Columbus and the Egg
By James Baldwin
From Thirty More Famous Stories Retold
One day Columbus was at a dinner
which a Spanish gentleman had given in his honor, and
several persons were present who were jealous of the
great admiral's success. They were proud, conceited fellows,
and they very soon began to try to make Columbus uncomfortable.
"You have discovered strange
lands beyond the seas," they said, "but what
of that? We do not see why there should be so much said
about it. Anybody can sail across the ocean - and anybody
can coast along the islands on the other side, just as
you have done. It is the simplest thing in the world."
Columbus made no answer - but after
a while he took an egg from a dish and said to the company:
"Who among you, gentlemen, can
make this egg stand on end?"
One by one those at the table tried
the experiment. When the egg had gone entirely around
and none had succeeded, all said that it could not be
Then Columbus took the egg and struck
its small end gently upon the table so as to break the
shell a little. After that there was no trouble in making
it stand upright.
"Gentlemen," said he, "what
is easier than to do this which you said was impossible?
It is the simplest thing in the world. Anybody can do
it - AFTER he has been shown how!''