A Gallows Pole

On the morning of his hanging, Freiderich L. was permitted to call on members of his family in hopes of paying his debts by some material means, saving him, however temporarily, from his inevitable fate. Some time interminably later, as the sun was just beginning to rise, the condemned man was made to stand perfectly-centered on the scuffed trap door panel of the gallows while the executioner tightened the rope around his throat until the hard coils sat flush between two bumps on Freiderich's neck.

Suddenly, from over the white hills of clouds came riding Freiderich's whole family--his mother and father and sisters and fourteen cousins and barber and sister and dog. They rode gallantly, cutting beautiful criss-cross patterns in the grass with their horses' hooves until finally stopping just ahead of the creaking wooden stage. Slightly annoyed by their sudden entrance, the executioner began to slacken the rope around Freiderich's neck and meanwhile searching with his eyes for a sack in which to collect their payment. At this moment, Freiderich's mother jumped from her saddle and raised her hand in apologetic benediction, saying:

"Oh, young man, please, don't fret--truly, we only came to watch."