"The Sound Machine"
- First published in:
- The New Yorker, September 17, 1949
- Later collected in:
- Televised versions:
Spoiler Warning! Klausner is a man obsessed with sound. He has a theory that there are many, many sounds in the world that humans are just unable to hear due to their high frequencies. He explains to his doctor that he has invented a machine that will allow him to tune in to those frequencies and convert those pitches into audible sound. The first time he tries it out in his yard, he hears shrieking in his headphones as his neighbor cuts roses from her garden. Each time a flower is cut, he hears a shriek. The next day, he tries a bigger experiment. He takes an axe and swings it into a large beech tree. He is horrified to hear the deep and pathetic moan that the tree makes in response. Klausner rushes back to the house and calls his doctor. "Please come. Come quickly. I want someone to hear it. It's driving me mad!" he says. The doctor agrees to come over and listen to the headphones, but just as Klausner takes a second swing at the tree a large branch crashes down between them and destroys the machine. Klausner is deeply shaken and asks the doctor to paint the tree's cuts with iodine. The doctor claims not to have heard anything, but he agrees to Klausner's demands and dresses the wounds.
Created and maintained by Kristine Howard with assistance from Michael Mander