Scientia potentia est. "Knowledge is power" is a commonly used phrase to try and simply define how knowledge can be used to create power for a person through use of a strong education. In the story Bargain by AB Guthrie, an immigrant owner of a general store tries to collect a debt, but the debtor does not want to pay. Instead, he fights the owner, and the owner kills him. Knowledge can be an essential trait to give someone a stable life, but is commonly considered to be a burden. Strength and ability and power are no match for academics and cleverness.
It all started the first time Mr. Baumer, the owner of the Moon Dance Mercantile Company, tried to hand a bill to the debtor, Freighter Slade. Slade was a drinker, and was known for stealing whiskey. Upset by the bill, Slade crumples it and throws it on the ground outside the saloon. He takes Baumer's nose and "twists it up into his eyes," then lets himself into the saloon. Baumer responds by smoothing out the bill and replacing it in his pile of bills. Right before he turns around to leave, he says "Better study. Is good to know to read and write and figure."
The second encounter of Slade and Baumer happened about a month after the first time. It played out a lot like the first time, like "the second go-round of a bad dream." When Baumer saw Slade, he started to look through the bills; but, before he could give it to him, Slade hits him on the back and sends him staggering, and the bills flying. In his defense, Baumer turned around and swung back at him "without hardly so much as jogging his head, but it let hell loose in the man." Slade turned around and let Mr Baumer have it, knocking him on the concrete. When Baumer started to lift himself up off the ground, Slade slammed the heel of his boot down on his right hand. Baumer's reaction was to learn to do things with his left hand, and to say "Go to school. Is good to learn."
The last time Baumer saw Slade was the last time anyone would see him. Before...
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