Extracts From Adam's Diary
by Mark Twain
Extracts From Adam's Diary
Translated from the original MS.
[NOTE.--I translated a portion of this diary some years ago, and a
friend of mine printed a few copies in an incomplete form, but the
public never got them. Since then I have deciphered some more of
Adam's hieroglyphics, and think he has now become sufficiently
important as a public character to justify this publication.--M. T.]
This new creature with the long hair is a good deal in the way. It
is always hanging around and following me about. I don't like this; I
am not used to company. I wish it would stay with the other animals.
Cloudy to-day, wind in the east; think we shall have rain. ...
Where did I get that word? ... I remember now-- the new creature
Been examining the great waterfall. It is the finest thing on the
estate, I think. The new creature calls it Niagara Falls--why, I am
sure I do not know. Says it looks like Niagara Falls. That is not a
reason; it is mere waywardness and imbecility. I get no chance to
name anything myself. The new creature names everything that comes
along, before I can get in a protest. And always that same pretext is
offered--it looks like the thing. There is the dodo, for instance.
Says the moment one looks at it one sees at a glance that it "looks
like a dodo." It will have to keep that name, no doubt. It wearies
me to fret about it, and it does no good, anyway. Dodo! It looks no
more like a dodo than I do.
Built me a shelter against the rain, but could not have it to
myself in peace. The new creature intruded. When I tried to put it
out it shed water out of the holes it looks with, and wiped it away
with the back of its paws, and made a noise such as some of the other
animals make when they are in distress. I wish it would not talk; it
is always talking. That sounds like a cheap fling at the poor
creature, a slur; but I do not mean it so. I have never heard the
human voice before, and any new and strange sound intruding itself
here upon the solemn hush of these dreaming solitudes offends my ear
and seems a false note. And this new sound is so close to me; it is
right at my shoulder, right at my ear, first on one side and then on
the other, and I am used only to sounds that are more or less distant
The naming goes recklessly on, in spite of anything I can do. I
had a very good name for the estate, and it was musical and pretty--
GARDEN-OF-EDEN. Privately, I continue to call it that, but not any
longer publicly. The new creature says it is all woods and rocks and
scenery, and therefore has no resemblance to a garden. Says it looks
like a park, and does not look like anything but a park.
Consequently, without consulting me, it has been new-named-- NIAGARA
FALLS PARK. This is sufficiently high-handed, it seems to me. And
already there is a sign up:
My life is not as happy as it was.
The new creature eats too much fruit. We are going to run short,
most likely. "We" again--that is its word; mine too, now, from
hearing it so much. Good deal of fog this morning. I do not go out
in the fog myself. The new creature does. It goes out in all
weathers, and stumps right in with its muddy feet. And talks. It used
to be so pleasant and quiet here.
Pulled through. This day is getting to be more and more trying.
It was selected and set apart last November as a day of rest. I
already had six of them per week, before. This morning found the new
creature trying to clod apples out of that forbidden tree.
The new creature says its name is Eve. That is all right, I have
no objections. Says it is to call it by when I want it to come. I
said it was superfluous, then. The word evidently raised me in its
respect; and indeed it is a large, good word, and will bear
repetition. It says it is not an It, it is a She. This is probably
doubtful; yet it is all one to me; what she is were nothing to me if
she would but go by herself and not talk.
She has littered the whole estate with execrable names and
THIS WAY TO THE WHIRLPOOL.
THIS WAY TO GOAT ISLAND.
CAVE OF THE WINDS THIS WAY.
She says this park would make a tidy summer resort, if there was
any custom for it. Summer resort--another invention of hers--just
words, without any meaning. What is a summer resort? But it is best
not to ask her, she has such a rage for explaining.
She has taken to beseeching me to stop going over the Falls. What
harm does it do? Says it makes her shudder. I wonder why. I have
always done it--always liked the plunge, and the excitement, and the
coolness. I supposed it was what the Falls were for. They have no
other use that I can see, and they must have been made for something.
She says they were only made for scenery--like the rhinoceros and the
I went over the Falls in a barrel--not satisfactory to her. Went
over in a tub--still not satisfactory. Swam the Whirlpool and the
Rapids in a fig-leaf suit. It got much damaged. Hence, tedious
complaints about my extravagance. I am too much hampered here. What
I need is change of scene.
