Men were toiling dreadfully in her garden; it was in the heat of the day and they were digging with spades; she suddenly turned from me to beat one of them over the back with a long black stick that she carried. “Even my poets go to London sometimes,” she said to me.
“Why did you beat that man?” I said.
“To make him work,” she answered.
“But he is tired,” I said.
“Of course he is,” said she.
And I looked and saw that the earth was difficult and dry and that every spadeful that the tired men lifted was full of pearls; but some men sat quite still and watched the butterflies that flitted about the garden and the old witch did not beat them with her stick. And when I asked her who the diggers were she said, “They are my poets, they are digging for pearls.” And when I asked her what so many pearls were for she said to me, “To feed the pigs of course.”
“But do the pigs like pearls?” I said to her.
“Of course they don’t,” she said.
– Lord Dunsany, The Avenger of Perdonaris