Books, Fiction, Humor, Short Stories, short-short, Young Adult

“Just How Deep is this Very Deep Well?”

Once upon a time there was a fool who stood looking down into a deep, deep well.

“I wonder,” said the fool to himself, “just how deep that well goes. Oh, if only there was some way to test it!”
Just then, a scampering old hen walked by, and clucked out, “You fool! Why do you stand at the mouth of an old well, looking down into the darkness? Why, you could set me up on the chopping block, cut off my head, pull my feathers, clean my gullet, and have yourself a handsome dinner instead!” (One would of course think that the hen would be rather overjoyed at the prospect of NOT being eaten thusly; but, it never pays to read too much into the motivations and desires of other people. Or, at least, other barnyard fowl, at any rate.)

To this the fool beat his breast and gnashed his teeth and moaned and groaned, and exclaimed, “Oh, Mrs. Hen, I have just been here since sunup try9ing to decided just how deep this very deep well really is! And I have sounded it with a stone, and I have let down a line…but neither have been of much help. Oh! If only there was a way I could find out for certain, and ease my troubled mind; which, once it has fastened on some thorny problem, cannot very well just let it go!”

Suddenly, the fool’s face lit up with a stupid expression, as a terrible idea blossomed in his rather befuddled head.

“I know!” he exclaimed, raising one finger into the air, pointing straight above him with his forearm extended just as he had seen the local school master do, dozens of times. “I will simply toss you in, old hen! And, when you finally get to the bottom, I’ll let down the bucket, and you climb inside. Then, I will pull you back up and you can tell me just how deep this very deep well really is!”

And the hen, not liking this idea very much, clucked and flapped, but, before she knew what was happening, the fool had picked her up and tossed her down the mouth of the well. She clucked up a panicked storm,a nd feathrs flew everywhere, but, down the mouth of the well she went!

And down, and down, until finally–Splat!


“Hello? Mrs. Hen? Have you discovered how deep this very deep well is?”

There was no answer.

“Hm. It seems that Mrs. Hen does not answer me, ” said the fool to himself. “That is most curious. I wonder why.”

He put his finger to his bottom lip and pulled, which was a habit he had when lost deep in concentration. Soon, a fox came creeping up tot he fool at the well, and asked “Have you seen that hen? I’ve been looking all over the barnyard for her, and I cannot find her.”

The fool thought to himself a moment, before asking, “And why, may I ask, have you been looking for Mrs. Hen?”
To which the fox replied, “I’ve been looking for her so I could EAT HER UP. I’m a fox, you see, and she’s a hen, and I’m feeling HUNGRY. Oh! Just point the way to where she’s gone, and I’ll be on my way!”

And the fool thought about this for a moment, before saying, “Well< I'm afraid you'll have to go down the mouth f that well, as that's where she's gone. You see, I wanted to see how deep this very deep well was, so I tossed in the hen, and promised to haul her back up by the bucket when she had finally sounded the depth. But, as you can see for yourself, she does not answer my call."

And the fox, who was a very greedy, hungry fellow at any rate, thought I'll use this fool for my own purposes. If I go down for the hen, I'll get my meal, and then have him haul me back up in the bucket. Very well. That is the proper caper. I'm glad my mother didn't raise a fool.

And so he told the fool, "You must let me down in the bucket, so I can rescue Mrs. Hen, and then pull both of us back up when we are ready. And, while I am down there, I will find out for you just how deep is this very deep well."

And the fool, being delighted by this plan, said, "Oh! That is a wonderful plan, Mr. Fox. Here, jump in the bucket, and I'll let you down so you can get Mrs. Hen, and then, when you both give the signal, I'll pull both of you back up. Agreed?"

And since the fox was, of course agreed to this (since he was the one who had thought of it in the first place) he eagerly jumped in the bucket, and, smiling a wide, foxy grin, said, "Ready when you are, thou fool!"

And so the fool began to let down the rope of the bucket, and the fox disappeared down the dark mouth of the well.