I escaped last Tuesday night, and travelled two days, and built me
another shelter, in a secluded place, and obliterated my tracks as
well as I could, but she hunted me out by means of a beast which she
has tamed and calls a wolf, and came making that pitiful noise again,
and shedding that water out of the places she looks with. I was
obliged to return with her, but will presently emigrate again, when
occasion offers. She engages herself in many foolish things: among
others, trying to study out why the animals called lions and tigers
live on grass and flowers, when, as she says, the sort of teeth they
wear would indicate that they were intended to eat each other. This
is foolish, because to do that would be to kill each other, and that
would introduce what, as I understand it, is called "death;" and
death, as I have been told, has not yet entered the Park. Which is a
pity, on some accounts.
I believe I see what the week is for: it is to give time to rest
up from the weariness of Sunday. It seems a good idea. ... She has
been climbing that tree again. Clodded her out of it. She said
nobody was looking. Seems to consider that a sufficient justification
for chancing any dangerous thing. Told her that. The word
justification moved her admiration--and envy too, I thought. It is a
She told me she was made out of a rib taken from my body. This is
at least doubtful, if not more than that. I have not missed any rib.
... She is in much trouble about the buzzard; says grass does not
agree with it; is afraid she can't raise it; thinks it was intended to
live on decayed flesh. The buzzard must get along the best it can
with what is provided. We cannot overturn the whole scheme to
accommodate the buzzard.
She fell in the pond yesterday, when she was looking at herself in
it, which she is always doing. She nearly strangled, and said it was
most uncomfortable. This made her sorry for the creatures which live
in there, which she calls fish, for she continues to fasten names on
to things that don't need them and don't come when they are called by
them, which is a matter of no consequence to her, as she is such a
numskull anyway; so she got a lot of them out and brought them in last
night and put them in my bed to keep warm, but I have noticed them now
and then all day, and I don't see that they are any happier there than
they were before, only quieter. When night comes I shall throw them
out-doors. I will not sleep with them again, for I find them clammy
and unpleasant to lie among when a person hasn't anything on.
She has taken up with a snake now. The other animals are glad,
for she was always experimenting with them and bothering them; and I
am glad, because the snake talks, and this enables me to get a rest.
She says the snake advises her to try the fruit of that tree, and
says the result will be a great and fine and noble education. I told
her there would be another result, too--it would introduce death into
the world. That was a mistake--it had been better to keep the remark
to myself; it only gave her an idea--she could save the sick buzzard,
and furnish fresh meat to the despondent lions and tigers. I advised
her to keep away from the tree. She said she wouldn't. I foresee
trouble. Will emigrate.
I have had a variegated time. I escaped that night, and rode a
horse all night as fast as he could go, hoping to get clear out of
the Park and hide in some other country before the trouble should
begin; but it was not to be. About an hour after sunup, as I was
riding through a flowery plain where thousands of animals were
grazing, slumbering, or playing with each other, according to their
wont, all of a sudden they broke into a tempest of frightful noises,
and in one moment the plain was in a frantic commotion and every
beast was destroying its neighbor. I knew what it meant--Eve had
eaten that fruit, and death was come into the world. ... The tigers
ate my horse, paying no attention when I ordered them to desist, and
they would even have eaten me if I had stayed--which I didn't, but
went away in much haste. ... I found this place, outside the Park,
and was fairly comfortable for a few days, but she has found me out.
Found me out, and has named the place Tonawanda--says it looks like
that. In fact, I was not sorry she came, for there are but meagre
pickings here, and she brought some of those apples. I was obliged to
eat them, I was so hungry. It was against my principles, but I find
that principles have no real force except when one is well fed. ...
She came curtained in boughs and bunches of leaves, and when I asked
her what she meant by such nonsense, and snatched them away and threw
them down, she tittered and blushed. I had never seen a person titter
and blush before, and to me it seemed unbecoming and idiotic. She
said I would soon know how it was myself. This was correct. Hungry
as I was, I laid down the apple half eaten--certainly the best one I
ever saw, considering the lateness of the season--and arrayed myself
in the discarded boughs and branches, and then spoke to her with some
severity and ordered her to go and get some more and not make such a
spectacle of herself. She did it, and after this we crept down to
where the wild-beast battle had been, and collected some skins, and I
made her patch together a couple of suits proper for public occasions.
They are uncomfortable, it is true, but stylish, and that is the main
point about clothes. ... I find she is a good deal of a companion.
I see I should be lonesome and depressed without her, now that I have
lost my property. Another thing, she says it is ordered that we work
for our living hereafter. She will be useful. I will superintend.
