The Duchess and the Diver

The Duchess drew back the white curtains to reveal a sopping wet diver in a rubber suit, surrounded by a baker’s dozen white rabbits.

“And what have you been doing?” demanded the Duchess of the diver. “Announce yourself, and we will know you as the Diver, with a capital D!”

But the diver shook his head no. He had been diving for words, words that made him wet. And his spirit shown brightly as he removed his diver’s mask to reveal bright eyes and a smile. (But still his ears remained beneath his rubber cap.)

The Duchess grew envious of the diver and his refusal, but she maintained her calm. “Tell me, should not a diver demand of the curator to become a learned man, to know his work? If the diver is no one, and he dives only for the museum, then what is the ocean but a shallow pool?”

To this, the diver replied, “You will know when I bring you strange creatures rather than pearls, that I dive the trenches.”

But the Duchess knew also the value of a pearl necklace, and so she snatched a rabbit by its ears and broke its neck. This she did also to the second rabbit, then the third. She continued with all the rabbits until she reached for the thirteenth, which she spared.

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