“I am teaching myself to become a magician,” Byron announced.
“Indeed,” replied Shelley. “And how are you Doing that?”
“Observe!” Byron declared.
He produced a white rat, and three brightly colored strings of green, red, and blue.
“This is my rat; I call him Keats. I have educated Keats so that the ingestion of each string triggers a previously-trained habit,” Byron explained. “For instance—the dancing habit!” he cried, and fed Keats the green string, whereupon the rat immediately began to do an Irish jig.
When Byron pulled the green string out, he cried: “The somersault habit!” and fed Keats the red string, at which point the rat began to do forwards and backwards somersaults across the floor.
“And the sitting habit!” Byron said, pulling the red string out and feeding Keats the blue string. The rat gobbled up the string and immediately sat on its haunches and lowered its head into its forepaws like a miniature human lost in thought.
“That is all quite Remarkable in its own Way,” Shelley admitted, “but these so-called Habits of yours are not Magic. What this tiny Creature is doing is simply the end Result of Discipline and Practice. That does not make you a Magician.”
“Of course I’m a magician,” Byron declared, grabbing the end of the blue thread sticking out of Keats’ mouth. “Watch me pull a habit out of my rat.”
Copyright 2015 Matthew J Wells