A handsome, shining carriage found itself one morning
drawn out of its exclusive shed, and placed between a plow
and a lumber wagon; a variety of farming implements and
household goods were crowded near.
    The carriage held up its glittering top, and its tongue be-
gan to wag disagreeably.
    "I am sure I do not know why this insult is offered me,"
it said in freezing tones.  "I am not accustomed to society
as mixed as this, and I must confess I do not find it agreeable
to be placed between such neighbors."  And it gazed from
one to the other with insolent glances.
    "I do not know how we can harm you," replied the plow.
 "I am so fatigued with a hard week's toil that I could not
injure a fly.  I am so glad of this respite--which I must say
puzzles me-- that I have no desire to criticise my associates."
    "You criticise people!  You indeed!" sneered the carriage,
with an insulting laugh. "Why, what could be lower than
you! Your nose is down under the earth half the time,
crawling about with worms and bugs.  It would indeed be
comical to hear you criticise your associates."
    "The wood you are made of grew out of the earth which
I associate with," replied the plow, "and the iron that holds
you together was dug from the dirt.  It does not pay any of
us to throw stones in this world--we all live in glass houses,
or in houses with glass windows.  But I am too weary to
quarrel with you.  I want a good rest."
    "I am about worn out myself," said the wagon, "and so
the carriage has nothing to fear from me.  I have not yet
recovered from the sad journey I made last week! and yester-
day I think I was obliged to travel thirty miles."
    "I am glad I am not such a slave," sneered the carriage.
"I could not endure to be put to such uses as you are all
obliged to submit to.  I am only used for pleasure, and as
you see, while the rest of you complain of fatigue I am not
at all weary."
    "I think you seem pretty well tired, spoke up the fanning-
mill, who was the wag of the company, and always full of
gas and chaff.  At this pun all the farming implements
burst out laughing, which made the carriage very angry.  It
was too dull to catch the play upon words, and imagined the
laughter to be ridicule.
    "Laugh as you may, I am the one on whom my master
bestows the most attention," it cried.  "He always wears
his best clothes when he goes out with me, and he chooses
me to share his pleasures, while you are merely servants who
toil for him."
    "But for us," said the plow quietly, " he would have no
pleasures or hours of ease to share with you."
    "You all seem to forget that we have no master," said the
wagon sadly. "I carried his body to the country church-
yard a week ago.  I shall never forget that sad journey."
    "We were speaking of the young master," replied the
carriage. "I never knew the old gentleman at all, but I
have always been a great favorite with the young man, and
I really do not understand how he came to place me in this
common crowd.  It was very inconsiderate of him."
    "You ought to be threshed, you little painted upstart,"
suddenly called a loud voice, and everybody turned and saw
the threshing-machine fairly red with anger, glaring at the
    "I'd like to flail you alive," piped up the flail, "and I will
if you don't hold your tongue.  We are all as good as you
are, and we have been here longer and have a better right to
feel proud than you, for we at least earn the ground we
    "What is more, you were never welcome here," spoke up
the wagon with dignity.  " I would not tell you this, but for
your insulting treatment of your betters.  The fact is that
the old master whom we all loved objected to your coming.
I was present at the time you were brought home, and the
old master was much displeased.  He said they could not
afford such an idle luxury.  After you came I heard him
complain to his wife that their son was good for nothing since
your advent among us; that you had made him an idle gad-
    This plain talk tickled the garden rake immensely.  "That's
right, rake him down--he deserves it," it cried.  "He has
always tried to overshadow me with his painted top."
    "Toss him on the turf and I will turn him under," said the
    "You are all jealous of me," retorted the carriage, "but it
will do no good! I shall remain my master's favorite in spite
of your insults."
    Just then along came a great crowd of people, and leading
them walked an auctioneer and the young master, who
seemed broken-spirited and sad.  He was speaking to the
    "I have placed all these things here for you to dispose of ,"
he said, but my creditors have given me permission to keep
the plow and the old wagon.  With those two things I can
begin to live an honest, industrious life.  The other imple-
ments are in excellent condition and will bring good prices
among the neighbors.  But first of all auction off this carriage.
I bought it against my father's wishes and I look upon it as
the cause of all the disaster and bankruptcy which has come
upon us.  It encouraged me in idleness and extravagant
habits.  Sell it for a song if need be--and get it out of my
sight forever."

The Beautiful Land of Nod by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Chicago: Morrill, Higgins & Co. [1892]

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