Many years later I am much more equipped to appreciate the impact of his fables. This one bears repeating in full while the "Occupy Wall Street" movement is in full swing worldwide and people exercising their constitutional right to free speech are being condemned as un-American.
The Very Proper Gander
Not so long ago there was a very fine gander. He was strong and beautiful and he spent most of his time singing to his wife and children. One day somebody who saw him strutting up and down in his yard and singing remarked, "There is a very proper gander." An old hen overheard this and told her husband about it that night in the roost. "They said something about propaganda," she said. "I have always suspected that," said the rooster, and he went around the barnyard next day telling everybody that the very fine gander was a dangerous bird, more than likely a hawk in gander's clothing. A small brown hen remembered a time when at a great distance she had seen the gander talking with some hawks in the forest. "They were up to no good," she said. A duck remembered that the gander had once told him he did not believe in anything. "He said to hell with the flag, too," said the duck. A guinea hen recalled that she had once seen somebody who looked very much like the gander throw something that looked a great deal like a bomb. Finally everybody snatched up sticks and stones and descended on the gander's house. He was strutting in his front yard, singing to his children and his wife. "There he is!" everybody cried. "Hawk-lover! Unbeliever! Flag-hater! Bomb-thrower!" So they set upon him and drove him out of the country.
- Thurber's Very Proper Gander isn't quite a creature of our times, but the teabaggers would still know how to deal with him--on Down with Tyranny (from whom I borrowed the graphic rather than scanning it from my copy of the book--thanks!)
- The Very Proper Gander--on Will Grigg's Liberty Minute, a blog that possibly proves my belief that the left and the right meet on occasion if you go around far enough. Best line: ". . . people lose their minds in packs, and come to their senses one at a time."