before he could fall. Her arm was all gooseflesh, clammy
A story goes that once in the twilight undergrowth of a forest of nut-bearing trees a number of little purblind creatures wandered, singing for nuts. On some of these purblind creatures the nuts fell heavy and full, extremely indigestible, and were quickly swallowed; on others they fell light, and contained nothing, because the kernel had already been eaten up above, and these light and kernel-less nuts were accompanied by sibilations or laughter. On others again no nuts at all, empty or full, came down. But nuts or no nuts, full nuts or empty nuts, the purblind creatures below went on wandering and singing. A traveller one day stopped one of these creatures whose voice was peculiarly disagreeable, and asked "Why do you sing like this? Is it for pleasure that you do it, or for pain? What do you get out of it? Is it for the sake of those up there? Is it for your own sake--for the sake of your family--for whose sake? Do you think your songs worth listening to? Answer!"
The creature scratched itself, and sang the louder.
"Ah! Cacoethes! I pity, but do not blame you," said the traveller.
He left the creature, and presently came to another which sang a squeaky treble song. It wandered round in a ring under a grove of stunted trees, and the traveller noticed that it never went out of that grove.
"Is it really necessary," he said, "for you to express yourself thus?"
And as he spoke showers of tiny hard nuts came down on the little creature, who ate them greedily. The traveller opened one; it was extremely small and tasted of dry rot.
"Why, at all events," he said, "need you stay under these trees? the nuts are not good here."
But for answer the little creature ran round and round, and round and round.