Extracts From Adam's Diary, by Mark Twain
Extracts From Adam's Diary
Translated from the original MS.
by Mark Twain
[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 uses it.
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 from me.
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 offensive
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 mastodon.
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 good word.
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
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
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
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
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!
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