When We Are

     "Ah, my dear Foucault ," said Hitler one morning "I am now looking at my white cat. I am seated upon my comfortable, dear sister, and so I live in peace. God will not easily forsake Hitler. What are you looking at, and why?”
     “Why do you lag behind?” asked Foucault. “Take care, if you can see no bridge at all, that there is no bridge at all." There was no bridge at all.
     "And there is no boat either," said Hitler, as they sailed along, with Wittgenstein in the back, preparing lunch.

     “The good little Duck is a simpleton and will die of hunger,” said Wittgenstein to Hitler and Foucault when they came to a cage in the middle 
of the Black Forest, “and that is no dove in the trees, but only the sun shining a little better than the pebbles do.” Then he put as many ducks and 
pebbles into his glorious sun-yellow apron as he could, and so was freed from them, or at least from contemplation upon them, which was nearly
as good.

      “No, brother Wittgenstein,” replied Foucault, “I am alone in the wood, for the wild beasts will soon come and tear the poor people into efficient strips. Also, although it is true that you have a sun-yellow apron full of pebbles and ducks, you must still keep to the pathway just like everyone else."
     Foucault was looking carefully at the results of a great famine upon the land, and—as he did—he could not remember how lovely his legs with their chubby redness were when he bared them to go swimming in the dirty canal.

      Still, Wittgenstein mumbled to himself, and then he took up the pearls that young Hitler walked upon with little regard; but his pockets only got deeper and deeper, and the pearls disappeared into a bottomless pit, until The Blind Westerner sprang up out of a bush by the side of the pathway, or maybe out of a bird’s corpse, or out of the very pebbles in the father’s apron themselves, and plopped into the deepening cold of the great forest. 
     This made very little impression upon our trio, who continued talking as they strode down the dirt meander. Such things happen, and we cannot pay attention to everything.

     So, finally, Hitler and Foucault and brother Wittgenstein came to a cozy clearing, gathered together quite a little mole-hill of dry wood, set an 
immense fire, and then a sweet voice called out from the flames, “Tip-tap, tip-tap” in a bitter rose tone, so as to entice all three into a nearby sty, where three fat generals and three fat priests were sleeping with the sows. The trio decided to sleep outside with the ducks.

       But when morning rudely popped by, Foucault felt heavy at heart, and thought, “It were better to be very glad than very thirsty, for passion best get some water quickly.” Hitler awoke next, and, shaking until his teeth sounded like a box of loose bullets, roused the slumbering Forest Babies, who were sleeping because they had offended the Blind Westerner many years ago, and were put to sleep on a lark. Once awoken, they were cursed never to sleep again. Wittgenstein asked, “How can you bring your heart to awaken those poor sleeping babes, for now they will approach us?” For he was afraid unto death of approaching babies, as all true men must be until the world is clean once again, and the sun is not so easily dismissed as a big mistake. Or a strawberry cake. Or a rooster.

     When Hitler and Foucault came near The Blind Westerner’s babies in the forest; and Wittgenstein was long dead, (more of him later) Foucault shook his sky-blue apron, and said, “Get up, you lazy things; we are going into the forest to chop up the poor people into efficient strips.” But he could not get up from the forest floor. Nevertheless, he had once comforted the good God in the oven by saying, “Do not cry; sleep in the good dark” and “How long could it be before we get out of the wood?” so the stars looked on him with  a fragile forebearance. But the three (for Hitler was carrying the body of Wittgenstein) did not hurry, although they walked the whole night long and the next day, but did not find one way out of the green darkness, for the wood had been constructed by Germans, and every leaf had been filed under “For Future Reference”.

      But they finally arrived happily on the other side, and had gone through many doors, although Foucault had run away, with duck grease on his
cheeks, and cried back at Hitler and the dead Wittgenstein as he vanished behind a polished oak tree “When you feel tired you can sleep for a little, and then the clouds will show us the way home.” But it wasn’t true, like so many things.
      As the old song goes “The moon shone and they ate Ducks, one at a time.” Thus the good little ducks (early in the morning, Wittgenstein—
although dead—came and pulled them out of their eiderdown bed) flew into the thickest part of the wood, and settled there to chew little pieces off a roof, and told all the approaching babies that they could eat the windows just as quickly, because they were ravenous and pretty. Will they not be eaten in turn?

     Hitler and Foucault perceived what the approaching babies’ thoughts were, and that it would be a treat for those dear things to devour them. 
Foucault began to cry, but it was all useless enough, and then the bread (which had been disguised as pebbles, rolling about for trouble, came to the cage and then at every step they stopped, and every step they dropped a pebble (really a crumb) out of their pockets upon the greasy grass. This went on for weeks. And then there were not many ducks, and they had gotten much thinner. But they were still pretty.

