"You can say what you like," said George Alfred Applecrop as he settled himself on his bed of bracken in the sunlight, "but there is such a thing as being too clever. A man can use his brain up to a certain point, but once he steps over the limit something's got to happen. That's what I got to guard against all the time, having to do all the brain work for this here guest house of ours. So being a nice sort of day I thought I'd come out here and just sit like and give me brain a rest for once.
"No; I never cut these ferns. How could I with me bad back? I sent young Dick out to do it before breakfast this morning.
"But what I was trying to tell you was this, if you'll only listen. A man can go to a certain limit with his brain, but if he steps over that the least little bit he's a cot case.
"Now take the case of Alf Honeycombe, who was the shining light of this district before I come here.
"Now Alf took to butchering before he was eighteen years old, and the people used to wonder where he got his beef from until they begun to miss some of their dry cows, and then, of course, it was a easy matter to get the cop up and catch poor old Alf in the very act.
"Well Alf done a five year stretch for that, and during that time the people began to count all the cows that was missing, and it came to a pretty good lot; so we came to sort of understand how Alf could go down to the show every year and the Melbourne Cup and all that.
"Well, at the end of his five year Alf got out of gaol and everybody thought he wouldn't have the neck to come back to this district, where the shame had been put on him, so to speak.
"But that's what he did. He come back with a sort of a lawyer feller, and they was busy up in his hut for days and days.
"And the end of it was that every man, jack, and Harry in this district had a summons out against him on account of a butcher's bill what he owed on account of having bought his own store cows back in the form of steaks and sirloins.
"And every dash one of us had to pay!
"So, as I said when I started -
"What was it I said when I started?
"Oh, about a man having too many brains.
"Well, that couldn't have been Alf Honeycombe. It must have been some other feller."
|Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2003-04|