But, just then, something unexpected happened. The rope, being very old, and not being able to support the weight of the fox (who was actually quite lean, but still too heavy for what he was doing) began to unravel, until, finally–it snapped!

The fool was so shocked by this he jumped back, put his hands to his cheeks, and exclaimed "Oh no! The bucket with the fox has fallen into the well, and the rope is broke Now, not only will I not be able to pull the fox and the chicken back up, but I will never know just how deep is this very deep well!"

And, because he didn't know what else to do, he began to cry.

Soon, the farmer came along, carrying his rifle. He saw the fool at the well, and curious, asked him, "Fool, what are you crying about?"

And the fool said, "Oh, sir! It is terrible! A most unfortunate set of events has come about! I simply wanted to know how deep this very deep well really was. So, I tossed in the hen, thinking she might find out for me, and simply fly from the well when she had found out But, she has not made a sound since I threw her down there! So, then I made a deal with the fox, that if he went down and found out just how deep was this very deep well, I'd pull him and the chicken back up to safety after they were done. But, as I was lowering the bucket, the rope broke, and the bucket must have tumbled to the bottom. Where, I know not, as I heard no splash of water. Do you think they could both still be falling? After all, for all I know, this very deep well might be bottomless; for, I have yet to find out just how deep this very deep well really is!"

And at this, the old farmer roared with laughter, and said, bending over with his hands on his knees (for he was really laughing very hard), "Oh, you poor, miserable fool! Hens can't fly! And foxes don't rescue birds; they gobble them whole. And the reason you haven't heard either animal make a single peep is because they are both DEAD. They hit the bottom of that well, which has been bone dry for years, and broke every bone in their bodies. Why, I don't know how anyone could be so stupid as you seem to be, fool, but, damn it, I should throw YOU in the well next!"

And the fool, not liking this last suggestion one bit, turned and tried to find a place to hide from the farmer, whom he thought really did mean to send him down the mouth of the well. But the farmer stopped him suddenly, saying, "Well, if you really do mean to find out just how deep is this very deep well, I tell you what I'll do: I'll tie a stout bit of rope around your waist, and attach the other end to a tree. I'll take up the slack, let you down easy, and you can see for yourself now just how deep is this very deep well. Okay?"

And the fool thought to himself for a moment, and decided that that, finally, might lay the issue to rest. So he stood still with his arms raised while the framer went to retrieve his rope.

When he came back, he had a stout length of rope, with the end tied in a peculiar fashion. The fool raised his arms, and the farmer said, "Here, jsut let me tie this around your aist. The other end is attached to a tree out yonder. I'll throw the slack up over the cross beam where the old bucket once hanged. Then, I'll let you down into the well!"

And the fool was quite agreeable to this. He perched at the edge of the well, with the rope tied around his waist, and, preparing to dive into the darkness like a swimmer, did just that.

The farmer, not ready for this sudden dive into the mouth of the well by the careless fool, had yet to untangle the rope which had become wound, quite by accident, around his legs. He was pulled, with a terrible scream, into the blackness below, with the fool.

Ad both of them hit the rocky, dried-out bottom, crushing the bones of their bodies. And that is where they both are, to this very day,

And the moral of this story is: NEVER trust the word of a fool, his actions, deeds, or ideas, lest you be rendered as foolish as he, and come to a sorrowful end.

Art, Books, Fiction, Murder, Short Stories, short-short, Weird, Young Adult

The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe (Retold by Tom Baker)


True, I am very nervous, as you say. But, you call me “mad,” say that I am crazy. How can you do this? It is true, I’ll admit, my disease has made my senses very sharp, so that I can hear things in heaven, and even things in Hell. But, just because I have such super-sharp senes is no reason to say that I am crazy. Listen to my tale, and you will see just how calmly and cunningly I acted.

I lived with the old man as his servant, and he had never done me any wrong. So don’t you believe for a minute that I hated him. In fact, I loved him almost as much as if he had been my own father. So, I’m not quite sure what it was about him that drove me so mad. I think, ah yes! it must have been his EYE, that weird, yellowy orb with the strange film over it. That eye was hideous to look at, and it made me queasy whenever it fell upon me.