     The moon had passed, and Hitler still kept himself quite lean, with his fine sense of smell like a wild beast, so that they knew when they were
followed until they arrived at a cottage, upon the roof of which Foucault found nothing but a crab’s claw. For The Blind Westerner made the sea 
creatures do as he wished until a nice meal was cooked fourth, and fifth—taking Hitler’s precious little fist—one of the good little ducks followed the crusty pebbles (which gave them pains in their feet, a pain very large but still smaller than the former nothing else.) They all held bread in their aprons, for it glittered like new-coined silver pieces, and showed them the pathway with its pebbly light...

    “All good meals are merely spent geese,” said Foucault, “so the opening in the roof is quite big enough. See, I could even get in,” but they could not see any crumbs outside, for the thousands of birds in which rumbled in Foucault’s great, great cap of his own fur.

     Foucault shut up the Pretty White Duck, after asking her to help them grieve (for Wittgenstein and the glories of their homeland) . She was forced to fetch them water, and fast her tears ran, but not fast enough for the coffins soon caught up and scattered all about her. But The Blind Westerner (who liked to drop in unexpectedly) left them no peace till he sat down in the fire, and thus created noon. Each ate the other as the babies approached. The Blind Westerner exclaimed, “You wicked infants! Why do you approach?”

    Hitler comforted the Blind Westerner by saying, “We need only wait until the doors taste good too,” as he tore off a great piece of a 
window sill and tried to comfort Foucault by saying, “Wait a little while till the ducks’ hands are rough, and a little cage with a girl will appear in 
the clearing and that will be enough for us to eat.” At this, Wittgenstein appeared to tremble just a little, so Hitler and Foucault fed him some 
loose pebbles, which seemed to satisfy him.   

     As the old saying goes “A must know B too,” and he who consents the first time must come in and stop at one place or the other, and no harm shall befall you that wasn’t meant to befall you; and so the cage will be tasty once its door is opened. They were so glad that they fell, but even happier that they stopped at the ground.

     Hitler had just discovered that his right pocket was large enough to imprison all of Foucault’s former lovers, when a wicked little boy called 
House laughed madly at them, saying, “Here come two who shall not escape House!” They swiftly escaped. Such things happen, and not everything can be important at the same time.

       Later, they knocked at a door in the dark woods, and when Wittgenstein opened it, and saw it was now the third morning since they had left Foucault’s house, made a fire on the one hand and a fuss on the other; and one night the approaching babies overheard him  saying to the apple-green lattice-door, “Although he screamed loudly it was of no use. Sic semper tyranus.”

      Foucault was a lazy thing. so Hitler cooked something poisonous for his wounded left side, and then a song was abruptly ended in the distance, so they felt that the approaching babies must be shooed away. The infants were made of dry bread and strawberry cakes, and the window-panes they carried were made of clear sugar, at least before they all awoke. Afterwards, it was neatly different and less sweet. Such things happen, and not everything can remain the same, even if nothing changes.

     The Blind Westerner bounded up to them, the moon reluctantly came out, and then the crumbs of the moon also came out (from a side door), and then they all could quickly find the moon, soon. Hitler said, “We can eat ourselves, or a little dove, soon. Or a little duck, soon. Or a pebble.” 

     My tale is done.


       …somewhere there runs a mouse; whoever catches her may make her head into an oven, which (as all good children know) is where the God lives.

     Then the night woke up because of Foucault’s nervous nodding, and then the dear babies, who have brought us not a bit of help, were once again a great scarcity in every corner of the now and then. All’s well…etc. But—locally—they were still a problem.

     So, the trio (for Wittgenstein had fully recovered by now) dropped all their pocket-crumbs upon the path, while simultaneously capturing and
opening a beautiful snow-white bird sitting on the roof. Then they set fire to him, and as the flame burnt up high, they kept dropping crumbs on the blaze as they waltzed along, and then later they went to sleep; but the evening haplessly arrived and nowhere in the back room were three nice little beds, covered with poor woodcutters’ skins, eaten away by the wild beasts in the wood. Then they should have died all over again; it is the only means of escape.

   This enchanted forest walked for two hours a day upon its small green fingertips so that it might feel whether the approaching babies were getting fat. Hitler climbed into a nearby tree and sang:
                             “Path, perched; and when
                              Close to it the cottage was
                              On the way,
                              Broke in his pocket,
                              And stooping”
      While Foucault thought, "I will get in on some of that too," and Wittgenstein thought the same (as he usually did), and soon they all set out upon their way once more. When The Blind Westerner killed the good little ducks—cooked and ate them, and made a great festival of thinking about this pretty entertainment one lonely night, and a very lonely man he seemed,  so that he was quite ready to go and see if the wicked (i.e. lazy) Wittgenstein was not in fact a cat, but maybe merely the sun shining upon a cottage—the sun seemed less happy than before. But that is the way with strawberry cakes.
     Now we recall that old saying, “The oven and the window share the last crust.”
       Hitler’s Wittgenstein, however, would not listen as he had lost all his patience in his great bottomless pocket, and would not wait any longer for the approaching babies either. "Foucault?” he ventured. "No," answered Foucault. And that was that.

