Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Student's Newspaper. Volume 31, Number 8. April 30 1968
The Return Of The Triboldies — Part 8
The Return Of The Triboldies
We are still in the midst of this great plain, passing between the sticky hemispherical rocks. Somebody has suggested that perhaps these rocks are the man's spittle. But if so, why is the substance pouring into the skin at each rock? For what my own untutored opinion is worth, I believe that these rocks show an outbreak of boils. Rubbish! said Cagliostro-the rocks are cold. But the air boils, I replied (wiping sweat from my skin). Why then, he asked, do you rub the sweat from your skin? It should be boiling with the air. if what you say is correct .... You should be well-cooked.In spite of the crushing weight of rhetoric which he then poured upon me, I still feel him to be mistaken. Fine words prove nothing.
Sparadrap bade me read the ancient chronicles more closely that I might discover hidden among the pages some indication of the whereabouts of our homeland, relative to the horrid spot we have left. I could find nothing more than I have already indicated. Another method will have to be devised the magicians are to be asked what they can do.
They are meeting now. They are sitting on the bronze wagon, while Sparadrap addresses them from a nearby tree He tries to hold an umbrella over his head, for protection against the strong light of the sun. I cannot hear what a being said; the wind is loud, though I am close
Now they are more earnestly conferring. It is near might They have gone into the wagon.page 7
[unclear: is] morning: it seems that they are still in the wagon. is afternoon: they are still there. Night: still.
After five days, a solution has been reached! An invention been made! Quidditas emerged, carrying above his head device which has been constructed. Bleary eyed Sparadrap [unclear: wed], leaning on a slick. Unshaven Rigmarole followed. it a truly beautiful invention: a machine in the form of [unclear: pright] cylinder, surmounted by a pointer and three sights.
One machine was set up on the ground, and levelled by [unclear: ns] of a glass ball rolling in an annular course. Ottoman provided a large key (twelve feet long) which Sparadrap [unclear: rted] in an aperture near the base of the cylinder and ed repeatedly. (Apparently the machine is propelled by kwork ) After 11 revolutions of the key, a gong sounded. [unclear: adrap] removed the key from the aperture, conferred [unclear: fly] with Paraphernalia, and then looked through the sights. adjusted one set of sights so that it pointed in the direction the sun, and one set towards where we have come from, the final set to where the seventh star was last seen. He conferred once more with Paraphernalia, bent down, and [unclear: ed] a long lever. Immediately the pointer began to spin; its city slowly decreased, and finally the pointer stopped, [unclear: its] to our right. This means, said Sparadrap, that we turn now: it is essential to follow the back of the pointer, the that does not point but beckons.
We have noted the direction shown by the pointer, have turned sharply to the left of our former course.
We are headed straight for one of the pale rocks. When we reach an obstacle, Sparadrap says, we re-set the sights on the machine, and spin the pointer again, except that we shall then be either pointed or beckoned, whichever way forces us to retrace the same path nearly over which he have come. However, the pointer's guidance must be corrected by time of day, in order that we may not tread on 'our own shadows.
This morning we have reached the pale rock which our pointer first beckoned us towards. The machine was reassembled on a flat bald rock among the tussock. A strange thing happened as Cantilever took the glass ball: he dropped it, and it rapidly rolled out of sight, to the edge of the bald rock, and was lost in the grass. What made the ball move? Perhaps the Spirits are against us. No. A solution has been agreed upon. The whole plateau that we have been travelling on is not flat: we have been progressing downhill for the past year or longer, supported only by the winds in our faces. By now we must be far below the level of the valley of Ytinutroppo, or halfway down the leg. Most odd!
It is some years since I have made an entry in this Journal. Nothing of any importance has happened in this time, till this afternoon. We have asked each other all the riddles, recited the chronicles, told the jokes, and talked, all the day through this desert (which has become no hotter, or no colder, no wetter or no drier, contains no more or no less tussock or pale rocks, and has given us no sign of any men). The magicians had shrunk into apathy, and accomplished nothing new (not surprising). But today we saw in the distance a number of small lumps; we later met them and discovered that they were human ... merchants from Aggabug, taking a short cut to another place. So at last we are approaching Aggabug!
There are ten of these merchants. Odd specimens. They are very tall, have pink skin, and lack tails. Our progress has ceased, as has theirs. They have suggested that we bargain with them; I do not know what about. A number among us speak their language (a barbarous style of speech known as Blihrp) : Cantilever, Pergola, Phenobarbara (of course), Waterlulu, Apidistra, and Charlemagne; also a few others. I cannot recall who. A most vile tongue! At this moment the merchants are holding an argument with Cantilever. Now they are going to their brown horses ... searching in their packs ... taking out bags ... opening them with sharp shiny instruments ... showing some of our people what is inside the bags. I shall now put down my pencil and inspect the contents of the bags.
I have looked in the bags which I have mentioned. There is a strange white powder, said to be edible. The Aggabuggers are demanding gold in return for the powder. What could they want with such a useful metal? So Cantilever has given them a horscful of gold for a horseful of the powder. They seem excessively pleased (perhaps we gave them too much. though the bargain seems fair); they are advising us on our whereabouts, and the easiest ways to be rid of it. So for the time being shall proceed to Aggabug. In this ancient city, the merchants sugests, there may well be some who know of our ancestral home, or of the remainder of our people. Several of these merchants seem to remember a body of men from the deserted mountains who arrived in Aggabug some years ago. Interest is renewed among the apathetic. Tomorrow at dawn we shall change the direction of our travel, and go towards Aggabug. The merchants tell us that such a noble gathering as ours will be well-received in that prosperous town. So at last we are approaching the territory so familiar to our forefathers! After years of trudging through mire (so to speak) we are at the threshold of the paved highway. The merchants say that it will take us about three weeks reach the city, but three years to leave. Parochialists!