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An Almost Ordinary Love Story

Instead of flowers, he brought her another broken umbrella. She put it in a vase and filled the vase with water. The next day the umbrella opened.


At the robot exhibition, I saw a child-robot blowing on a groundsel. That’s all it knew how to do: blow on a groundsel. I’d never seen a happier robot.

The Perfume of Books

I heard about one of the Kings of the South that instructed his kingdom’s alchemists to concoct a perfume that smelled just like old books. Oh, the alchemists rejoiced, finally an easier task than distilling gold out of urine. They worked day and night, mangling books and burning covers and crumbling pages and reaching fairly acceptable results and nearly discovering penicillin on the way. But one night the king choked and died in his sleep. His beloved son who succeeded him had a deep grave dug for his father in the heart of the desert, where he would be interred along with all his wives and servants and camels and books. The final formula for the book perfume was authored by one of the alchemists on the margins of a book that was also tossed into the grave. And other storytellers add that dirt, as it does in spring and in fall, covered it all.

Translated by Yardenne Greenspan.

Samples: Text
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