Thursday, 7 June 2012

"During de Selby's Bartown days he had acquired some local reputation as a savant 'due possibly to the fact that he was known never to read newspapers'. A young man in the town was seriously troubled by some question regarding a lady and feeling that this matter was weighing on his mind and threatening to interfere with his reason, he sought de Selby for advice. Instead of exorcising this solitary blot from the young man's mind, as indeed could easily have been done, de Selby drew the young man's attention to some fifty imponderable propositions each of which raised difficulties which spanned many eternities and dwarfed the conundrum of the young lady to nothingness. Thus the young man who had come fearing the possibility of a bad thing left the house completely convinced of the worst and cheerfully contemplating suicide. That he arrived home for his supper at the usual time was a happy intervention on the part of the moon for he had gone home by the harbour only to find that the tide was two miles out. Six months later he earned for himself six calendar months' incarceration with hard labour on foot of eighteen counts comprising larceny and offences bearing on interference with railroads."

- from "The Third Policeman" by Flann O'Brien.

Picture: "Student-Nihilist" by Ilya Repin (1883)

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