**Henry Miller called The Smile at the Foot of the Ladder his "most singular story." **
First published in 1959, this touching fable tells of Auguste, a famous clown who could make people laugh but who sought to impart to his audiences a lasting joy. Originally inspired by a series of circus and clown drawings by the cubist painter Femand Léger, Miller eventually used his own decorations to accompany the text in their stead. "Undoubtedly," he says in his explanatory epilogue, °`it is the strangest story I have yet written. . . . No, more even than all the stories which I based on fact and experience is this one the truth. My whole aim in writing has been to tell the truth, as I know it. Heretofore all my characters have been real, taken from life, my own life. Auguste is unique in that he came from the blue. But what is this blue which surrounds and envelopes us if not reality itself? . . . We have only to open our eyes and hearts, to become one with that which is."