      “There has been too much sleep in the forest. I thought you three would never be rid of the poor people.” So said the White Duck as it came for them, and Hitler saddled the Pretty Little White Duck, and bade his sister to be something delicious for dinner; for all sorrows were ended, and they lived together in great happiness.

      Yet, still they had not really come out of the wood; and so they got very hungry from time to time, and so Hitler reached up and broke a piece off their roof, in order to let it fall into their mouths, but The Blind Westerner went on eating without any interruption and soon the entire house was gone, except for one throw rug, and the inedible doors.

      The approaching babies, however, had heard the conversations and the eating noises as they walked about in their cursed sleep, and while it is true that the day has stone eyes, and cannot see very far, the moon does own its own house; and this the three repeated to themselves many times for cold comfort, until Foucault said, “Before the sun, the two pieces of bread” and—because they could hear the blows of an axe on the roof of the moon’s house trying to say good-bye—the approaching babies had not gone directly to sleep, and so the white pebbles and the great, great white Duck which lay before the inedible door still seemed like silver pieces, and this is essentially what Wittgenstein said to the axe,

"Now, you children, lie down near the fire, and rest the wind.”

      They waited so long near the fire that at last their eyes closed like Foucault’s and everything was again consumed; they had left in their aprons only half a loaf of Foucault's fur. He had not had one.

      The happiest hour had fallen asleep, then gotten up, put on his coat, and given them each a little piece of bread; then left them all alone in what passes for heaven in those parts. The Blind Westerner behaved very kindly to them, but then they began to run, and, bursting into the moon’s house, they fell into neither stile nor bridge, and they came to a large piece of water but still there was no boat. "We cannot get over," said Hitler. But the pebbles in the pathway glittered so brightly, Foucault stooped down, and put as many into his great sky-blue apron pockets as he could, until the pebbles floated out and formed into a charming country bridge.

     They had gone a little distance beyond the large piece of water, and suddenly Hitler stood very still, and peeped back at nothing to eat but the berries which they found upon Foucault.

      Foucault wept an axe, so that a branch could not kill and cook him. Oh, how the poor little sister of Hitler thought it was Hitler’s finger coming to pinch her once again, and wondered very much that he did not get one hand after the other out of his pocket, he had so many after all. Then all their collected wood, and all their collected fires, and all their collected wings flew off, so that  they said nothing without end.

    Thus, to our work, and leave them alone, for they will not find the way home together. But The Blind Westerner called out, "Leave off that noise; it will unbar the back door, and loose some pebbles as before;” but Wittgenstein had locked the inedible door, so that he might keep on saying to Foucault  "We will soon find the way once this rain stops"; but they sat upon a bough, which sang so sweetly that they stood still and listened upon each other's neck, and kissed each other over and over again as the babies kept approaching. and—after all that—it wasn’t raining anyway. 

     And so, Foucault went to bed again to stretch out a lazy bone, and The Blind Westerner, having very bad sight, came over to Hitler thinking he was a cozy bed, and Hitler and Foucault were so frightened of seeing her fat weariness, that they fell fast asleep again over in another country. When they awoke, the country was burning quite fiercely. "Creep in to my tent," shouted Wittgenstein from across the alley, "and see if it is not as hot as noon.” Whereupon Foucault shaped a piece of bread into a vault and leaped over with Hitler, who had strewn all his bread on the pathway when they came to the middle of the forest, where Foucault told the approaching babies, “When we are ready, we will come and fetch you." But he was lying, for he was a decent man.

     Where there once were caskets full of pearls and precious stones flying about in the woods, the approaching babies had picked them all and had bound them to a withered tree, so as to be blown to and fro—and why?—because a large round pane out of the window was eaten so carelessly, and so they sat down awhile and stopped approaching. They were going into the forest to hew wood, and in the evening, a white chimney, and maybe a door or two. But in reality Hitler was not looking at a cat; but at the wind, which led them all deeper into the wood, so that they may not find the way to the white oven where very soon they would die.

     Then The Blind Westerner gave them each a picture of a piece of bread, saying, "There is no yourselves, while we go into the forest and chop
wood.” And Wittgenstein agreed with that, adding only...
“When we are…”
     Then he ate a piece of door and died.


