Raised the son of a mad prospector and a timid schoolmarm, I spent the first fifty years of my life as a wandering minstrel, performing ballads about the great men and women of our time. One day, I was set upon by a band of brigands. Outnumbered ten to one, I realized that it would take cunning to overcome them. So I cunningly attacked them madly with no plan at all. Gloriously, I did wield my banjo aloft, and smote them with it as best I could. Their hesitance to fight me caused me to realize that they were not so much brigands as a potential audience. I fled in disgrace to make a new life for myself.
Now was a burgeoning era of science and technology. Filled with excitement with a world of possibilities, I pursued the fascinating subject of manned flight. Within a few years, I became a zeppelinist. But no mere pilot of zeppelin was I, no! I was a pirate zeppelinist! My zeppelin was the purest sky blue, and rather than motors, I used sky-blue sails to traverse the ocean of air before me. The other airships heard me not and saw me not, and I would be upon them before they knew what was what. Like a lightning bolt, I struck, gathering their riches and their valuables, only to leap from the side of their craft, seemingly to my death. But my plunge would be stopped short by the nearly-invisible elastic cord that tethered me to my aerial galleon.
As feckless youth aged into more mature adult, I felt guilt at my self-serving pursuits. Hanging up my tri-cornered hat, I climbed to the top of my cerulean skyship and plunged my cutlass into its canvas covering. The blimp disgorged its helium and we descended, the ship to its death and myself to my new life.
I landed in a most curious country, where the ground was composed entirely of diamonds and radishes. The locals came out occasionally, to collect a few diamonds, leaving radishes in their place. When I asked them about this, they explained that they used the diamonds to buy enormous shipments of food from other countries, shipments which always included, in some shape or form, radishes, which the locals universally despised for their texture. So they threw them into the streets, where they provided a softer footing than the rough gems.
But the simple fact was that the radishes were taking over. One diamond buys a good sight more than one radish, and the ground level was steadily rising. You couldn’t open the door to your house without climbing out the window beforehand to move the radishes out of the way. And no one could come into the country to remove the radishes with machinery. As it was, the food deliveries were dropped into the country by air, as their were no traversable roads. If this went on, the entire country would be buried like Pompeii of old, not with volcanic offal, but with radishes.
Contemplating their dilemma, I remembered some of the distinguishing geographical landmarks I had seen from the air in my piratical days. Now the country–in size really no more than a city, a few miles long and one mile across–lay in a valley, and at one end of this valley, the rock rose several hundred feet to a plateau. That plateau was entirely composed of salt, deposited there for hundreds of years. Up close, it looked like a crystalline desert, and just a whiff of the air blowing off that desert was enough to suck all the moisture from your body.
Above these salt plains, several hundred more feet up the rock walls, was a great freshwater lake. The lake was replenished with hot, delicious springs of water that poured out from the mountain immediately adjacent. And the warm spring water flowed into the lake, which sat beneath the sun and grew warmer and warmer, steaming sometimes in the night.
Borrowing a few diamonds from my friends, I purchased some sticks of dynamite from a militaristic country some fifty miles to the south. After placing the dynamite in precise locations, I convinced my friends in the valley country to pick up their houses and move them a little way up the sides of the valley. The houses were made of a deft weave of radish skins, remarkably sturdy, but also incredibly light. And when all were safely out of harms way, I set off the dynamite.
The first several sticks were at the side of the lake nearest to the valley. The explosion cut a gouge in the surrounding edge of the lake, and a hot river of lake water poured out, directly onto the salt flats below. The rest of the dynamite carved out a path for the water to continue to flow down into the valley. The river flowed down onto the salty plains, dissolving most of the salt, carrying it down into the mass of diamonds and radishes. The force of the water stirred these elements together, and the diamonds–considerably tougher than vegetables–smashed the radishes into small chunks and paste, which then stirred into the salty river, which slowed to a trickle, as the last of the lake water reached the valley. And when everything was said and done, with the hot water and salt and radishes all mixed together, with the diamonds sinking to the bottom, I had turned that valley into the biggest bowl of hot, salty, spicy, delicious radish stew that anyone has ever seen before or since.
And ever since that time, the community has lived in much greater satisfaction. When food shipments come to them, they smash up the radishes with their diamond spatulas and throw them into Soup Lake, as it has come to be known. And hot spring water still pours down from the mountain, picking up salt from the plains and continuing to fill the lake with broth. The fathers of the country go out diving in the lake for the diamonds that hide at the bottom of the stew, and if they ever get a little bit hungry at work, they just open their mouths while they dive and take a great big gulp of their new favorite food.
I had many adventures after that, and will have many adventures still, I’m sure. But those will have to wait for another day…because today is Thursday, and I have to fetch Roc eggs for dinner.