Our big world rolls over as smoothly as it did centuries ago, without
a squeak to show it needs oiling after all these years of revolution.
But times change because men change. The impossibilities of yesterday become the accepted facts of to-day.
Here is a fairy tale founded upon the wonders of electricity and
written for children of this generation.
Yet when my readers shall have become men and women my story may not seem to their children like a fairy tale at all.
Perhaps one, perhaps two–perhaps several of the Demon’s devices will be, by that time, in popular use.
(L. Frank Baum, Introduction, The Master Key. Bowen-Merrill (Indiana): 1901.)
There is a bright flash, and a being who calls himself the Demon of Electricity appears. He tells [young protagonist and electrical experimenter] Rob that he has accidentally “touched the Master Key of Electricity” and is entitled to “to demand from me three gifts each week for three successive weeks.”
Rob experiences adventures exploring the use of the Demon’s gifts, but eventually concludes that neither he nor the world is ready for them. Rob rejects the Demon’s gifts and tells him to bide his time until humankind knows how to use them. The Demon leaves.
With a light heart, Rob concludes that he made the right decision, and that “It’s no fun being a century ahead of the times!”
Who knows … ?
*”‘Others’ may read it.” rad.
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