Ten Days Later
She accuses me of being the cause of our disaster! She says, with
apparent sincerity and truth, that the Serpent assured her that the
forbidden fruit was not apples, it was chestnuts. I said I was
innocent, then, for I had not eaten any chestnuts. She said the
Serpent informed her that "chestnut" was a figurative term meaning an
aged and mouldy joke. I turned pale at that, for I have made many
jokes to pass the weary time, and some of them could have been of that
sort, though I had honestly supposed that they were new when I made
them. She asked me if I had made one just at the time of the
catastrophe. I was obliged to admit that I had made one to myself,
though not aloud. It was this. I was thinking about the Falls, and I
said to myself, "How wonderful it is to see that vast body of water
tumble down there!" Then in an instant a bright thought flashed into
my head, and I let it fly, saying, "It would be a deal more wonderful
to see it tumble up there!"--and I was just about to kill myself with
laughing at it when all nature broke loose in war and death, and I had
to flee for my life. "There," she said, with triumph, "that is just
it; the Serpent mentioned that very jest, and called it the First
Chestnut, and said it was coeval with the creation." Alas, I am
indeed to blame. Would that I were not witty; oh, would that I had
never had that radiant thought!
We have named it Cain. She caught it while I was up country
trapping on the North Shore of the Erie; caught it in the timber a
couple of miles from our dug-out--or it might have been four, she
isn't certain which. It resembles us in some ways, and may be a
relation. That is what she thinks, but this is an error, in my
judgment. The difference in size warrants the conclusion that it is a
different and new kind of animal--a fish, perhaps, though when I put
it in the water to see, it sank, and she plunged in and snatched it
out before there was opportunity for the experiment to determine the
matter. I still think it is a fish, but she is indifferent about what
it is, and will not let me have it to try. I do not understand this.
The coming of the creature seems to have changed her whole nature and
made her unreasonable about experiments. She thinks more of it than
she does of any of the other animals, but is not able to explain why.
Her mind is disordered--everything shows it. Sometimes she carries
the fish in her arms half the night when it complains and wants to get
to the water. At such times the water comes out of the places in her
face that she looks out of, and she pats the fish on the back and
makes soft sounds with her mouth to soothe it, and betrays sorrow and
solicitude in a hundred ways. I have never seen her do like this with
any other fish, and it troubles me greatly. She used to carry the
young tigers around so, and play with them, before we lost our
property; but it was only play; she never took on about them like this
when their dinner disagreed with them.
She doesn't work Sundays, but lies around all tired out, and likes
to have the fish wallow over her; and she makes fool noises to amuse
it, and pretends to chew its paws, and that makes it laugh. I have not
seen a fish before that could laugh. This makes me doubt. ... I
have come to like Sunday myself. Superintending all the week tires a
body so. There ought to be more Sundays. In the old days they were
tough, but now they come handy.
It isn't a fish. I cannot quite make out what it is. It makes
curious, devilish noises when not satisfied, and says "goo-goo" when
it is. It is not one of us, for it doesn't walk; it is not a bird,
for it doesn't fly; it is not a frog, for it doesn't hop; it is not a
snake, for it doesn't crawl; I feel sure it is not a fish, though I
cannot get a chance to find out whether it can swim or not. It merely
lies around, and mostly on its back, with its feet up. I have not
seen any other animal do that before. I said I believed it was an
enigma, but she only admired the word without understanding it. In my
judgment it is either an enigma or some kind of a bug. If it dies, I
will take it apart and see what its arrangements are. I never had a
thing perplex me so.
Three Months Later
The perplexity augments instead of diminishing. I sleep but
little. It has ceased from lying around, and goes about on its four
legs now. Yet it differs from the other four-legged animals in that
its front legs are unusually short, consequently this causes the main
part of its person to stick up uncomfortably high in the air, and this
is not attractive. It is built much as we are, but its method of
travelling shows that it is not of our breed. The short front legs
and long hind ones indicate that it is of the kangaroo family, but it
is a marked variation of the species, since the true kangaroo hops,
whereas this one never does. Still, it is a curious and interesting
variety, and has not been catalogued before. As I discovered it, I
have felt justified in securing the credit of the discovery by
attaching my name to it, and hence have called it Kangaroorum
Adamiensis. ... It must have been a young one when it came, for it
has grown exceedingly since. It must be five times as big, now, as it
was then, and when discontented is able to make from twenty-two to
thirty-eight times the noise it made at first. Coercion does not
modify this, but has the contrary effect. For this reason I
discontinued the system. She reconciles it by persuasion, and by
giving it things which she had previously told it she wouldn't give
it. As already observed, I was not at home when it first came, and
she told me she found it in the woods. It seems odd that it should be
the only one, yet it must be so, for I have worn myself out these many
weeks trying to find another one to add to my collection, and for this
one to play with; for surely then it would be quieter, and we could
tame it more easily. But I find none, nor any vestige of any; and
strangest of all, no tracks. It has to live on the ground, it cannot
help itself; therefore, how does it get about without leaving a track?
I have set a dozen traps, but they do no good. I catch all small
animals except that one; animals that merely go into the trap out of
curiosity, I think, to see what the milk is there for. They never
Three Months Later
The kangaroo still continues to grow, which is very strange and
perplexing. I never knew one to be so long getting its growth. It
has fur on its head now; not like kangaroo fur, but exactly like our
hair, except that it is much finer and softer, and instead of being
black is red. I am like to lose my mind over the capricious and
harassing developments of this unclassifiable zoological freak. If I
could catch another one--but that is hopeless; it is a new variety,
and the only sample; this is plain. But I caught a true kangaroo and
brought it in, thinking that this one, being lonesome, would rather
have that for company than have no kin at all, or any animal it could
feel a nearness to or get sympathy from in its forlorn condition here
among strangers who do not know its ways or habits, or what to do to
make it feel that it is among friends; but it was a mistake--it went
into such fits at the sight of the kangaroo that I was convinced it
had never seen one before. I pity the poor noisy little animal, but
there is nothing I can do to make it happy. If I could tame it--but
that is out of the question; the more I try, the worse I seem to make
it. It grieves me to the heart to see it in its little storms of
sorrow and passion. I wanted to let it go, but she wouldn't hear of
it. That seemed cruel and not like her; and yet she may be right. It
might be lonelier than ever; for since I cannot find another one, how
Five Months Later
It is not a kangaroo. No, for it supports itself by holding to
her finger, and thus goes a few steps on its hind legs, and then
falls down. It is probably some kind of a bear; and yet it has no
tail--as yet--and no fur, except on its head. It still keeps on
growing--that is a curious circumstance, for bears get their growth
earlier than this. Bears are dangerous--since our catastrophe--and I
shall not be satisfied to have this one prowling about the place much
longer without a muzzle on. I have offered to get her a kangaroo if
she would let this one go, but it did no good--she is determined to
run us into all sorts of foolish risks, I think. She was not like
this before she lost her mind.
A Fortnight Later
I examined its mouth. There is no danger yet; it has only one
tooth. It has no tail yet. It makes more noise now than it ever did
before--and mainly at night. I have moved out. But I shall go over,
mornings, to breakfast, and to see if it has more teeth. If it gets a
mouthful of teeth, it will be time for it to go, tail or no tail, for
a bear does not need a tail in order to be dangerous.
Four Months Later
I have been off hunting and fishing a month, up in the region that
she calls Buffalo; I don't know why, unless it is because there are
not any buffaloes there. Meantime the bear has learned to paddle
around all by itself on its hind legs, and says "poppa" and "momma."
It is certainly a new species. This resemblance to words may be
purely accidental, of course, and may have no purpose or meaning; but
even in that case it is still extraordinary, and is a thing which no
other bear can do. This imitation of speech, taken together with
general absence of fur and entire absence of tail, sufficiently
indicates that this is a new kind of bear. The further study of it
will be exceedingly interesting. Meantime I will go off on a far
expedition among the forests of the North and make an exhaustive
search. There must certainly be another one somewhere, and this one
will be less dangerous when it has company of its own species. I will
go straightway; but I will muzzle this one first.
Three Months Later
It has been a weary, weary hunt, yet I have had no success. In
the mean time, without stirring from the home estate, she has caught
another one! I never saw such luck. I might have hunted these woods
a hundred years, I never should have run across that thing.
I have been comparing the new one with the old one, and it is
perfectly plain that they are the same breed. I was going to stuff
one of them for my collection, but she is prejudiced against it for
some reason or other; so I have relinquished the idea, though I think
it is a mistake. It would be an irreparable loss to science if they
should get away. The old one is tamer than it was, and can laugh and
talk like the parrot, having learned this, no doubt, from being with
the parrot so much, and having the imitative faculty in a highly
developed degree. I shall be astonished if it turns out to be a new
kind of parrot, and yet I ought not to be astonished, for it has
already been everything else it could think of, since those first days
when it was a fish. The new one is as ugly now as the old one was at
first; has the same sulphur-and-raw-meat complexion and the same
singular head without any fur on it. She calls it Abel.
Ten Years Later
They are boys; we found it out long ago. It was their coming in
that small, immature shape that puzzled us; we were not used to it.
There are some girls now. Abel is a good boy, but if Cain had stayed
a bear it would have improved him. After all these years, I see that
I was mistaken about Eve in the beginning; it is better to live
outside the Garden with her than inside it without her. At first I
thought she talked too much; but now I should be sorry to have that
voice fall silent and pass out of my life. Blessed be the chestnut
that brought us near together and taught me to know the goodness of
her heart and the sweetness of her spirit!