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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906.

Ivan Turgenev (1818–1883)

Beneficence and Gratitude

From “Poems in Prose”

ONE day the Supreme Being took it into His head to give a great banquet in His azure palace.

All the virtues were invited. Men He did not ask—only ladies.

There was a large number of them, great and small. The lesser virtues were more agreeable and genial than the great ones; but they all appeared to be in good-humor, and chatted amiably together, as was only becoming for near relations and friends.

But the Supreme Being noticed two charming ladies who seemed to be totally unacquainted.

The Host gave one of the ladies His arm, and led her up to the other.

“Beneficence!” He said, indicating the first.

“Gratitude!” He added, indicating the second.

Both the virtues were amazed beyond expression. Ever since the world had stood—and it had been standing a long time—this was the first time they had met.