No. 1.—The Organ-Grinder.

“Mother,” said the clever little girl, “look at that funny man over there with the funny machine! Who is he?”

“That man is an organ-grinder, dear child, and if you knew how useful he was you would not think him funny at all.”

“Indeed? Oh, do tell me what he does, mother, for I love to hear you explain things. What is that machine that makes such funny noises, and why is he cranking it like that?”

“He is grinding organs, my dear. When old churches have no more need of their pipe organs, whether because they have replaced them with electrical imitations or because they prefer to sing anaemic folk songs backed by three chords on a guitar, they sell their old organs to this man, and he grinds them into compost.”

“But what are those loud tooting noises I hear from his machine?”

“Those, clever child, are the last agonies of a dying pipe organ. It is a cruel but necessary business, just as I told you when we went to see your uncle’s abattoir.”

“But, mother, what does he do with the compost when he has ground the organs?”

“He sells it to garden centers and farms, where it may even be used to grow new organs of the electrical sort.”

“How useful he is, then! I do not think him funny at all anymore. But one thing I have forgot to ask, dear mother, because I love hearing you talk so much. Why does he keep that funny little monkey with him? What does the monkey do?”

“That little monkey is the man’s administrative assistant, my dear. He sends the monkey around to pay people for bringing in organs to be ground. In a little while, you will see the monkey come around with a hat full of money. Then you should take a few coins from the hat, and the next time we find an organ for which no one has a use anymore, we shall bring it to the organ-grinder, and he will be very pleased to grind it.”