One night, as the old man was lying in his bedroom sleeping, I crept into the room, and, carying a lantern with a shade on it in one hand, I crept into the darkened room, opening the door only so far as to let in the arm carrying the lantern. I put my face to the cack, pulled back the shade from the antern, and let a single beam of light fall from the lantern and strike the old man in his hideous, warped face. Ah! The beam from the lantern fell upon the eye–and it opened! Or, at least, I thought it did. The old man seemed to stir in his sleep, his eyes open. But, he was a very old, tired man, and he must have fallen asleep again almost imemdiately.

It was then I resolved what I had to do to free myself fromt he look of that evil, yellow eye. I must KILL him. I must KILL the old man!

It was just then that, standing there, I began to hear the strangest sound–

Thump! Thump! Thump! Thump!

It was as slow and even as the beating of a drum, and it was just then that I realized what I was hearing: it was his heart! it wad the beating of the old man’s horrible, black heart! Beating as if in terror! So. He was awake,a nd watching me! Watching me in the darkness with that horrible, yellow, EVIL eye.

I jumped forward, grabbed the bedding, and, pressing down on the head of the old man, smothered the life out of him. Oh, he fought and kicked, but I held fast until he stopped squirming!

I pulled back the bedding.

His face was a horrible death-mask. His eyes were open still, including the EVIL yellow eye. I couldn’t look at them, and closed them with my fingers.

Then I pondered what to do. I realized I must get rid of the body, and smuggling out of doors in a neighborhood where the houses were so close together was out of the question. Someone would certainly see me.

So, instead, I decided to cut him into pieces with my hatchet, and bury him beneath the floor boards. Later, maybe I cpuld take the pieces–an arm here, a leg there–out in sacks,a nd ump them in the river. But, for now, burying him beneath the floor boards seemed the best thing to do.

So I got right to work.

Soon, I was done. But sweat and covered in blood from the mess. I carefully cleaned up every spot I could, and then cleaned myself, too. I was exhausted now, and wanted nothing more than to go right to sleep.

I went to my room and threw myself down on the bed.

Curses! I said to myself, as soon as I heard a loud knock at the door. Why can’t they just leave me in peace?

I knew I had better go an answer it, lest someone get suspicious, so I trotted downstairs, and was horrified to find three policemen standing on my doorstep.

“Yes,” I said, “Can I help you?”

The three of them were friendly and smiling, but they said that someone had reported a scream coming from the house, and that the neighbors were concerned. They wanted to know if they could come in, make sure that everything was okay.

I smiled, motioned them in with a wave of my arm, and tried to act as friendly and easygoing as I could, although I was trembling inside. They were all friendly, smiling men, and they quickly looked around the place.

I went and got the three of them some chairs and set them down in the foyer. Each of them continued laughing and smiling, and talking about trivial things, and saying that the neighbors had probably just heard the screeching of some stray cats, and mistaken them for human screams.

I laughed, slapped my knee, said, “Surely, that is the answer to the thing!” But, behind the laughing, flabby faces of the men, I thought I could see something sinister. I thought, maybe, they are laughing at ME, because they know what I’ve done and am trying to conceal. Mybe they’re about to strike.

it was then that I fancied I could hear a ringing in my ears…and this grew louder, more intense. It was just then that I heard:

Thump-thump, thump-thump, thump-thump…

It was that same slow, steady beat, lie the beating of a horrible drum. I put my fingers in my ears, as if scratchign them, tryign to see what could be the matter. Could the three police detectives hear it too? I dn’t now. They continued to laugh and smile, speaking amongst themselves now.

Thump-thump! Thump-thump! Thump-thump!

Oh! what on earth could that be? I didn’t know, but, as the beat grew louder and louder, ore deafening, and their facs continued to be merry masks of laughter and weird, sinister grins, I suddenly lost my nerve.

I sprang up from my chair, knocking it over, and exclaimed, my heart hammering in my chest:

“Oh! Don’t pretend any longer that you don’t suspect what I’ve done. Come on! Rip up the floor boards! There you will find his body parts! Just, don’t torment me any longer! Can’t you hear it? That terrible thumping! It is him, I tell you! It is the beating of his horrible HEART!”

