CHAPTER ONE : Of Heaks and Tralks
"Aha! So this is how it is done!" said the tall man.
The tall man then proceeded to mount the horse with some small difficulty. The horse looked disgusted with its new rider.
"Well horse! I need to ride you all the way to the Body Plant. I must have a body you see. If I am to have a body, it becomes necessary that I go to the Body Plant to acquire one."
With these sage words the horse felt compelled to obey the higher life form that it carried on its back.
The tall man has black hair. The tall man has black eyes. The tall man has pale skin. The tall man is also a thin man. The tall man wears a black shirt. The tall man wears black pants. The tall man wears black shoes, which contain black socks, which further contain the feet of the tall man. The tall man is tall. The tall man must ride the horse to the Body Plant to get a body. If the tall man needs a body, he must go to the Body Plant to get one.
The journey through the cool fall countryside was enjoyable for the horse. The horse liked to walk. The horse liked the countryside. The horse liked the season of fall. The horse also liked cool air. The horse walked at a rather neutral pace, neither excessively fast nor excessively slow.
The tall man was riding the horse that was walking through the countryside. The tall man was not enjoying his ride. He felt very awkward riding a strange thing such as a horse. What if the horse were to trip? Most things, which trip soon after fall. The tall man did not wish for the horse, and thus himself, to fall. He was also concerned about how non- excessively fast the horse was going. Getting a body is an urgent matter, and the Body Plant is no place for a non-excessively fast horse. The tall man was beginning to get nervous that he would never make it all the way to the Body Plant. He decided to go faster.
"Excuse me Sir Horse, but we must be moving more quickly if we are to make it to the Body Plant on time." Said the tall man as politely as he could, not wanting to excite the horse.
The horse upon which the tall man rode heard the tall man's words. Now horses are animals, and animals have difficulty overcoming the persuasive powers of humans. To the horse, the tall man's argument was a potent one, so he promptly obeyed, and began to gallop at a high speed.
The tall man was pleased that the horse was offering him so little resistance. He felt much more comfortable at a non-excessively neutral speed. But this raised the problem of tripping. Suppose that the horse, in its haste, were to trip, surely the result would be the falling of the horse. And surely at this new velocity such a fall would be doubly inconvenient. The tall man figured that was he to fall at this speed he would most surely waste quite some time writhing in pain. He further figured that the amount of time he would spend such would cancel out the amount of time he thought he would be saving by moving more slowly. After rethinking these critical points, he decided to address the horse a second time.
"Excuse me Sir Horse, do you think you would mind walking rather slowly? I fear at this speed we may encounter trouble if we were to fall."
The horse was once again swayed by the sheer logical superiority of the tall man over himself. The horse promptly slowed down to a rather slow speed indeed.
At this new and relaxing pace the tall man felt much more secure about not falling. Surely there is no animal stupid enough to trip while traveling at this speed. And even if the horse he rode were so stupid, the fall would be so uneventful that the tall man could easily spring back into the saddle and ride the horse to the Body Plant once more. However, at this new speed it would take considerably longer to reach the Body Plant, and those who work in the Body Plant cannot stand a late arrival. The plight of the tall man was nearly unbearable.
"Where is the Body Plant?" asked the horse.
Rather startled by the sudden chatty outbreak of this large beast, the tall man decided to reply, "Oh, the Body Plant is where I am going."
The horse immediately understood. This concept was not a difficult one, rather it was a simple one. The horse was quite capable of understanding such a simple concept. The horse did not feel the need to ask the tall man again.
The tall man of course did not know exactly where the Body Plant was, but he knew that was where he was going. He decided that if he found somebody to ask for directions, that maybe that would help.
The tall man looked all around him. There was nothing, he was far away from where he found the horse, and he was quite sure that there were no nearby cities. There was, however, a tree. Not wanting to arouse the suspicion of his rogue horse, the tall man decided to couch his desires in a sneaky bit of deceit.
"Excuse me Sir Horse, I am a bit weary, maybe we should rest in the shade of that great tree over there." Said the tall man to a horse that he was riding at the time.
The horse found that sitting under a tree would be a good way for the tall man to rest. He immediately complied and stopped next to the tree.
The tall man promptly dismounted the horse and sat down at the foot of the tree. The horse immediately sat next to him. The tall man could not have this. If the horse were to hear him ask the tree for directions, then surely the horse would question the integrity of the tall man. Not wanting to cause trouble, the tall man thought for a while on how he could distance himself from the horse while still being able to speak to the tree. Being the smart fellow that he was, the tall man soon devised a plan.
"Excuse me Sir Horse, but why do you sit in the shade of the tree?" asked the tall man.
"Well, the tall man who was riding me was weary and asked to sit here, and so he sits here." Reported the horse with some degree of pride for remembering such important information.
"You are correct Sir Horse, I am weary, and so I sit in the shade of this great tree, but we did not stop so that you could sit under the tree. You are not weary. I am weary. So I will sit beneath the tree. You are a horse, and are not weary like I am. So you may go and stand over there away from the tree. When I am ready to start again, I will come and tell you." Reasoned the tall man.
The horse was completely confused. These reasons and explanations that the tall man gave were quite complex for him. The horse thought that the tall man must be very intelligent indeed to be able to come up with such words to say. The horse thus figured that doing what the tall man said would be the right thing to do. The horse promptly went and stood away from the tree, and incidentally, the tall man.
Pleased that his ploy had succeeded, the tall man said in a low voice only audible to himself and the tree, "Excuse me Sir Tree, I wish to go to the Body Plant, in which direction must I go?"
