The Man Who Could Work Miracles (story)
In an English public house, George McWhirter Fotheringay vigorously asserts the impossibility of miracles during an argument. By way of demonstration, Fotheringay commands an oil lamp to flame upside down and it does so, to his own astonishment. His acquaintances think it a trick and quickly dismiss it, but Fotheringay continues to use his new power for other petty deeds.
After magically accomplishing his daily chores as an office clerk, Fotheringay quits early to a park to practise further. He encounters a local constable, who is accidentally injured. In the ensuing altercation, Fotheringay unintentionally sends the policeman to Hades; hours later, Fotheringay relocates him safely to San Francisco.
Unnerved by these miracles, Fotheringay attends local Sunday church services. The clergyman, Mr. Maydig, preaches about unnatural occurrences. Fotheringay is deeply moved, and meets Maydig in his quarters for advice. After a few petty demonstrations, the priest becomes enthusiastic and suggests that Fotheringay should use these abilities to benefit others. That night they walk the town streets, healing illness and vice and improving public works.
Maydig plans to reform the whole world. He suggests that they could disregard their obligations for the next day if Fotheringay could stop the night altogether. Fotheringay agrees and stops the motion of the Earth. His clumsy wording of the wish causes all objects on Earth to be hurled from the surface with great force. Pandemonium ensues, but Fotheringay miraculously ensures his own safety back on the ground.
Fotheringay is unable to return the Earth to its prior state. He repents, and wishes that the power be taken from him and the world restored to a time before he had the power. Fotheringay immediately finds himself back in the public house, discussing miracles with his friends as before, without any recollection of subsequent events.
Film, TV or theatrical adaptations
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- The Man Who Could Work Miracles: short story by H. G. Wells
- The Man Who Could Work Miracles title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
- The Man Who Could Work Miracles at the Internet Movie Database