Extracts from Adam's Diary, translated from the original ms. eBook: Page2

Mark Twain (2004)

to theirwont, all of a sudden they broke into a tempest of frightful noises,and in one moment the plain was in a frantic commotion and everybeast was destroying its neighbor. I knew what it meant--Eve hadeaten that fruit, and death was come into the world.... Thetigers ate my horse, paying no attention when I ordered them todesist, and they would even have eaten me if I had stayed--whichI didn't, but went away in much haste.... I found this place,outside the Park, and was fairly comfortable for a few days, butshe has found me out. Found me out, and has named the placeTonawanda--says it looks like that. In fact, I was not sorry shecame, for there are but meagre pickings here, and she brought someof those apples. I was obliged to eat them, I was so hungry. Itwas against my principles, but I find that principles have no realforce except when one is well fed.... She came curtained inboughs and bunches of leaves, and when I asked her what she meantby such nonsense, and snatched them away and threw them down, shetittered and blushed. I had never seen a person titter and blushbefore, and to me it seemed unbecoming and idiotic. She said Iwould soon know how it was myself. This was correct. Hungry asI was, I laid down the apple half eaten--certainly the best one Iever saw, considering the lateness of the season--and arrayedmyself in the discarded boughs and branches, and then spoke to herwith some severity and ordered her to go and get some more and notmake such a spectacle of herself. She did it, and after this wecrept down to where the wild-beast battle had been, and collectedsome skins, and I made her patch together a couple of suits properfor public occasions. They are uncomfortable, it is true, butstylish, and that is the main point about clothes. ... I findshe is a good deal of a companion. I see I should be lonesome anddepressed without her, now that I have lost my property. Anotherthing, she says it is ordered that we work for our living hereafter.She will be useful. I will superintend.

  Ten Days Later

  She accuses me of being the cause of our disaster! She says, withapparent sincerity and truth, that the Serpent assured her thatthe forbidden fruit was not apples, it was chestnuts. I said Iwas innocent, then, for I had not eaten any chestnuts. She saidthe Serpent informed her that "chestnut" was a figurative termmeaning an aged and mouldy joke. I turned pale at that, for Ihave made many jokes to pass the weary time, and some of them couldhave been of that sort, though I had honestly supposed that theywere new when I made them. She asked me if I had made one justat the time of the catastrophe. I was obliged to admit that I hadmade one to myself, though not aloud. It was this. I was thinkingabout the Falls, and I said to myself, "How wonderful it is to seethat vast body of water tumble down there!" Then in an instant abright thought flashed into my head, and I let it fly, saying, "Itwould be a deal more wonderful to see it tumble up there!"--and Iwas just about to kill myself with laughing at it when all naturebroke loose in war and death, and I had to flee for my life."There," she said, with triumph, "that is just it; the Serpentmentioned that very jest, and called it the First Chestnut, andsaid it was coeval with the creation." Alas, I am indeed to blame.Would that I were not witty; oh, would that I had never had thatradiant thought!

  Next Year

  We have named it Cain. She caught it while I was up countrytrapping on the North Shore of the Erie; caught it in the timbera couple of miles from our dug-out--or it might have been four,she isn't certain which. It resembles us in some ways, and maybe a relation. That is what she thinks, but this is an error,in my judgment. The difference in size warrants the conclusionthat it is a different and new kind of animal--a fish, perhaps,though when I put it in the water to see, it sank, and she plungedin and snatched it out before there was opportunity for theexperiment to determine the matter. I still think it is a fish,but she is indifferent about what it is, and will not let me haveit to try. I do not understand this. The coming of the creatureseems to have changed her whole nature and made her unreasonableabout experiments. She thinks more of it than she does of any ofthe other animals, but is not able to explain why. Her mind isdisordered--everything shows it. Sometimes she carries the fishin her arms half the night when it complains and wants to get tothe water. At such times the water comes out of the places inher face that she looks out of, and she pats the fish on the backand makes soft sounds with her mouth to soothe it, and betrayssorrow and solicitude in a hundred ways. I have never seen herdo like this with any other fish, and it troubles me greatly. Sheused to carry the young tigers around so, and play with them,before we lost our property; but it was only play; she never tookon about them like this when their dinner disagreed with them.


