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Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Student's Newspaper. Volume 31, Number 8. April 30 1968

Schema (from New Unart)

Schema (from New Unart)


A certain man lived alone in a cottage at the top of a hill, and in this cottage he shut himself up, and so was never to be seen in the village which lay at the foot of the hill.

But one morning this man was, altogether without reason, very happy; and one account of this he ran out of his whitewashed cottage, down the green hill, and into the little village.

As he ran through the village he cried with joy and shouted to attract everyone's attention. Soon however he noticed that the inhabitants who greeted him all of them moaned and wailed despondently Everywhere old people lay overcome by infirmity, the daily toil threatened to get the better of the still capable ones, and the few youthful faces to be seen were pale and sickly.

Having surveyed a crowd of such villagers, all of whom began at once to direct all kinds of complaint at the newcomer, the later turned round, seized with fear, and ran all the way up to the top of the green hill, and was so overwhelmed by feelings of sadness that he rushed into his cottage and hanged himself.


The villagers meanwhile, suddenly seized with curiosity about this unfriendly man, ceased their moaning, rushed up the hill in one angry mob, and stormed into the cottage.


Confronted by the hanged man, they were very amused and in fact from that day have never stopped laughing.


Confronted by the hanged man, they were so upset that they rushed back down the hill and hung themselves, yes every one of them, too.


An absurd eccentric! who was bound to hang himself in the end.

... who deluded himself that he was happy, who saw boundless joy in every tear he shed, and was in fact as sad as hell. His sadness due no doubt to his anti-social habits. Maybe, nevertheless, that he one morning looked up at the blue sky, and the nice cotton-wool clouds floating across it, and that he consequently was extra happy.

And so he left his cottage and ran into the village. Of course the people there appeared to him to be moaning: that was just a reflection of his own sadness. Besides, the truth is that there were two villages on opposite sides of the hill. In one they were rejoicing over a good harvest; whilst the crops of the other village had been ruined, so naturally they were in a bad way there—why should he have chosen, inappropriately, that village, instead of running down the other side of the hill to help the rejoicers?


Very likely that the villagers were too concerned with their ruined crops even to notice this useless individual, however odd his appearance. Possible that the village constable climbed slowly and altogether without reason to the top of the hill, upon discovering the corpse was glad to have found a reason for his journey, smiled and took the necessary steps.

P. J. McGrath.