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The Storm Shifts the Signboards

The weathercock flew over to the roof of the opposite house, and there it remained - a picture of the darkest wickedness, said the neighbors.

The cooper's barrel was hung just under the sign for "Ladies' Apparel."

The restaurant's menu, which hung in a heavy frame near the door, was placed by the storm just over the entrance to the theater, where nobody ever went. It was a comical program, "Horseradish Soup and Stuffed Cabbage," but it made people go in.

The furrier's foxskin, which was his respectable sign, was hung on the bellpull of the young man who always went to morning church services looking like a folded umbrella, strove for the truth, and was "a model young man," said his aunt.

The sign "Establishment for Higher Education" was moved to the pool hall, and the Establishment itself received a board inscribed, "Babies Brought up Here by the Bottle." This wasn't really witty, only naughty; but the storm did it, and we can't control a storm.

It was a terrible night; and by morning, just think, nearly every signboard in town had been moved! In some cases it was done with so much malice that Grandfather wouldn't talk about it, but he laughed inwardly; I could see that, and it is possible he was up to some mischief.

The poor inhabitants of the big town, especially those that were not familiar with it, were all mixed up figuring out who was who; they couldn't help it when they judged by the signboards. Some people who thought they were coming to a solemn meeting of the town elders, assembled to discuss highly important matters, found themselves instead in a school full of noisy boys just about to jump over their desks.

There were even some people who mistook the church for the theater; and that was really awful!

There has never been such a storm in our days; only Grandfather saw one, and that was when he was a very little boy. Such a storm may never come in our time, but it may in our grandchildren's, and then we must hope and pray that they will keep indoors while the storm shifts the signboards!

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