“The ivy,” I cried. “It was the ivy against the pane.”
Not everything he saw was familiar. The walls of the room itself were strange. They were not metal or plaster or knotty pine; they were not papered, painted or overlaid with stucco. They seemed to be made of some sort of hard organic compound, perhaps a sort of plastic or processed cellulose. It was hard to tell colors in the pinkish light. But they seemed to have none. They were "neutral"—the color of aged driftwood or unbleached cloth.
It is strange that, considering the amount of annals and legends transmitted to us, we have so little knowledge of Druidism or Paganism in ancient Ireland. However, it may be accounted for in this wise: That those who took down the legends from the mouths of the bards and annalists, or those who subsequently transcribed them, were Christian missionaries whose object was to obliterate every vestige of the ancient forms of faith.
“Hair and beard turning grey?”
However, one day a woman having put down a pot of water to boil, found that no amount of fire would heat it. Still it remained ice-cold, as if just drawn from the well. So she looked carefully into the pot, and there beheld the Sacred Speckled Trout sailing round and round quite contented and happy. On seeing this, she knew that the curse was lifted from the well, and she ran and told the priest. His reverence having seen the Sacred Trout with his own eyes, ordered it to be carried back to the well, the water of which at once regained all its sacred powers by the blessing of the priest; and he gave the people leave thenceforth to hold their pattern there, so as they behaved themselves like decent, God-fearing Christians for the future. But the water was not allowed to be carried away any more to their houses for household purposes; the desecration of the holy water of a sacred well being strictly forbidden as dangerous and unlucky.
Takeko dipped a chopstick into a dish and placed it beneath the objective of the microscope. "We shall look at a spot of evil-smelling takuwan-juice," she said. "There is light enough. Make it fit your eyes, Lee-san; and you will know the secret of Jodo, this world you call Kansas."
Doc raised his eyebrows. "That's news indeed. But look, Simon, with the knowledge you've gained in this tournament won't you be able to make the Machine almost a sure winner in every game?"
The Great New South
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