Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Volume 31 Number 15, July 9, 1968
The Return Of The Triboldies — Part 15
The Return Of The Triboldies
Suddenly I have thought: What has happened to Corstorphine? He became ill and disappeared as we left Troppo; I shall ask Ocarina.
Ocarina says he has not seen* Corstorphine since before the Fracas at Aggabug. Others in Corstorphine's wagon, who I asked as I dried myself (after foolishly having chosen the Ant as my means of travel and a sudden wave caused the swimming animal to overturn) are of the opinion that he went out of earshot of Sockerdocka (who had been holding him by the hand) just inside the gate of Aggabug, and has not been heard of (or seen) since. And Sockerdocka too is not here. There was talk of a liaison between them, inappropriate though their combination may seem. Sad news; I am led to this despairing thought: perhaps the 880 have become separated from one another and now tour their surroundings aimlessly in small groups, away from all their people. Perhaps the same will happen to us all, in the end: perhaps we shall continue to break up, after arguments. I can foresee a gloomy future for us all, floating slowly, separated by miles of water, toward the centre of a whirlpool, which eventually engulfs us, so that only our wreckage Will be together.
[unclear: *he] must mean "heard".
Now a mist has settled on us, and we no longer see the suns, except palely. I have pulled up all the string I let down—it has taken me two days and we have roped together all our wagons and animals, so that none shall be lost in the continual half light. All are steeped in gloom. My compatriots on this wagon are on the worst of terms; Ruwenzori and Gastrophonic are on the worst terms of all. Their dispute arose concerning the large blue arrows—indicators to the 880 of our path—which they make from cork and release into the waters. Gastrophonic has been cutting the arrows from our miscellaneous cork stocks, and laying the arrows side by side. Ruwenzori then painted the arrows, laid them in another place, and waited for them to dry. It is a peculiarity of this climate that blue paint dries purple; it look us much experimentation to discover that white paint dries blue. Ruwenzori has now been complaining that Gastrophonic is making her task more difficult by insisting on dropping the arrows over the opposite side of this wagon, and on pushing aside the partly blue arrows. Why, I asked Ruwenz, does Gastro drop the arrows over our opposite edge? Because, she answered, Gastrophon holds spite after an argument of last week. What, I asked, was last week's argument about? The same subject, she replied.
To quieten such petty talk, we have been adding to our heritage of song by composing new works. I offered a prize—a clockwork stream, driven by a spring—for he who wrote the best received song, judgement to be made with applause and sand-glass. The man Clodagh, being a minstrel, we excessively interested in the competition. Ocarina ruled [unclear: th] Glodagh might not compete because the latter knew song totally different from our own, and we should not know who had composed any song he might offer.
I he warblefeast lasted for six days. I copy here [unclear: th] best-applauded songs, so that future generations shall [unclear: kno] who composed what may be the musical gems of those age.
Cagliostro's was judged the best song (much to the [unclear: chag] of some among us). These are the words:
- We must not make
- of the law.
- That is not the
- purpose that it's for.
It was sung by the composer in a lowpitchcd nasal voice. [unclear: H] accompanied himself on the dulcimer by whistling through [unclear: h] nose and occasionally sneezing. Two sandglasses were emptied.
The next best song was Bwzampulism's. He wrote:
- As little necessary
- as possible.
- As little possible
- as necessary.
The third song was composed by Andromedia. Bravo! [unclear: W] applauded
- The more
- they pull
- it back
Pull out and use as appropriatepage 11
I thought I saw
a pussy cat.
Oh what it was!
Oh fancy that!
We have found that the man Clodagh is nowhere to be found. We fear that he may be lost under water; perhaps he was pining for his native territory and one day in a dream stepped from the side of Ottoman's wagon into the mist that surrounds us; or perhaps he was kidnapped while all the rest of us slept (except for those who. like Gerontophilia, never sleep); or perhaps, in a display of pique at being excluded from the song contest, he departed without telling us so; or perhaps he intended to find the essential secret of our people, but despaired of his quest, not realizing that the secret is locked in an inaccessible place; or perhaps he found our secret and made off, bearing it in his pocket. Ottoman said that Clodagh was a peculiar man, giving to singing mournful songs in the Shajat language, the words too fast for Otto to understand. Perhaps, if we are as unlucky as Ocarina fears, he has taken our Device and our Seal (which may, however, be only mislaid).
I was woken last night (or perhaps it was day; in this mist one cannot tell) by a sudden rattling of my old orange umbrella, which knocked violently against my sky blue conductor-of-lightning which hangs next to it on the wall above my cushion. I inspected my surroundings and found that the rope which had connected this wagon to Cagliostro's and whose end was tied to the switch of my umbrella (the most convenient point when I tied ourselves together) was causing the umbrella to vibrate loudly against the conductor-of-lightning (as well as of incantations), thus arousing me from sleep. As I sat myself up and pulled my eyes open, I saw the umbrella leave the wall and push the rope through the doorway. By this strange action, Ruwenzori and Mazinta were woken and my orange umbrella lost forever. Alas! Woe! Perfidy! Somewhat lugubriously, I resumed my sleep.
The sky became somewhat lighter, and we began our day. According to my custom, Ruwenzori climbed to the top of the tree and surveyed the environs. Immediately she noticed that she was at a greater distance from water than she usually was at this time of (what we call) morning. She called to me to look at our wheels. I did, and discovered that I could see the wheel for the first time since collecting the bong bladders. This is a sign! It says that we are now travelling in heavier and therefore deeper water.
We must be sinking. Why else should I lie on a wall?
The mist has cleared a little and my question is answered. We are ensnared in a treetop. As I lay on the wall I saw a branch grow across my field of vision. I recall Rigmarole's song in the recent competition:
Three men are hoeing
in my field of vision.
I hope they do not kill
the creeper I have planted there.
Excellent! (But it won no prize.) So I put my hand on the branch and rubbed downward till I arrived at the water level, where I discovered many more branches. We are not sinking, but rising. This fast-growing underwater birch tree will push us into the sky. If a cloud knocks us we shall have a nasty fall. Therefore as soon as the treetrunk appears we shall chop down the tree and continue on our way. The presence of this tree encouraged my thoughts—I have long known that if we floated far enough downhill we must eventually reach the ground. This tree shows us that we are, at the most, a few miles from Earth.
I was about to make public this good news by the usual means of sending a spider with a message along the rope—but the rope is gone and we are lost. Even though the mist has cleared we cannot see any other wagon (Perhaps they have all sunk!)—we are doomed'. Terror! Panic! and Fearfulness! All we have to console ourselves is half the animals and 1728 bong bladders. But I see mirrored in the water that less branches are emerging; soon the trunk will come into view, and when that happens, Ruwenzori can climb down the tree with an axe, chop, and let us gently down into the rivulet, on which we shall float to our destination.
All that I foresaw has been carried out, except that Ruwenzori choped down the wrong part of the tree, and the wagon overturned as the treetop fell into the water. Thus, my script has become inverted.
By dint of having Ruwenzori throw licorice on the water ahead of us, we have induced the animals to swim vigorously; they draw us behind them by their efforts. The water flows past our feet, through the top door (which has become the bottom door). I have spent all morning unfastening the bottom door (which is now the top door). When at last I finally opened the door, its hinges stiff because of water, there was not a spot of light. My morning must have been midnight, or the day have gone out.