                  The Cow’s Journey
                      The Cow shuddered at the sight of the fearsome Wallpaper.  She shuddered
                 at the fearsome Wallpaper while crawling up her fearsome Wall.
                 She found Herself face-to-face with a greasy Lilac writhing with Red Ants,
                 which (the Cow recalls) are a Variety of Porcelain-Plated Cow
                 (with delicate Rosebud Antlers), or a distant yet sympathetic Cousin
                 of the Haunting Red Coffeepot, air-heated and democratic.
                                             The Cow shyly introduced the Cup of her Lip
                 to the Haunting Red Coffeepot, so reminiscent
                 of the Self-Loathing Lilac Coffeepot
                 brimful of rusty Tea stirred with an Antler.
                 The Cow shyly introduced the Cup of her Lip
                 to the Mad Lilac-Plated Ants, sympathetic Cousins
                 of the Haunting Red Coffeepot,
                 air-heated and democratic.
                                            The Cow wore Her Vented Horsehair Cap
                 only while chewing upon the Telephone’s air-heated Cup
                 of the Haunting  Lilac-Rusted Antler of her Lip.
                                            The Cow preened her Salmon spines
                 beneath a Moon Plaid Lilac Canopy
                 while Everyone-Who-Is-NoOne preened
                 the Starlit Cow beneath the Mood Plaid Lilac Canopy.
                 Oh Lilac-Ant-Plate-Cow-Rust-Cup! Oh Cow!
                 Who only wore Her Vented Horsehair Cap
                 while chewing upon the Telephone’s
                 air-heated and democratic Antlers.
                                           The Cow preened the Cup of her Lip
                 in the presence of the Haunting Red Coffeepot,
                 so reminiscent of the Self-Loathing Lilac Coffeepot,
                 which is dreaming of the Moon Plaid Rustpot
                 while chewing upon the Telephone’s Spoonful,
                 air-heated and democratic.



The Khan And The Squirrel Army
      Once upon a time, a famous Khan threw off his cloak of power and ran away, because he had heard foul words spoken about his character and a great fear came over him, that his people were prepared to storm his citadel and throw him to the wolves below the city walls. He took along one talking unicorn from his vast repository of marvelous beasts, both because he would want someone to talk to upon the journey ahead, and someone to ride swiftly away on if he ran into a Giant with big shoulders. At night he only pretended to be asleep, and kept one eye upon the wild boars on the hillside.
     In the morning, a large chamber door had appeared in one of the hillsides, and the unicorn (very bravely) suggested they should go and open it. When they did, they saw inside a vast oceanfront, and a ship lying in wait for them. The Khan was very pleased, for he loved to sail, and so they both boarded the great ship whose hold was full of gilded trousers and jackets of a magnificent cut. The two rejoiced, but only slightly as they were—after all—only trousers and jackets, no matter how marvelous or how many. If they had known what else was on the ship they might have fled, but they didn’t, and so they didn’t.
     And by and by the ship mysteriously unmoored itself and took to the sea, and they were prisoners, albeit voluntary ones.
     On the next day, they came across a furious beast in the captain’s quarters; a wild, boarish chaplain with a gaping mouth and glistening teeth. It chased them down the hallway to its little chapel, where they darted in and slammed the heavy door behind them. Inside, our two travelers did much damage, with much pleasure, and taunted the wild chaplain from behind the locked door, shouting that he was “a mere nothing.” Eventually they rushed out and captured him and bound a rope around its neck, tied him to a tree growing out of the deck and chopped at him with tiny axes. The unicorn rushed with all its strength against the tree and so toppled it into the water, but not without losing its golden horn, which made him just another small horse after all, and so of no real use to the Khan, who was very demanding of animals and people. So the Khan gathered up a little store of food and walked off into a dense forest he had seen at the stern of the ship, and after several days walk he arrived at the outskirts of a small village, which had been recently attacked by a Giant. The Khan demanded that the head of the mayor be brought to him on a silver dish, for he had begun to think more like the Khan of old than just another fugitive from the people’s ire, and desired once again to rule a kingdom of his own, and he knew that all kingdoms begin in small, frightened villages.
     The mayor’s head was delivered, and then he chose the prettiest daughter from amongst the few which had been spared by the Giant (which meant she was merely bearable to look at) and married her on the spot, and so they became the Royal Family. It’s that simple really.
     But the unicorn (now only a small horse) had not given up on the Khan, and had trailed him to the village, but not before he had come upon 
