that I ever did seo !" said the astonished giant. " lint , I'll put a stop to your little gaaM if you I oome again. So saying he drew baek his head, and held pp his great hands in readiness to pounee on the rabbit in case he should again attempt to pass. Soon the roar of tho lion sounded close to the cave ; tho rabbit was flying past, and the giant in his haute to catch him was sprawling upon tho ground, j when from the sities of tho cavo sprang ] the bear and the lion, each seizing an j of tho giant, and pinning ldni firmly to the rock. Immediately Adam appeared with his ax, and climbing upon the giant's neck, dispatched him without much trouble. How proud Adam telt then, and how pleased was the cunning fox at the suceess of his stratagom. "Please let me go now," Raid the rabbit, " for I om so frigjitened." ' ' Yes, you may go, " Silid tho fox. So the rabbit sought his burrow, and the fox, and the bear, and the lion went thoir several ways, while Adam, after severing a fingor of the giant to get his ring, hastened full of triumph to the queet little city, with tho ring carried about his neck. Another meeting was assombled beforo Gottlieb Greed's house to deviso I mnasures for dispatching the Black (riant. The bcautiful Minnic horself implored tlio peöple to bo valiant and brave. Mingled with the crowd, Christian Cranky was just about to pay the two brothers a sum of money for the smpposed drath of Adam, when his ee eaught sigh t of the radiant face of that worthy himself, and with a stifiod ery of alarm Christian hurried to his home. Adam edged his way to the house of Gottlcib Greed, and in a iirm voieo announoed to the crowd that ho had himself killed tho giant, that he might bo rewardod with tho hand of the beautii'iü Minnie, whom ho truly loved. The people wereincredulous,but when Adam contidontly took tho ring from his shonlders and pmbentetl it to Miimie as a trophy, and deel'ired himself ready to i escort Gkrttltób Grocd and all who would follow to the deail body of the giunt, all feit thi't he told tho truth, and n tremendous shont of aoelamation went up frora tlie miiltitudc, wlio wero speèdily on their way to the giaut's cave. Here the trulli was fnlly rralizod, and after all had satisfied their curiosity with a sight of the monster, ho wan draggcd into his cave - never more to iwake with the roar ; of the lion - and thoentrance elosed with ' sloiics. Tluiii poor Httlo Adam (Jon stant, the huneliback coikmioimi1, was j elevatx'd on tlio .shoulders of talwari, i men and carried in honor to Gottlieb (itvod's honw!. That cveuiiig Adam related the story of Oranky's tivaehery to Minnio and her father. GottiieWa breast swelledlike ai pigeon's with indignation, and ho iinmodiately gave orders that Chxistian Ciranky shonld be arrested as a would-be mnrderer, and brought before him for trial and punishment. Then Gottlieb expressed his satisfacción to Minnie with the remark : "I am tliankfnl, rny daughter, for having boon prevented from saoriñeing yon to that little wretch, Cranky." "Yes, father, so am I ; bnt recoüeet yonr vow - I must marry tlio l back." Gottlieb'e oflicers departed to execute his orders. As thcy a.pproached Jiifj house Christian appeared driving his cairiage, Apparently divining the ! intentiou of the officers, Christian ( turncd from them and lashed his horses into a gallop. Tho officers procured saddle horses and quickly followed him. Away they rattled along the nighway to the mountains, overwliich Christian had so often esoorted Minnie Grocd. Faster and faster rode the oilicers and more I wildly and furiously did Christian lasli j his horses. And now, at headlong speed, the carriago was nonring a point in the high way where Minnio al way s wished to sto]). Here the road made a sharp curvo around a spur of tire mountain, leaving upon one sido a perpendicular precipico, extending a tliousaud feet below the narrow road. Bent only on escaping his pursuers, Christian made 110 efl'ort to j check his dangerous rpood, and in j other instant the carriage went whirling , over tho precipice, dragging the horses with it, and all were dashed to pieces on tho vocks below. The next was another day of j ment in tho qneer litllo city, for the boautiful Minnie Greed was to be married to the hunciiback, who would select any rcsidenc! he ohöse for their future homo. Adani chose the house of Christia.i Cranky, and themarriago took place beforo all the people, who drank long life and happiness to tho victor of the Black Giant and the lovely bride. And as Gottlieb Greed proposed his toast, he performed the fftmous foat of driukiug a keg of beer from tho bung-hole without pausing, and then danced in tho giddy waltz, with his load and his daughter, muid tho iiuzzas of his admirers. 80 Minnio Greed did marry the liunchback, and peaco and liappiness reignod ever after in the queer little city.


Old News
Michigan Argus