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The story starts with a man going into a fortune teller's tent; a dangling tassel knocks his glasses off, there is a brief flash. The story then has a flashback: some people are trying to capture(?) someone for some reason but he has very good (hypnotic?) defenses. They learn he is pretending to be a fortune teller, and the protagonist is given a pair of glasses to protect him against being hypnotised. He is told not to remove the glasses under any circumstances. The story ends as it began: he goes into the fortune teller's tent; a dangling tassel knocks his glasses off, there is a brief flash...

  • Hello and welcome to SFF! You have a nice start here but could you take a look at this guide and edit in anymore details you may remember? For example, when did you read this? Don't forget to register your account and take the tour! – TheLethalCarrot May 18 '18 at 10:49
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    Oh, drat. I've read this. I have no idea who wrote it, or what the title was. I do remember that the book I read it in had a section from the author explaining how he had constructed the story. Something about how telling the story in a linear time fashion would have been boring, but by starting at that point in the action the reader would be pulled into the story and much more likely to read the backstory and finish the whole thing rather than quit because it wasn't interesting enough. – JRE May 18 '18 at 10:57
  • Oh, drat. I've read this. Fortune teller is an escaped rogue robot. Protagonist is trying to capture it and is wearing anti hypnosis glases. His assistant, named Tharn, has a gun that will unhygienic the protagonist, if he can get a good shot. Robot gives protagonist a box he says will put protag in mental rapport with future guy who will give help. In reality box just let's protag access his own memories. – Winchell Chung May 18 '18 at 11:20
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    @ people who've read it , is it en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Happy_Ending_(short_story) ? (full text apparently) – AakashM May 18 '18 at 11:33
  • Yes that's the story. – Winchell Chung May 18 '18 at 11:37
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Happy Ending by Henry Kuttner

Quarra Vee and his faithful sidekick, Tharn, travel into the past to capture a rogue robot. The "past" in this case is our present time. The robot is in a circus, pretending to be a gypsy fortune teller.

The robot has telepathic brain washing powers. Vee wears anti brainwashing glasses, but they are knocked off by a rope. The robot hypnotizes Vee in to thinking Vee is a native of our present, instead of a visitor from the future.

  • Thanks, this is exactly the one. (But it's Henry Kuttner, not "Kutcher".) For some reason I can't mark this as "answered"... – Lurker May 18 '18 at 12:32
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    @Lurker Please merge your accounts so you can accept this answer. – Null May 18 '18 at 14:25

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