Books, Experimental, New Age, Mystic, Spiritism, Ghosts, automatism

Mind Power (Excerpt)

1. A musical note is like an instance of thought. Timed accordingly, it reverberates along a scale. Each thought resonates to its own frequency. Each thought frequency is a tone along the mental scale. To play upon a thought, then, is like playing a piece of music–some pieces are more or less more complicated than others.

2. Music is a universal language, understood immediately by all, if not always entirely presented in the same way at the same time. Or, put another way, various notes crawl up and down different scales, yet they are all fundamentally the same–simply exuding different frequencies on different levels of vibration.

Mind is the Instrument of Matter

Mind is the instrument of matter, played upon by the music of thought.

Some instruments are finely tune, delicately tuned. Others are distinctly out of tune, or even damaged or broken. (We hope these latter are not beyond repair!)

The music (thought) exuded by one mind will not be heard in quite the same way by the receiving apparatus (instrument) of other minds, many of which will be playing at cross purposes, creating a seeming cacophany.

Delicate instruments will not emit heavy or thunderous sounds, nor will instruments designed, nor will instruments designed and played to emit blunt, unpleasant, or vry loud sounds register as delicate timbrels or tinkling niceties.

You wouldn’t expect a kettle drum to sound like a mandolin, nor a harp to sound like a castanet. Ipso facto, some instruments (minds) send music (thoughts) out to reveivers (brains) that interpret, adapt, or appreciate what they are receiving in entirely different ways. Not everyone will enjoy the same piece of music, or even agree taht what they are collectively hearing IS music–each receiver will be like an old-fashioned radio set tto receive a certain signal; each will tune in on a different band, in other words.

Notes for a Symphony

The individual notes of a selected piece cannot just be re-arranged, willy-nilly, at the behest of a composer or conductor. Each individual note builds on another until, finally, a discernible melody is achieved. each insidividual noe, pointless in and of itself, is an integral part fo the melody when taken together.

Misplace one, and the tune–the auditory illusion, the thought principle itself–loses cohesion, becomes incoherent. It lacks that which defines it easily, the receiver (thought, mind, self) will fal to recognize even the most commonplace tune. If, that is, if a note is left out of the equation (or misplaced).

So tot with the mystery of thought, the frequency of the mind.

A cacophanous din of random thoughts will not produce a clear, dsitinct, or pleasing melody. So to is it with thought, which must harmonize all the variant factors within its own scale of values before a true, wanted signal (music, melody, thought) can replace an inharmonous din of noise, an unwanted interference pattern–unwanted ir unplanned sound. In other words, the ABSENCE of information.


Art, Books, Famous Serial Killers, Hardboiled, Murder, Urban Legends, Weird, Young Adult

“Sweet Fanny Adams”

Every man has the devil inside of him, somewhere.

On the 24th of August, 1867, three little girls were walking on a country lane toward Flood Meadow, near Alton in England. They were Minnie Warner, aged 7, and Elizabeth Adams, aged eight, as wella s her eight year old sister Fanny.

They were soon accosted by a solicitor’s clerk named Frederick Baker, who offered each of the little girls a halfpence to accompany him. Both Minnie ans Elizabeth refused. Baker then grabbed Fanny Adams, abducting her to a desolate hopfield. The other girls ran away.

Baker savagely and viciously mutilated young Fanny Adams, beheading and dismembering her, taking out her eyes, and cutting out her entrails. These he scattered over a wide area. (The eyes were cast into a river, and later retrieved.)

A search party soon found Baker’s grisly handiwork. The man himself was quickly arrested, and confessed everything.

Conviced and sentenced to die, he was lead to the gallows on Christmas Eve, 1864.

He confessed to Fanny’s parents his deep remorse for what he had done in “an unguarded moment.”

