The Sword Swallower

The Sword Swallower

A sideshow came to town, and opened its small tents to all who had a spare coin and a moment to laugh and wonder. An old woman, her hair as gray as an elephant, her back as bent as a monkey’s tail, came to see the sights. She walked past the loud barkers with the balls and the bats, ignored the fat lady and the strong man both, strayed far from the one who was half and half - dress on one side, pants on the other. But she stopped by the striped curtain of the sword swallower, and went in.

”I will swallow this dagger of iron,” the sword swallower said, sliding the sharp blade past his lips. The old woman didn’t clap.

“I will swallow this stick of fire,” the sword swallower said, pushing the flames down his throat. The old woman didn’t clap.

“I will swallow this sword of steel,” he said, and made it disappear into his guts. The old woman didn’t clap.

“Didn’t you like the show?” asked the performer.

“But you always pull them out right away,” sighed the old woman. “In and out, in and out. How about one swallowed long ago?”

The Insect Diviner