Fantastic Fables by Ambrose Bierce: The Fogy and the Sheik
The Fogy and the Sheik
A FOGY who lived in a cave near a great caravan route returned to his home one day and saw, near by, a great concourse of men and animals, and in their midst a tower, at the foot of which something with wheels smoked and panted like an exhausted horse. He sought the Sheik of the Outfit.
"What sin art thou committing now, O son of a Christian dog?" said the Fogy, with a truly Oriental politeness.
"Boring for water, you black-and-tan galoot!" replied the Sheik of the Outfit, with that ready repartee which distinguishes the Unbeliever.
"Knowest thou not, thou whelp of darkness and father of disordered livers," cried the Fogy, "that water will cause grass to spring up here, and trees, and possibly even flowers? Knowest thou not, that thou art, in truth, producing an oasis?"
"And don't you know," said the Sheik of the Outfit, "that caravans will then stop here for rest and refreshments, giving you a chance to steal the camels, the horses, and the goods?"
"May the wild hog defile my grave, but thou speakest wisdom!" the Fogy replied, with the dignity of his race, extending his hand. "Sheik."