Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Volume 31 Number 16 July 16, 1968
The Return Of The Triboldies: Part 16
The Return Of The Triboldies: Part 16
This morning the mist seemed to have abated, so Mazinta and myself climbed to the underside of our wagon, to take the air. We were discoursing merrily on the meditations of Pandemonium, when our conversation was interrupted by a mewling noise. We looked all around us; the sound seemed to come from the water. (Laughing Gas could have helped us.) We had tired our eyes with looking when the Gastroph noticed the black head of a cat protruding from the water and mewling. Ruwenzori suggested that it might be a catfish. Antimacassar warned us that it might be a trap of some kind. Therefore we made no attempt to reach the head, but merely continued to watch. Now, a few hours later, the head has not moved, nor have we. It is slowly rising from the water; the top half of a seated cat is now apparent. I cannot believe what I say; I must be hallucinated.
The cat has continued to rise. It is now totally visible as well as audible. The cat is seated on a post, which now projects from the water. Thus, the life-stimulating properties of this water are shown to us. Perhaps a thicket will now spring up from beneath us. The cat is obviously not dangerous; Ruwenzori is trying to rescue it with a rope and a piece of licorice; a delicate task.
It is almost dark and still Ruwenzori woos the cat, now with an unfinished blue arrow. We seem to have drifted closer, and the cat looks down on us. Soon, perhaps, it will be able to jump to us. A cat aboard is a good omen, despite Antimacassar's insistence that a black cat brings rain. It is dark now; Ruwenzori is still on the floor, calling Ga wa 1 an a sa va, and so on, with a seldom-heard voice. Presumably the post is fixed; therefore we are not moving. I wonder how far from us are the other thirty wagons. Not too far, I think. Unless we are suddenly caught in a backwater of this stream, they too will be static. As I wrote "backwater" there was a jolt, and a scream from above. As I wrote "wrote 'backwater' " (though I actually wrote "wrote "backwater" ") Ruwenzori jumped to the ceiling that I am sitting on, preceded by a wet black cat.
We, I informed Ruwen, shall have to distinguish this creature by a denotative mark, and a sound. Gastropho shall supply the sound, replied the Ruw, if you will make a mark. (Their argument, of which I spoke a few weeks ago, has happily stopped.) So I have made
which seems to accord with our sentiments, and the Gastro has said Calcutta, a strange sound whose meaning must be ineluctable by normal means.
Today I was awoken by light shining through the trapdoor, which must have been left open all night. Two observations follow
(1) an explanation of why I feel cold.
(2) there is a lot less mist.
A third observation, which does not follow, is that
has been making loud noises in Ruwen's clothing throughout the night, perhaps pining for its post. Why was it not drowned when the level of the water was nearer to the clouds? (Perhaps it took a deep breath.)
As I climbed to the floor to survey, as usual, our environs, and to look out for any of our compatriots, and to sec how the weather fell, and to see how high the birds were flying today, and to smell the morning air, and to empty my mind of suspicion, hostility, and misunderstanding, and to allow more air to my fellow-travellers below, and to lighten the dismal interior of our vessel, and to give ourselves all a greater opportunity of taking breath, I saw how near I saw to a post that looked like this (obviously the post on which the cat sat yesterday)—
It looks very much as if this post is the tusk of a very fierce, but sleeping marine being. When I looked behind my head I saw this—page 7
which is obviously a less fierce creature than the first, but still a mighty scarcy beast. Below me, in the water I sec a square stone hole, which is an air-hole enabling these creatures to breathe without emerging from the water. If we are not careful we shall fall into this hole, and be devoured. Andromeda! Antimacassar! Grab poles, and help me to avoid this hole!
Our fear of this mysterious colony is lessened by the distant sight of our fellows. I dare not send any of us in a small craft to them, for fear of the creatures lurking beneath, but Ruwenzori is making frantic attempts to attract the attention of Ocarina and his company by flag-waving and whistleblowing.
Small green animals have appeared all around us, in a square. Perhaps they are the owners of the Calcutta, and of these peculiar growths which now appear thicker and thicker around us. I hope they bear no ill-will towards us.
Ruwenzori has temporarily given up trying to reach the notice of Ocarina, who is obscured by a:
and the strange green animals who now surround us are growing on stalks. Maybe tnese animals are part of a large wagon-eating plant, which has chosen this means to digest us. The stalks, however, are much lower on one side, therefore we can, if it becomes necessary, leap over the animals to safety.
(obviously related to
has just appeared below the animals, so we shall not fall further into these jaws, but must run before these giant green teeth open their lips. I hope we shall see Ocarina and our fellows again soon. I have not told my fellow-travellers of my fears of this giant shellfish which threatens to engulf us at one bite. But if we escape we shall have to abandon our wagon
and therefore sink into the water and whatever horrendous marine life may be thriving below it. Therefore I shall risk "being eaten, unless somebody else mentions this possible shellfish to me.
I have been sleeping, and was aroused by a call from Mazinta, who looked over the edge and saw this:
a group of shellfish with many else, differing slightly in outline but identical in surface, arranged all in an exact line. Truly a wonder of nature! It alarms me, though, that we are now in this position
pressing heavily on the stalks that the green animals grow from, and may soon fall off.
On the other side, we must continue to struggle against being pushed into the sky. I do not think we can safely use against this shellfish the same methods that we used against a recent tree with which we came into contact
It is too late; we have just fallen, because the stalks have collapsed. A lot of water is coming into the bottom of the wagon, which is back where it should be. The tip of my tail is wet. Most curious! If these conditions continue, we shall all be drenched. I am now climbing to the top of the wagon to jump to the shelf (S) of the shellfish.