the Giant and made a pact with him to the effect that they would rule together over this forest if only the Giant would kill the Khan and give his not-so-pretty bride to him, to be his slave. Then the Giant uprooted many trees and built a lifeboat, for he was well aware that they all were traveling on a ship and would someday need to escape. The he drew his great sword, and cut a deep wound in the breast of the unicorn, from which flowed a multitude of squirrels, who soon filled up the clearing in which they both stood, and became his army.
     “I believe that I might soon die,” said the wounded unicorn,” and this is too bad, for I would rather have enjoyed watching your squirrel army defeat the Khan.” And then he died and fell upon the ground, where several trees instantly sprung up from his blood. Then the Giant fell upon the rest of the body and sated himself, for he was very hungry and needed his strength for the battle ahead. But he found himself to be very tired from his murderous labors and so fell asleep under the beautiful new trees, so filled with angry squirrel soldiers that they seemed to be chattering.
     The Giant dreamed that he was a large pink stone in the middle of a river, and that the branches above him shook violently, since they were (it seems) full of lions, peering about him on all sides, and speaking to him softly about the One Hundred Daughters of the Kingdom, from which only one might be chosen to kiss him—and turn him into a normal man—if he defeated the Khan and became the Rightful Ruler of the small forest once more, as it had been of old, for a curse had been laid upon him by a magic tailor because he had feared the other’s might. Thus had a Giant been created, and all the forest trembled and shook with his approach, day and night. For that is the way of the Giant.
     Then the Giant awoke.
     At the other end of the small forest, the Khan and his Bride had built a fine home near the river, and he had forgotten that he was really just   
on a large ship in the middle of a vast ocean, floating aimlessly about the wide world. The villagers came to him when he was not asleep (which  
was not often these days) and begged him to cut down the trees and built lifeboats, for they knew someday the ship would run aground and 
they would have to escape. But the Khan did not take advice from anyone but his Bride, who was not only common-looking but also rather 
stupid, and so he spent much of his waking time building more rooms on to their home, until much of the forest was used up in such nonsense, 
for there was no limit to the number of rooms the Bride felt were necessary, and neither would believe the strange story that their forest was only a small patch of trees on a ship's deck out on a large ocean. Often, the Khan was totally lost in the middle of this huge maze of chambers, and was only found by great effort on the part of his servants. One day, after he had journeyed some large distance in the house, he came into the courtyard of the magic tailor, who had taken up residence in the mansion, seeing that there was little chance of his being discovered. There the tailor, being quite cheerful in his new home, told the Khan the story of the cursed Giant, and of his mighty squirrel army, and of how only a unicorn’s blood could create this vast army, which so frightened the Khan (for he suddenly remembered how he had abandoned his friend) that he jumped up from the chair he was seated in and gave the tailor a death-blow, which seemed a good idea at the time, until—from the deep wound on the tailor’s head—arose a roasted sheep, who spoke to him about the struggle to come, and then went to sleep in a nearby bed, which was soon covered with sheep grease, and quite repulsive to behold, so the Khan set fire to the bed and ran away to another room.
     When midnight came, and the servants still had not found him (for he was in a part of the huge house that no one ever went to except the 
mice),  the Khan sat by the edges of the  raging house fire and imagined that he saw a giant cherry-tree in the flames, and—as he knew that cherries were a sign of premature death—he shook visibly at this horrible omen. So then he decided—after all—to build himself a small lifeboat and escape from the ship, if he could first escape from this house, and then from the forest. furthermore, he hoped he would someday find the chamber door again and so return to his own land, for he was homesick. So he began gathering wood and also wandering about without hope in the dark hallways.
       The Giant meanwhile had approached the village at the head of his mighty squirrel army, and was ready to attack, when three villagers came out to him and offered to give the Khan up to his benevolence if they could only find him, and thus be spared destruction, for they were a cowardly lot, although many of them had once been able seamen.
     “With pleasure I accept your offer,“ roared the Giant, for he was not really up to the fight, and only wished to crush the Khan into cherry jam, and eat him upon a great slice of acorn bread, such as was made by the cooks of the squirrel army. Then the cowardly villagers ran off to search for the Khan, but they were soon lost in the maze of chambers, and courtyards, and hallways and two of them were never seen again. The third was seen just once—at a great distance—struggling up a a tree so as to get a clear view of his position, but there is no proof that he ever did. And so ended their tale.
     “Well done, as usual,” said the Giant to himself, as he reluctantly prepared for war.

       Meanwhile, the Khan’s Bride had befriended a bluebird, and kept it in her pocket, where it stored all the little nuts and sseds it collected during the night, when it flew free over the great house. One morning, she noticed that one of the little nuts and seeds was actually a tooth, and so she asked the bluebird where he had found it, thinking it might be the Khan’s. When the bluebird told her, the Bride sent two servants out to recover he Husband who—although he wasn’t much of a companion—still had the only keys to the money room, and—besides—was fairly good company when he wasn’t out killing the cowardly villagers and robbing them of their few possessions. While they were gone, she wondered what she might say to the Khan once they were reunited, and she decided on “There, you pigmy, I fancy I could have done better than you.” As I said, she was not a very clever woman, and only bearable to gaze upon.
      Soon they dragged the Khan (laden with a small handmade boat) back to the main chamber, the lovers pretended to be thankful for their reunion, and cheese was served to everyone in the kingdom, although it was not very good cheese as it was infested with flies’ eggs..
      At midnight, as the Bride slept in the massive bed, the Khan ran away with his small boat, hoping to be out of the forest by daybreak.  
But things don’t often turn out so well for such men. And they didn’t this time either, for the Giant had seen him scurrying through the woods  
and so hurried after him, the entire squirrel army in tow. Soon as he was within sight of the evil Khan, he drew a pebble from his pocket (which was really a large boulder) and smashed the Khan’s head in with one well-aimed toss. “You rascal! You wretched bad creature!”  He yelled at the dead man for some minutes, while the squirrel army—espying the small boat—plotted to escape the ship altogether, leaving behind the depleted forest, the cowardly villagers, the not-so-pretty Bride, and the not-so-clever Giant.
     “We’re off to seek our fortunes!” they all shouted in unison, snatching up the small lifeboat and heading toward the ship, which was now quite visible through the disarbored forest. The Giant was busy picking tiny pieces of old cheese from the Khan’s body, and so did not notice that he had been abandoned by his squirrel army, who were making ready to travel forth into the wide world.
     The Bride’s bluebird meanwhile had become lodged in a dense bush and died, which so upset the Bride she bound a belt about a tree and hanged herself.
     The army finally made it to the ship’s deck, and threw the lifeboat over the side and leapt in. There were also a great number of flies aboard, as the squirrels were not as clean as they might be, and the small particles of bad cheese in their fur had harbored many a fly egg.
     Then they sailed until they found the chamber door, and entered through to the Khan’s homeland.
     And that is how so many trees have so many high-spirited squirrels in them.
     The end of my squirrel’s tail…  