  She doesn't work Sundays, but lies around all tired out, and likesto have the fish wallow over her; and she makes fool noises toamuse it, and pretends to chew its paws, and that makes it laugh.I have not seen a fish before that could laugh. This makes medoubt.... I have come to like Sunday myself. Superintendingall the week tires a body so. There ought to be more Sundays.In the old days they were tough, but now they come handy.


  It isn't a fish. I cannot quite make out what it is. It makescurious, devilish noises when not satisfied, and says "goo-goo"when it is. It is not one of us, for it doesn't walk; it is nota bird, for it doesn't fly; it is not a frog, for it doesn't hop;it is not a snake, for it doesn't crawl; I feel sure it is not afish, though I cannot get a chance to find out whether it can swimor not. It merely lies around, and mostly on its back, with itsfeet up. I have not seen any other animal do that before. I saidI believed it was an enigma, but she only admired the word withoutunderstanding it. In my judgment it is either an enigma or somekind of a bug. If it dies, I will take it apart and see what itsarrangements are. I never had a thing perplex me so.

  Three Months Later

  The perplexity augments instead of diminishing. I sleep but little.It has ceased from lying around, and goes about on its four legsnow. Yet it differs from the other four-legged animals in thatits front legs are unusually short, consequently this causes themain part of its person to stick up uncomfortably high in the air,and this is not attractive. It is built much as we are, but itsmethod of travelling shows that it is not of our breed. The shortfront legs and long hind ones indicate that it is of the kangaroofamily, but it is a marked variation of the species, since thetrue kangaroo hops, whereas this one never does. Still, it is acurious and interesting variety, and has not been catalogued before.As I discovered it, I have felt justified in securing the creditof the discovery by attaching my name to it, and hence have calledit Kangaroorum Adamiensis.... It must have been a young onewhen it came, for it has grown exceedingly since. It must be fivetimes as big, now, as it was then, and when discontented is ableto make from twenty-two to thirty-eight times the noise it madeat first. Coercion does not modify this, but has the contraryeffect. For this reason I discontinued the system. She reconcilesit by persuasion, and by giving it things which she had previouslytold it she wouldn't give it. As already observed, I was not athome when it first came, and she told me she found it in the woods.It seems odd that it should be the only one, yet it must be so,for I have worn myself out these many weeks trying to find anotherone to add to my collection, and for this one to play with; forsurely then it would be quieter, and we could tame it more easily.But I find none, nor any vestige of any; and strangest of all, notracks. It has to live on the ground, it cannot help itself;therefore, how does it get about without leaving a track? I haveset a dozen traps, but they do no good. I catch all small animalsexcept that one; animals that merely go into the trap out ofcuriosity, I think, to see what the milk is there for. They neverdrink it.

  Three Months Later

  The kangaroo still continues to grow, which is very strange andperplexing. I never knew one to be so long getting its growth.It has fur on its head now; not like kangaroo fur, but exactlylike our hair, except that it is much finer and softer, and insteadof being black is red. I am like to lose my mind over the capriciousand harassing developments of this unclassifiable zoological freak.If I could catch another one--but that
is hopeless; it is a newvariety, and the only sample; this is plain. But I caught a truekangaroo and brought it in, thinking that this one, being lonesome,would rather have that for company than have no kin at all, or anyanimal it could feel a nearness to or get sympathy from in itsforlorn condition here among strangers who do not know its waysor habits, or what to do to make it feel that it is among friends;but it was a mistake--it went into such fits at the sight of thekangaroo that I was convinced it had never seen one before. Ipity the poor noisy little animal, but there is nothing I can doto make it happy. If I could tame it--but that is out of thequestion; the more I try, the worse I seem to make it. It grievesme to the heart to see it in its little storms of sorrow andpassion. I wanted to let it go, but she wouldn't hear of it. Thatseemed cruel and not like her; and yet she may be right. It mightbe lonelier than ever; for since I