Tarzan's Tripes Forever, and Other Feghoots

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A Tall Ship Tale #16: A Hero Glyph

Category: alt.callahans, Puns, Rated G

Another chapter in the tale by Paul de Anguera.


When it reached the Automan Empire, rather than anchoring in the harbor with the other ships, the H.M.S. Legume activated its GAG levitation system and flew directly over Constantinople’s bazaar. Here Stan Bull, the duck barbecue man, took delivery of the ship’s cargo of tinned ducks and grease. The Automan Harbor Master, surrounded by his Unix, was right behind him. “You must pay a thousand pieces of money!” he bellowed up to the deck.

“What for? It can’t be for anchoring in the harbor, because we didn’t,” the First Mate retorted.

“A landing fee, then,” the Harbor Master insisted.

“Didn’t do that either,” the First Mate said. “Careful with that cannonball, Almo!” But it was too late. The 24-pound iron ball which the sailor had been clumsily inspecting slipped between his fingers, plunged over the side and embedded itself in the ground at the Harbor Master’s feet. Almo peered apologetically over the rail, another cannonball cradled precariously under one arm. The Harbor Master turned and fled, leaving his Unix retinue standing in a circle looking up fearfully at the undescended ball. But the tallest among them, who wore the uniform of a Kernel, now addressed the ship.

“Would you consider a business proposition?” He called. For Quid the Acquisitive, this was a given. He ordered the Unix uploaded. The First Mate adjourned with them to the stern cabin.

“As you are only barbarians, you may not know that we Unix worship Cybele, The Mother Of All Gods,” the Unix explained. “She has need of your ship to search for someone lost at sea.”

“Doesn’t She realize that by the time this frigate found someone lost at sea they’d probably be dead?” the First Mate burst out.

“This er… person… will not die,” the Unix assured him mysteriously. “In fact, we expect he is living at or near the bottom of the sea. Cybele says that you shall troll for him.”

The First Mate paused and assumed a regular expression to evaluate the Unix characters. He could see that they were in earnest, hemming way after way that he tried to find out of their proposal. “Since Cybele is The Mother Of Gods, doesn’t that make Her a Goddess, too? In which case, couldn’t She search the sea better for Herself?”

“She’s not that sort of Goddess. Cybele is The _Earth_ Mother.”

“Well, then, why has She selected the Legume? It’s a big harbor; there are ships here from all over the empire to choose from.”

“She’s a Phrygian Goddess; and, as you just mentioned, your ship is a phrygate. And here is something else for you to consider.” So saying, the Kernel took off his turban, withdrew a sack from it and flung it on the table. The sack was imprinted with the Phrygian glyph ‘$’ which signified “All Meaning Revealed” (and which is a Sacred Symbol to many people even today). The Sack fell with a Heavy Jingling Sound.

‘That’s settled then,” the First Mate agreed. He took the Sack up to the quarter-deck and showed it to the Captain. Hastily Quid ordered the H.M.S. Legume underway. But, as the First Mate watched the Aegean growing nearer, he realized that there was something important about this mission which he still didn’t know, and about which the Kernel had been most evasive during their interview. Now that he had time to think about it, he wondered…

..For Whom Cybelle Trolls?

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