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My Shipmate—Columbus
written by "Marlowe, Stephen, 1928-2008"
...the point. It had made Danny cry. He hadn't thought of what had happened that last day he'd seen his grand-uncle for years, but he thought of it now. "But why can't I come back and see you?" he had asked tearfully. "On account of the machine, son." "But why, uncle?" "Hey, come on now and stop your blubbering all over me. If you can't you can't." "You have to tell me why!" "Stubborn little critter. Well, I like that. All right, I'll tell you why. Because the machine has a funny kind of fuel, that's why. It doesn't run on gasoline, Danny, or anything like that." "What does it do, uncle?" But the old man had shaken his head. "Maybe someday after I'm gone you'll find out. If anyone finds out, it will be you, and that's a promise." "You still didn't tell me why I have to go away." "Because—well, don't go telling this to your folks, son, or they'll think old Uncle Averill has a screw loose somewheres—because that machine I have downstairs runs on faith. On faith, you understand? Oh, not the kind of faith they think is important and do a lot of talking and sermoning about, but a different kind of faith. Personal faith, you might say. Faith in a dream or a belief, no matter what people think. And—you know what ruins that faith?" "No," Danny had said, his eyes very big. "Knowledge!" cried his uncle. "Too much so-called knowledge which isn't knowledge at all, but hearsay. That's what they're teaching you. In school, other places, every day of your life. I'll tell you when you can come back, Danny: when you're ready to throw most of it overboard. All right?" He had had to say all right. It was the last time he had ever seen his uncle, but those weren't the last words Averill Jones had spoken to him, for the old man had added as he got up to go: "Don't forget, son. Don't let them pull the wool over your eyes. History is propaganda—from a winner's point o...

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