It was not long after that a sick joke developed among British sailors, who did not like the tinned mutton they were offered as rations. They began to say their food contained pieces of “Sweet Fanny Adams,” as her body had been dispersed over such a wide area (in other words, some of it ended up at the canning factory, in the food.)

Hence, the term “Sweet Fanny Adams” came to be associated with the idea of having “nothing good,” or “nothing at all.”

In time, everyone forgot how the curious expression first came about.



Holy Family Orphanage

Originally posted on Passages:

During the middle of the Nineteenth Century, the most notorious tenement in the Five Points section of New York was referred to as the “Old Brewery.”

It was a teeming, filthy, squalid place of darkness, a place where poor blacks and Irish immigrants dwelt in disease-ridden rooms, unsafe conditions, crowded into a reeking misery that few people could ever imagine.

It is said (most notably by author Jay Robert Nash), that the unwanted children born in this stinking hellpit sometimes never saw sunlight or breathed fresh air for years…if they managed to survive at all.

It is also said that the place averaged a MURDER A DAY, for an entire year.

Crime was endemic there, as was poverty, prostitution, drunkeness, violence and want. A mother is reported to have left her infant child to rot in her home after it died. She finally managed to dig a grave for the poor…

View original 1,132 more words

Books, Hardboiled, Murder, Short Stories, short-short, Urban Legends, Weird, Young Adult

The Stamp

The woman had lost her son to the Army only a year before. Now, she had some horrible news: apparently he had gone missing from his platoon, and was believed to have been captured. It was all she could to keep from tailspinning into a deep, deep depression. The only thing that kept her going was the knowledge that maybe, MAYBE, she would hear some news soon.

She spent every day on pins and needles, looking in her mailox, wondering if the Dept. of the Army would have any news about her poor, poor son.

Finally, she awoke one day with a sinking premonition. The sun was shining and the birds were singing outside. It was very bright in the home, the sun shinging agaisnt the white walls, and the morning seemingly frozen in a moment of perfection. Still, she couldn’t shake that creeping, half-dreamlike feeling that SOMETHING terrible was about to happen to her.

She went out on the porch to check the mail. It was the usual selection of advertising circulars and bills…no, wait! Here was a letter!

Oh my god! she thought to herself, eyeing the postmark. it was a letter from a foreign land. It was a letter from her son!

She went inside, her hands trembling a little. She set her mail down on the kitchen counter. With trembling fingers she carefully opened the letter, which was postmarked from Vietnam. It had such a curious, Southeast Asian stamp and writing all over it.

She carefully took out the letter. It was her son’s handwriting, sure enough. Oh my! it was glorious sight to her eyes! He was alive! He was alive!

She began to read the letter:

Dear Mom!
I miss you so very much! I am being held a prisoner in a camp run by the glorious North Vietnamese Army! They are treating us very well! There is plenty to eat, lots of medical care, and daily exercise. I am more than happy to be guest of such captors. Mother, I know you don’t know this, but our country is wrong in fighting this war. This is a People’s Revolution attempting to save the country from the Imperialist forces such as the United States. The Vietnamese people are behind the NVA, and they will win…

She frowned. This was her son’s handwriting, but she knew he didn’t rally write this message. It was not him at all. Her son was a die-hard, loyal, patriotic American, and he hated the communists. She put the letter down.

“Oh, well,” she thougth to herself, “at least he says they are treating him well. Even if he was forced to write this horrible screed!”

She suddenly began to examine the envelope. The stamp was partially coming off, and she thought to peel it off, to save it, because it was so unusual. To that end, she went into the kitchen, where she had put on a pot of tea to boil. She held the envelope over the steaming pot, hoping the steam would make the stamp come off easier.

It did just that. She picked the stamp off off the envelope.

“That’s curious,” she said to herself. “There seemed to be something written on the other side. Oh! Junior has wrotten a secret message to me, under this stamp!”

She went to fetch a magnifying glass. She squinted hard at the little stamp. She then gasped in astonishment. She put her hand to her mouth, stifling a scream as her eyes went wide. She dropped the magnifying glass, the stamp, and reeled backward.

It was too horrible to be true. But she knew it WAS TRUE.

The message read: