COLUMBUS AND THE EGG
 CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS discovered America on the 12th of
October, 1492. He had spent eighteen years in planning
for that wonderful first voyage which he made across
the Atlantic Ocean. The thoughts and hopes of the best
part of his life had been given to it. He had talked
and argued with
 sailors and scholars and princes and kings, saying, "I
know that, by sailing west across the great ocean, one
may at last reach lands that have never been visited by
Europeans." But he had been laughed at as a foolish
dreamer, and few people had any faith in his projects.
At last, however, the king and queen of Spain gave him
ships with which to make the trial voyage. He crossed
the ocean and discovered strange lands, inhabited by a
people unlike any that had been known before. He
believed that these lands were a part of India.
When he returned home with the news of his discovery
there was great rejoicing, and he was hailed as the
hero who had given a new world to Spain. Crowds of
people lined the streets through which he passed, and
all were anxious to do him honor. The king and queen
welcomed him to their palace and listened with pleasure
to the story of his voyage. Never had so great respect
been shown to any common man.
But there were some who were jealous of the
discoverer, and as ready to find fault as others were
to praise. "Who is this Columbus?" they asked, "and
what has he done? Is he not a pauper pilot from Italy?
And could not any other seaman sail across the ocean
just as he has done?"
 One day Columbus was at a dinner which a Spanish
gentleman had given in his honor, and several of these
persons were present. They were proud, conceited
fellows, and they very soon began to try to make
"You have discovered strange lands beyond the sea,"
they said. "But what of that? We do not see why there
should be so much said about it. Anybody can sail
across the ocean; and anybody can coast along the
islands on the other side, just as you have done. It is
the simplest thing in the world."
Columbus made no answer; but after a while he took an
egg from a dish and said to the company, "Who among
you, gentlemen, can make this egg stand on end?"
One by one those at the table tried the experiment.
When the egg had gone entirely around and none had
succeeded, all said that it could not be done.
Then Columbus took the egg and struck its small end
gently upon the table so as to break the shell a
little. After that there was no trouble in making it
"Gentlemen," said he, "what is easier than to do this
which you said was impossible? It is the simplest thing
in the world. Anybody can do it—after he has been