THE PROMINENT MAN
NCE a prominent man was hurrying to his business; and as
he hurried along the street, he slipped on a piece of ice,
and fell and broke his leg. He
was carried home on a stretcher, and lay on his bed in
pain of body and distress of mind.
"What will become of everything?" he cried. "By now I
should have been at the committee-meeting, where they
can do nothing without me. This afternoon there is a
directors' meeting, where I was to be chairman, and this
evening I am engaged to lecture on a subject of vital
importance. This means disaster to the State, and it may be
to the whole country. It is terrible!"
Just then came in the Angel-who-attends-to-things.
 "How are you feeling?" asked the Angel.
"Oh, I am in a dreadful condition!" said the man. "I
slipped on a piece of ice this morning, and broke my
"Yes," said the Angel; "I saw you fall."
"But," said the man, "my pain, which by the way is very
severe" (for he did not think the Angel looked sympathetic
enough), "is the smallest part of it. I should by now be at
a committee-meeting, where they can do nothing without
me. This afternoon there is a directors' meeting, where I
was to be chairman; and this evening I was engaged to
lecture on a subject of vital interest. This means disaster
to the State, and it may be to the whole country." And
he groaned aloud.
"Oh, well," said the Angel, "I would not worry about all
that, if I were you."
"Not worry!" said the prominent man.
"No," said the Angel. "The truth is, I put that
piece of ice there myself. I wanted to get rid of you."
"Get rid of—" said the prominent
man; and the rest was gasps.
 "Yes," said the Angel. "You see, I
want you at
the committee-meeting. There is a new man ready
to come forward who knows much more than you, and if you
had been there he would have been too modest to speak.
Then, the directors are going to take action this afternoon
on that important case, and if you were there they would
vote the wrong way. As to the lecture, it would do more
harm than good just now; but when the crisis is passed, you
may deliver it without doing any serious damage. So you
"Good heavens!" cried the prominent man. "Am I
awake, or is this a dream?"
"More or less," said the Angel. "It is what you call Life."
"But—but—but—" cried the man,
"this is terrible! You don't know anything about
"My dear soul," said the Angel, "what do you take me
for?" and he went away, and told the nurse to give her
patient a composing draught.
Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics