once so childish and so self-satisfied—in fact, it is not sufficiently developed for an old raven—at your service !'
' Am I wrong, then, in presuming that a man is superior to a bird ?'
' That is as it may be. "We do not waste our intellects in generalising, but take man or bird as we find him.—I think it is now my turn to ask you a question !'
' You have the best of rights,' I replied, ' in the fact that you can do so !'
' Well answered ! ' he rejoined. ' Tell me, then, who you are—if you happen to know.'
' How should I help knowing ? I am myself, and must know !'
' If you know you are yourself, you know that you are not somebody else; but do you know that you are yourself ? Are you sure you are not your own father ? —or, excuse me, your own fool ?—Who are you, pray ?'
I became at once aware that I could give him no notion of who I was. Indeed, who was I ? It would be no answer to say I was who ! Then I understood that I did not know myself, did not know what I was, had no grounds on which to determine that I was one and not another. As for the name I went by in my own world, I had forgotten it, and did not care to recall it, for it meant nothing, and what it might be was plainly of no consequence here. I had indeed almost forgotten that there it was a custom for everybody to have a name ! So I held my peace, and it was my wisdom ; for what should I say to a creature such as this raven, who saw through accident into entity ?
' Look at me,' he said, ' and tell me who I am.'
As he spoke, he turned his back, and instantly I knew him. He was no longer a raven, but a man