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Aristotle of the Books

The friend who can get the wood-cutter to talk more readily than he
will to anybody else went lately to see his old wife. She lives in a
cottage not far from the edge of the woods, and is as full of old talk
as her husband. This time she began to talk of Goban, the legendary
mason, and his wisdom, but said presently, "Aristotle of the Books,
too, was very wise, and he had a great deal of experience, but did not
the bees get the better of him in the end? He wanted to know how they
packed the comb, and he wasted the better part of a fortnight watching
them, and he could not see them doing it. Then he made a hive with a
glass cover on it and put it over them, and he thought to see. But when
he went and put his eyes to the glass, they had it all covered with wax
so that it was as black as the pot; and he was as blind as before. He
said he was never rightly kilt till then. They had him that time
surely!"


1902.

William Butler Yeats