Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Silver Lining

The rain fell month after month and the water rose on every side leaving only the island of Hexagonia above the heaving waves. The Ark took shelter at Hexagon Wharf, its cargo dozing fitfully under the ceaseless, sardonic applause of the rain. And then, when it seemed that even the six-sided peak of Mt. Wheatstone would slide beneath the swell...
The sky became a tunnel of colour. The toad was sent out to discover whether the Stotinki archives had been damaged by flood. He was gone a long time. But one morning a thud was heard on the deck. The toad had returned with a curious story to relate. On discovering that the entrance to the mine shaft wherein the Stotinki archives are kept was once again above sea level, the toad had contrived to open the heavy door. Once inside he was met with an extraordinary scene. An emaciated man lay stretched upon the ground, blinking with confusion into the bright daylight. This man was the famous musicologist Helvetius Kronk. He had visited the archive just as the deluge began and had become trapped inside by the rising floodwaters. With only stale Eccles cakes to sustain him over the months of his incarceration, he had become weak and slightly deranged. However his enforced stay in the archive had led him into virtually unknown areas. One day he had discovered the original score to the legendary 'Apocryphal Insect Music'. This lost collaboration between Stotinki and several species of leaf-eating beetle requires the construction of a 'phyllophone' to be played. Leaves are presented to the musicians, who gnaw a pattern of holes through the surface.
 These are then fed into the phyllophone in which a sensitive apparatus interprets the pattern of holes into an audible output. Kronk describes this music as "by far the most sublime and ethereal of all sounds." Kronk's discovery sustained him throughout his long ordeal. His only regret was that his hunger and delirious state led him to devour a thick bundle of Stotinki's detailed plans for the construction of the phyllophone.