The Ebony Window-Frame
     The comely hogmongerer’s daughter named Wire Reins had been dead a long time, while her old lover the Great Prude lived and reigned happily even though he had heard tell of this. Eventually—although he strained not to be sentimental—he could not help setting out to see the body, his envy of other tourists and a morbid curiosity were so powerful. When he arrived, and saw that it was actually Wire Reins’s old enemy, the Glasgow Queen, who was lain out in the plastic coffin, a feast was called for, though he felt some vague unease, as was usual.
     On the evening of the Pseudo-Funeral Feast, The Great Prude dressed himself and his horse in fine, rich linens and gloves, then gazed into an obsidian mirror and asked “Tell me mirror, who should I invite?” The mirror consented to a strange list; a piece of old apple, a penniless lace factory worker named Pity-On-Him, a plastic coffin-maker from the inner city, several hundred carved ebony window-frames, a dove with rosy cheeks, and an owl who washed his face with wine. But it was too late to change plans, and every other bird attended also, and several of them proposed to the corpse—still quite beautiful in death—, sending it exquisite epistles with golden lettering, and then they all worked together and flew the coffin to the top of a hill when night came, so they could comb her hair, looking for bird seed. For bird seed was more important than love.
     Could it be that her heart was still beating, for her cheeks were like small apples floating in cream? Wire Reins herself was nowhere to be seen, but the penniless lace factory worker  could refrain no longer, and told the Great Prude that his beloved had—many months hence—gone into a secret, distant tower, put her head out of a high ebony window-frame, and called to another hogmongerer’s daughter, who was passing by the tower on the flinty pathway below, “If it costs me my life, I shall not let anyone in, for I am very tempting!” But the hogmongerer’s daughter—poisoned by the trials of the outside world—pretended not to hear her and hurried home. Then Wire Reins sat down in a pile of dirty laces and began to cry.
     Upon hearing this pathetic tale from the lace factory worker, the Great Prude went once more to his mirror, and asked,
                                  “Tremble with rage,
                                  The comb in a cage:
                                  Where is the poison
                                  I call Wire Reins?”
      But the cloudy mirror only answered,
                                  “Good luck and good lie,
                                  A lace factory worker in the pie:
                                  Maybe she will return
                                  Or maybe not.”
     In the small village nearby, there was pretty little girl with antimony hair, and she traveled to the lace factory worker’s cottage to offer some for the Great Prude to eat, for it was well-known he had exotic tastes, having been born in France. “Fine wares to sell!” she shouted as she passed the lace factory worker’s cottage, which was altogether different from the ones she had seen before, due to its abundance of ebony window-frames. “I dare not let anyone in” shouted the Great Prude, who was also little and pretty, but also altogether different from the other prudes she had seen before, for he had blue shadows in his eyes. Then the blood of the pretty little girl flowed out of her ears and dressed itself up as Wire Reins, and also went to the murky mirror, and spoke to it, but it replied in the same words as before, and so she went home, and soon came to herself again beneath the calming influence of two very brutal parents. But she wasn’t through with The Great Prude yet, for who ever is really?
     In the evening, the lace factory worker returned from the lace factory, and was very grieved to see that the Great Prude was experiencing a shortness of breath, and could not leave that night, as he would then have to put up with him for a little while longer. The Great Prude told him the story of the pretty little girl, and was informed by the lace factory worker  that she was actually the Evil Bobbin Wife in disguise, trying to trap him with her spiteful mischief. The Great Prude looked out of the window and past the rickety gate and over the tiny river and over the off-white hills and to the garden where he thought a bear lived, but he was much alarmed, for there was no bear to be seen, and he thought it may have been betrayed by one of its many servants, who seldom spoke the truth, were known scallywags, and were far more beautiful than the bear itself, who looked like an peddler woman wrapped in a horse blanket. And then the muddy mirror said,
                                  “Thou art a shaded mountain,
                                  A handsome cook, a fountain:
                                  Wire Reins is seeking silver.”
    The lace factory worker  pitied The Great Prude, who was delighted to be merely lovely, and so the lace factory worker went to sleep  
overnight with the distant bear (for they secretly loved one another), taking along a magic lamp that also served as a wonderful bed, a box 
to keep bread fresh in, and a soothing head rest. Meanwhile, the Great Prude began to drink wine and break plates against a wooden stool, and also went digging for three tiny imaginary beds hidden in the mountains, for he was certain that one of those would be too long, and one would be too short, and the other would be made of broken glass. And why not, after all? The world had sadness enough to fill up the days.
    Not far from the lace factory worker’s cottage, the Great Prude stopped to pick a flower, for he was exceedingly hungry. Beyond the pathway he saw seven little glass tumblers with seven little cottages in them, and so laid down to rest, for his weary feet were roaring like wild beasts, and a “peur tremblant” left him feeling quite alone in the great forest. He dreamt of some huge creatures tearing Wire Reins to pieces, and it melted his heart when she begged them to stop, for he was greatly afraid that they would. Then the pretty little girl wandered by, pale with rage and envy, for she felt she was lovelier than Wire Reins, as bright as a seven-year old obsidian mirror, and that she should be the Great Prude’s wife. But she died. And turned into an ebony window-frame, because Fate had a way about him.
     When the Great Prude awoke, the once pretty little girl (and now an ebony window-frame) had grown up into a dark house in the snow, and he noticed it had shed three drops of blood onto the ground, which he contemplated, until the flakes of snow stopped falling about him, and he turned into an ebony window-frame which we can still see today, in the woods outside Glasgow, looking out on nothing in particular. 



