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What was them stone houses for?

“What was them stone houses for?” Hare-Lip queried. “You remember when your dad taught you to swim?” The boy nodded.  “Well, in the University of California—that is the name we had for  the houses—we taught young men and women how to think, just as I have  taught you now, by sand and pebbles and shells, to know how many people  lived in those days. There was very much to teach. The young men and  women we taught were called students. We had large rooms in which we  taught.

I talked to them, forty or fifty at a time, just as I am talking  to you now. I told them about the books other men had written before  their time, and even, sometimes, in their time—” “Was that all you did?—just talk, talk, talk?” Hoo-Hoo demanded. “Who  hunted your meat for you? and milked the goats? and caught the fish?” “A sensible question, Hoo-Hoo, a sensible question. As I have told you,  in those days food-getting was easy. We were very wise. A few men got  the food for many men. The other men did other things. As you say, I  talked. I talked all the time, and for this food was given me—much  food, fine food, beautiful food, food that I have not tasted in sixty  years and shall never taste again. I sometimes think the most wonderful  achievement of our tremendous civilization was food—its inconceivable  abundance, its infinite variety, its marvellous delicacy. O my  grandsons, life was life in those days, when we had such wonderful  things to eat.

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