Once upon a time there was a magnet, and in its close neighborhood lived some steel filings. One day …

Once upon a time there was a magnet, and in its close neighborhood lived some steel filings. One day two or three filings felt a sudden desire to go and visit the magnet, and they began to talk of what a pleasant thing it would be to do. Other filings nearby overheard their conversation, and they, too, became infected with the same desire. Still others joined them, till at last all the filings began to discuss the matter, and more and more their vague desire grew into an impulse. Why not go today? said some of them; but others were of the opinion that it would be better to wait until tomorrow. Meanwhile, without their having noticed it, they had been involuntarily moving nearer to the magnet, which lay there quite still, apparently taking no heed of them. And so they went on discussing, all the time insensibly drawing nearer to their neighbor; and the more they talked, the more they felt the impulse growing stronger, till the more impatient ones declared that they would go that day, whatever the rest did. Some were heard to say that it was their duty to visit the magnet, and that they ought to have gone long ago. And, while they talked, they moved always nearer and nearer, without realizing they had moved. Then, at last, the impatient ones prevailed, and, with one irresistible impulse, the whole body cried out, There is no use waiting. We will go today. We will go now. We will go at once. And then in one unanimous mass they swept along, and in another moment were clinging fast to the magnet on every side. Then the magnet smiled?for the steel filings had no doubt at all but that they were paying that visit on their own free will

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