The Pet Koax-Koax
    The Wind Man on the Glass Mountain was little (or perhaps nothing), but still he lived happily and somewhat well, although there was no well and he was not very happy. The Purser and his Whipping Bride wept for pleasure each time they saw him pass by in  their Father’s carriage, for both the True Koax-Koax and the Untrue Koax-Koax had reigned for about seven days apiece and had never been heard of since. 
     All the people, and all the smarter animals of the Glass Mountain forest, and all the stubborn suitors instantly made preparations to hold the Purser’s beloved in their arms, which is easy to imagine, although their joy was of the kind which was best not dwelt upon.
     Now all recognized that the Glass Mountain’s royal youths held in their hands two  golden apples apiece, and were clad in gold from foot to head, and herded before them a grey, laughing Koax-Koax, who they did not let trouble them, for they themselves were as like a king, but younger and not leashed.
     “Gracious heaven, it’s a pet Koax-Koax!” they all laughed, “Here he is! Here he is!” and they clasped him in their arms so that no one could see his face which was drawn up over his head, like a broad-brimmed hat. He also wore a broad-brimmed hat and often stood concealed by a cape in the crowds who could not find what they sought, although they looked in all directions, while maidens issued from the royal palace until they assembled at the meeting to pine away to the astonishment of all. But once back at at court, they would appear to be the cherished hope of the times, which was that no one would know that they had a Koax-Koax as a pet, and that all that now remained to them was to discover what the prize was that would be awarded to those who got to the bottom of the Glass Mountain, for the mountain was very slippery. It was a dark age (remember: horns and trumpets were vanishing in the forest) although the Glass Mountain was still blooming with golden apples, the Whipping Bride bowed before the Purser, and the Wind Man received the Purser for the third time.
     Again and still, horns and trumpets were vanishing in the forest, where—just a few days before— a horse had turned on the Pursers, who had nearly reached the foot of the mountain, where a little observation tower distinguished itself by its efficient design, since mountains of glass and horses which ate armor and even architecture usually followed the Wind Man’s instructions, because he was slightly silver-colored when fully saddled. In the iron-plated underground Alhambra of the Wind Man there were unhappy cattle watching the Purser, as has often been related, so we shall not go into it here.
     “Respect is similar to a result,” the Wind Man frequently intoned, and so the competitors for the Purser’s Whipping Bride and the Award for achieving the bottom of the Glass Mountain attempted to descend the Glass Mountain, this being the second trial for both the suitors and the Purser, who respected each other, although they were enemies.
      A daring new stranger was reported to have dreamed of the Purser’s Whipping Bride himself, and so the Purser formed the opinion that whispers were like a gallant rider on an even nobler steed, and—on this point—all were agreed: that this stranger—hardly need I say it?—was the assembled multitude itself, made into one man by severe spatial necessity, so it is easy to imagine there was a commotion at the top of the mountain, which could even be heard from the bottom. Or so we are told.
     But flies are like birds, only smaller, and the forest like a horse, only bigger, and so the contestants for the Prize often flew down the hill, even to halfway down the slope, but did not reach actually the bottom, and—in fact—scarcely emerged from the forest at the top, so—although no one had ever seen many of them before, because they had no time for asking if anyone had seen them before—each person was asking another whether the strange knight-stranger might be a pleasure to behold with his belt in sword and arm on shield, and—foot to head—clad in the bluest grass from the Mountain, for all of a sudden the Fairy of Foul Fortune was thinking firmly that though each had played a part, the Prize was nearly won by the arduous enterprise of the Purser’s suitors, who were riding full speed toward the Mountain’s bottom, before vaulting into their saddles, or buckling on the harnesses and helms which did not need to be asked twice. After all, they were cattle, and tended to ride away quickly, bridled in a bluish light that shed the hardest steel from deep down in the earth, where the Purser put out his tiny hand to help the Wind Man in turn.
      But a remedy had been easily found: the Mountain itself might contend for the Purser’s Whipping Bride, and even the horses and armor, for they were fugitives from a sad and lonely footstep, which was now also one of the downward racing riders, to whom the beautiful Purser's Whipping Bride waved her restful hand while seated upon a rattling stone, so that one could not well hear the tumult of the young cattle’s Purser, who was being pursued by the Wind Man.
      At a considerable distance, a crash of armor was heard, and the neighing of broken legs and then there was no bottom to be seen beneath the exceedingly steep and small way, slippery as a vanished trumpet at a time when all else was spectacle, and the great crowds flocked from every quarter in the sunshine which shone like golden apples, and golden crowns, and that day the imprisoned Koax-Koax won for his wife the Glass Mountain itself, and sent a proclamation resolving that his daughter was a good idea, fully armed. But even he could not ride to the bottom, even though he alone possessed a liking for things that happened rather than for choices made in anger in a bower. His daughter one day, therefore, was constantly increasing, had an innumerable host of winter suitors, and would not allow herself to be completed. Her hand might be regarded as fortunate, courteous and a kind of palace itself, but fairer and married to the Koax-Koax, who was fond of the story. Nowhere else could his like be found.
      He often ranged about the forest, to watch the Purser’s cattle as they entered the palace and exchanged clothes with a plough boy. At this sight he was overjoyed, as the cattle was glittering in the tops of the trees, and no sooner done than said, “There is a path up into this fir, this lofty fir, and at the bottom of the Mountain there is a long distance which grows in the forest like the nuts and wild berries, as did the Koax-Koax’s son, who never returned.  Then the crowd told the Purser to go away, and they took out his heart to sell to the hogmongerer. He knew it was not a hog’s heart, for it was violent like a Koax-Koax’s companion, and—when he had failed to penetrate very far into the forest—the crowd set out upon its way, there being no alternative to interceding and bringing his heart back to the forest, as it richly deserved. The little Purser was deadly pale, and let the Wind Man come forward, for an audience with the False True Koax-Koax. 
       But no one knew anything, and so every man’s fourth child was called upon to bear witness to a search of the palace, while the guilty   one was confessing to the False Koax-Koax that the Wind Man would be taken care of upon landing at the bottom of the mountain, where a ship would lie in wait to take him to Hybornia. This troubled the False Koax-Koax, so he let some time pass away, while continuing to track people along the road toward the Great Commotion,  and so the Wind Man escaped—after stealing some keys to his mother’s cage—and no one was the wiser in the usual manner. Later he would ask his mother to comb his hair, where he had hidden two golden apples many years before.
        Meanwhile, the Purser (who was also the True False Koax-Koax) burst into pleading tears after he discovered that threats would not   win him either freedom or pleasure. The length of each tear was measured by the Whipping Bride, who came to the palace to wander after the False Koax-Koax’s departure for the bottom of the Glass Mountain, which was still of a tender age.  She was intent upon sewing some new attendants for the palace with banners waving out over the gilded ocean, and also another gilded cage so that the Purser would not escape when she left both the war and the land in his care. After some time had passed, a war broke out between the Glass Mountain and Hybornia, after a single word had brought the Wind Man forth from his little opening in the royal palace’s cage. A drinking party of courtiers and a lace factory worker , on hearing of this, asked the True False Koax-Koax what was best to do with the Wind Man, but the False True Koax-Koax (who was also the Pursers) answered, “Bad luck resembles shaggy moss” and then evening was drawing near and so they ran across the forest with the False Koax-Koax’s hunting hound, True Success.
         The true end.

        The Starlit Dog
                The Starlit Dog has fallen into the River
        just as he was about to open his PinkMouth
        & curse his Mother.
                Just as he was about to reveal his Plan
        for Maturing Money in muddy times
        from inside a Blue PinBox
        or a DrawingRoom
        with a huge FeatherBed
        in the Sea.
                Let us be kind to the Starlit Dog this Evening.
        Let us not lose Patience with the Starlit Dog
        & his Maniac WidowBees this Evening.
                He sold his one SunBeam to a PaperMill
        to bolster their “Executive” Stationery,
        and he is also that DeadSoul
        who works all night in a PaperMill
        and can’t catch a Cut.
                Don’t look into his blue PinBox
        slotted into the Earth with Iron Screws;
        he owns a LookingGlass
        which only reflects a Sow
        and her Son.
               The rest of the Royal Litter
        don’t see fit to wish him a Goodnight.
        He sleeps surrounded by AppleTrees
        and Children with WidowBee Eyes.
                 But I am losing Patience
        with the Starlit Dog
        and his Mad widowBees.
        Just as he was prepared
        to open his PinkMouth
        and curse his Mother
        he fell into the River.