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Weird Tales

MAY, 1937

Anton's Last Dream

By EDWIN BAIRD

 A brief tale of the dismal success of a scientists experiment 

ANYTHING that man can dream, man can do. So believed Anton Slezak, the chemist.

Man had dreamed of flying, Anton would argue, and now he flies across the seven seas. He had dreamed of annihilating distance, and today he sends his voice round the world with the speed of light. He had dreamed of penetrating the mysteries of the universe, and now he sees trillions of miles into space.

So argued Anton, the chemist.

Anton had dreamed many dreams, and some had vanished mistily and some had become reality. But none was too fantastic for Anton's laboratory tests.

Upon the chemist in his laboratory, Anton often said, rested the future development of mankind. And the future, Anton promised, would outshine the present as the present outshines the past.

No poor dreamer was Anton. His dreams had brought him great riches. For he had turned his genius to practical matters, and, working miracles in his laboratory, had discovered ways of converting waste into things of commercial value—cornstalks into cloth, weeds into paper, coal soot into lacquer—and from these and other such discoveries Anton had derived much wealth.

He had bought a magnificent home. He had married a young and lovely woman. He had a nephew who idolized him; and he had many friends and admirers and loyal assistants, and a truly beautiful wife, who, as anybody could plainly see, loved him devotedly. He had, indeed, one might have said, everything worth living for.

And now, at the age of fifty-two, he seemed on the threshold of still greater achievements.

At the moment, however, Anton was employed in developing a dream, the fulfilment of which could have no practical value whatever.

He knew that others had dreamed the same thing. They had put it in motion pictures, in pseudo-scientific writing, in extravagant fiction. But it remained, as yet, merely a dream that nobody would believe.

Anton was determined to make this dream come true.

He brought to bear upon the task all the resources of his scientific mind, all his knowledge o...

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