Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Volume 31, No. 25. October 8, 1968
The Return Of The Triboldies — Part 25
The Return Of The Triboldies
O's journal few details of places we passed, but a jumble of brief thoughts, such as
"Silly old Ocarina! He was terribly offended this morning when he found that I was rather amused about his plans to codify and organize the entire legends of the Tinutroppi. He stormed off in a bad temper, threatening to resign as chronicler and thereby ruin our civilization. Later today I heard him expounding to young Neuphar his pedantic and unlikely theories of history. I hope he has not filled his chronicle with these."
I see our late leader ( ), like myself, harboured the deepest of misgivings about Ocarina. What a pity it is that the journal that has just been found offers no correction to Ocarina's mistakes. Perhaps if we remain here for a very long time. I shall cast back into my remembrances, and write a more exact account of the events that passed us; in particular the jealousies of Ytinutroppo and the Great Fiasco of Aggabug, and the unfortunate miscalculations of Cagliostro, which (he has now admitted to me) caused the flood that bore us to Netragrednik.
Incidentally, during the recent Chaotic Overturning, which was perhaps the death-throes of the man, I was made blind by an intense ray of light. I cannot see to form these words, therefore I have asked Mazinta to write this chronicle for me. I tell her exactly what words to write, and exactly where to put them. In order to preserve our custom that only the chronicler may see what he has written, I have instructed her not on any account to read the preceding pages.
I am informed that others among us are lost or blinded. Chrononhotonthologos is here, and so is Neuphar, but Harmony-in-a-treetop. Cagliostro, Quidditas, and Phenobarbara are nowhere to be heard from; and the lifeless carcases of Phenylketonuria and Kanchenjunga lie in the mud along the ruins of Sparadrap's wagon. From the same mud Mazinta has been rescuing the Forty one volumes of the chronicles of our people, which I brought on this trip without having asked ; or told Rigmarole or any of the others whom we left. The chair in which I am silling is composed of forty large volumes, all kept dry and comfortable by my presence upon them.
We do nothing but surmise about the cataclysm that befell us recently (we do not know how recently: the sun has not risen for at least a week, and it is very dark. And, lacking the sun, we cannot find out why). Perhaps the great flash that caused my present blindness was all time running together and coming to an end, much as if an ant-flood were caused by tipping-up of a bucket which previously had been only leaking. I see no good reason for time not to end. There are only two possibilities: that time may end, or that it may not; and, if time may end, may it not have ended already? But if that is so, when am I writing these words? Certainly not now. Sightlessness confuses me.
If Ottoman's theory was right, and it is true that all time has suddenly passed, why is it that we (so I am told) remain unchanged in appearance? Perhaps, the path of time crossing itself again, that most precious substances found an easy way to travel, and poured backwards down its own previous path.page 9
meeting us on the waY wIth a wave of such force that we were left unmoved by it.
It may be that we brought about our own calamity by inadvertently tickling the man (Neuphar at the lime was cleaning his knife by thrusting it into the ground); but Cagliostro cannot be blamed. He was reading Sparadrap's journal at the time.
We are unable to continue on our way. Our wagons are destroyed, and much of our licorice is lost. Only our five selves, our forty one chronicles, and the ruins of (so I am told) my own wagon are together. We cannot travel except by foot, since our beasts are fled, Chronhotonthologos lame, and Neuphar deaf. My only consolation is to consider the ancient philosophical questions, such ;as It a hermaphrodite were to give birth to itself, would that be incest?
Whirligig is sleeping now, and has let go of this journal. I, Mazinta, am writing in the journal.
The common or garden crub
is not to be seen in the garden.
Treat it once every march with crub manure
and it will not be seen in the garden.
I have been reading Whirligig's journal, though I promised him I would not. What great exaggerations, and sometimes pure suppositions. If we were to be struck from the man's body, what would a passing flea make of this great throne of books, many of them not even written by those who claim to be their authors? An unsteady inverted pyramid of untruths built on inexactitudes, and lies built on the untruths: that is what this throne is, and what Whirligig spends every minute composing phrases for. What wild, fantastic words he has told me to write, and has muttered to himself in the last few days! One would think that the burning gaze of the man's contemplating of his belly had blinded his lice (and what of the lice upon the lice?) It is a pity that he ever agreed to be chronicler: written words attract evil, and cause in the end the destruction of their creators.
One day on a hilltop as we watched the sun meet the moon, the pain of their encounter reached Whirligig; he explained his blindness by forcing me to write what was not true, which is all that can be written. He is waking.
I have just been given a very strange dream. I dreamed of a mocking voice emerging from a hole in a tree, telling me that the ancients have lied to us, that we have no homeland, and all our trouble has been wasted. I cannot help feeling that there was some truth in the dream, and that if wc were to remain for ever for until our beasts return, which may be as long a time) in this bleak valley, eating unpalatable licorice, and arguing angrily among ourselves, after a while nothing would matter to us any more, and we would cease to be aware of our existence.
[No more of Whirligig's journal is known to exist. All the subsequent pages have been torn from the book. K.K.]