Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Student's Newspaper. Volume 31, Number 1. March 3 1968
The Journal of Ocarina
The Journal of Ocarina
18643. Two nights before last 1 was given a strange dream. I dreamt that our people left this dreary place and returned to their long-forgotten ancestral homeland. It was a warm and comfortable place; in the dream I was overwhelmed by sensations of greenness and of reddish-brownness. As soon as I woke I forgot exactly what had happened in the dream, except for a vision of a grey rectangular rock growing straight out from the earth. Somehow I knew that the following words were carved on the far side of it: "Rest in peace".
I have mentioned this dream to Cantilever, who became immediately enthusisatic. The words expressed on the opposite face of the rock, he said, symbolised the fate of our people: on the near face there is, by contrast, neither rest nor peace. He suggests that I should transform the dream into a poem, and present it at this week's festival.
I did so; the poem was received without great acclaim, but thoughtfully. After the festival, Sparadrap asked that the poem be read once more, to the remainder of the crowd. I felt greatly honoured by such a request from our oldest and wisest. After the reading (again received in silence) Sparadrap was helped into the tree, from where he addressed the several hundred gathered. He said: I have long thought in the manner of Ocarina's dream; last week. I myself dreamt that we were travelling towards our former home. There are none among us now who remember our flight and retreat to this desolate spot, but my great-great-grandfather's greatgrandfather's grandfather's father, among those gallant hundred and twenty three who arrived at the safety, though not the luxury, of this mean abode, spoke of our stay here as purely temporary. saying that we should return when we had gathered our wits, facilities, forces, consolidated our magic, and had been purified by our stay here.
At this point a loud humming broke out as it showed its appreciation of the trouble Sparadrap took to speak.
18644. Over the last month or so there has been a veritable plethora of dreams concerning the land of our forebears. Some suspect a practical joke on the part of the philosophers, perhaps by means of Enur. Consequently there is talk of return; this of course swells every autumn; nobody looks forward to their enforced hibernation. Perhaps this year we shall go; the year before last it was only the death of Ockeghem that prevented us. and last year the early onset of winter. Sparadrap evidently thinks we shall leave; he has asked me to keep a record of events. Once more I am honoured.
18645. There has been a small earthquake. Many of us have been trapped in our caves. The moles are at the point of exhaustion, with boring away so much rock. It is feared that some of us are lost. It is generally agreed that this unfortunate event will settle all arguments about leaving: now we shall have to go: all our winter stores are lost in an abyss.
We shall attempt to leave before the first snows. It will be a long and arduous journey, since we do not know where to look, except eastward. All other indication of the whereabouts of the homeland has been lost; many false starts can be expected. We shall all have to become pilgrims temporarily, perhaps for years.
I am filled with a violent hatred for this dreary clime. I am familiar with every stone, clump of grass, ugly shrub, and other excrescence upon the landscape for miles around, and I despise them all.
Already we are in the midst of preparations. The larger animals are being brought up from their deep caves, so that their eyes may become accustomed to the daylight. Our raw-materials cave is rapidly emptying; we are using up all our wood, metal, and plastics in building 100 covered wagons with caterpillar tracks. It is sad that our rainbow zebra-ounce is fatally ill after having impaled itself on a sharp stack, and may die before we leave. A pity because of that animal's great speed. However the roc-albatross is now old enough to make long flights; with one of us on its back, it can fly for hours without landing. Buxtehude is to take il tomorrow, to find the best route out of these hateful mountains.
Buxtehude's route is over the pass to the north, then along the river side, then to cross the river before the cliffs, then to make our way across the plateau on the far side of the cliffs. Across the river is where the danger will begin, if our enemies are still waiting for us. lacking as they are in the magic — or the elephant-giraffes — necessary to cross the flooded river.
Whirligig has drawn up a plan of leaving. Since there will be nobody to farewell us, half of us will go first, fondly farewelled by the remaining half, then gradually return, in time to farewell the second half. Those who leave later will travel by a slightly longer route, in order that those who remain will be able to overtake them easily. Each half will then welcome the other with glad greetings. In this way. every one of us will twice be made to feel happy. Whirligig is a genius!
A date has been set for leaving: only two weeks ahead. Even that to me seems an infinite time. Buxtehude has flown more, and confirmed that no large enemy body is awaiting us to the east (at least. not in the open). All the ground over which he has flown is totally uninhabited.
18645. The covered wagons are all made. The animals are all ready. We shall hold a gigantic festival, lasting from tomorrow till the time we leave.
Our band will comprise:
104 covered wagons (three made entirely of bronze, to protect against magnetism, to let the magicians continue with their experiments as we travel)
drawn by 68 elephant-giraffes, 10 rhinoceroscamels. 10 giant ants, 16 giant cats. 3 griffins (for the bronze wagons). 12 dragon-cats, 28 ant-lions
followed by the beasts of burden, too numerous to list here, followed by the beasts of non burden but some danger, such as dragons, welignyfes. amphisboenas, basilisks, and harpies
followed by the rainbow zebra-leopard (if it lives) on a cart drawn by 1089 stoats.