"Trees cannot speak." Said the tree in a deep and earthy voice.
"You have just spoken to me Sir Tree." Said the tall man with all honesty.
In a deep and earthy voice, the tree said, "Trees cannot speak."
"Then how do you speak oh Tree?" Asked the tall man with genuine curiosity.
"I am a tree. Trees cannot speak. I cannot speak. I am a tree." Said the tree purposefully.
The tall man could not help but acknowledge the logic of the tree. But he knew that the tree was speaking, but the tree refused to believe that trees could speak. The tall man decided that he must find a way to get the tree to understand that it could speak.
"I say! Sir Horse!" Said the tall man, rising from his spot underneath the tree and walking to where the horse stood. "Sir Horse, can horses speak?"
"I think that they cannot." Said the horse with some degree of surety.
"Yet you are a horse are you not?" continued the tall man.
"I am irrefragably sure of that fact." Stated the horse with a rather uncharacteristic pride.
"And what are you doing with me at this moment?" questioned the tall man.
"Why, I believe that I am speaking with you at the present time." Said the horse quizzically.
"Yet, if you are a speaking, and horses cannot speak, then you must not be a horse." Said the tall man with all of the finality of a person who knows that they are correct beyond correction.
The horse was visibly stirred by the sudden revelation that he was not a horse. In light of this new information the horse began to think deeply. It sat down on its hindquarters to ponder its identity further.
Interpreting the doubt that he had aroused in the simple animal as a successful argument for his case. Now he would attempt to play the same card on the stubborn tree. The tree would present a greater challenge than the horse, so the tall man decided to use his most impeccable manners in hopes to ingratiate himself with the thing.
"If it would not be an excessive amount of inconvenience, it would help my cause if you were to indulge me by offering an honest answer to the lowly sum of three questions. Sir Tree, will you please do me this kindness?" spewed the tall man with such smoothness that the tree could scarcely help but comply with the wily tall man.
The tree approvingly shuddered its leaves and bent a few of its branches in a motion for the tall man to continue with his questions. The tall man was pleased with the results, and continued to proceed in as inoffensive a manner as he could muster.
"Well, my first question, Sir Tree, is: Are great trees such as yourself able to speak in a language understandable to we tiny humans?"
"Trees cannot speak." Replied the tree as the tall man had expected.
"Sir Tree, for the sake of absolute and complete clarity, are you, in fact, a tree?" Inquired the tall man.
"I am a tree." Replied the tree, also according to the expectations of the tall man.
"Sir Tree, my final question is this: Would you please describe what we are doing at this moment?" asked the tall man with his mental fingers crossed.
"We speak." Replied the tree in his typically earthy and rumbling voice.
"If you are speaking, and trees do not speak, then you are not a tree." Reasoned the tall man intelligently.
In a thunder of movement, the tree shook all of its branches simultaneously. The tree had not expected such words. Trees are not exactly the most open-minded entities. Such a concept seemed excessively radical. The tree did not know how to respond, it could not deny the logic of the tall man, and it also felt it difficult to accept the fact that it was wrong about something. However, the fact that the tree was no longer a tree made it suspect the fact that being wrong may not be so bad. Not being a tree meant not being stubborn and immobile in thought. It decided to formally introduce itself to the tall man who was responsible for this epiphany.
"I am not a tree. I can talk. Trees cannot talk. I am a tralk. I can talk." Said the tralk, who was pleased with his new identity and the many advantages it brought.
"Splendid." Said the tall man, "Do you know the way to the Body Plant? I very much wish to get there as soon as possible, but I am unsure of the way."
"I am a tralk. I can talk. I know many things. I know the way to the Body Plant. I can talk. I am a tralk. I can tell you how to get to the Body Plant."
"Smashing! Would you mind terribly to disclose this information?" Asked the tall man with some excitement at the thought of finally knowing how to get to the Body Plant.
"I am a tralk. I can talk. The way to the Body Plant is due south through the tunnel. That is the way to the Body Plant." Answered the tralk with an increased fascination with is ability to converse.
"Thank you very much Sir Tralk. I now must leave on that horse over there to go to the Body Plant." Said the tall man with a turn of his heels and he walked to his horse.
The horse had by this time finished its ponderings and was also ready to depart with the tall man to the Body Plant. As the tall man mounted his horse, the tralk waved furiously at them.
"I am a tralk! I can talk! Goodbye human! Goodbye horse!" bid the tralk.
The horse was immediately taken aback by these comments. It wondered on the nature of a tralk, it also wondered on how it was a horse. The horse had never heard of a tralk, the tralk must be something very complicated and intelligent to escape the knowledge of the horse. The horse suspected that this tralk was nothing more than a very wily tree. The horse asked the tall man to dismount for a moment. The horse then approached the tralk.
"I am no horse. And you are no tralk. Such things do not exist." Said the horse with some defiance.
"I am a tralk. I can talk. Your friend the man said I was a tralk. I am not a tree. Trees cannot talk. I can talk. I am a tralk." Explained the tralk with some nervousness at perhaps being wrong again.
"My friend called you a tree. You are a tree. My friend the man is very smart. He called you a tree. You must then be a tree. He said that I was no horse, it must be so for he is so smart." Countered the horse.
"Your friend told me that I was no tree. He also called you a horse. I can be no tree, for I can talk, trees cannot, I am a tralk." Said the tralk with notably decreased confidence in his tralkhood.
"I can be no horse, horses cannot speak, I can speak, I am no horse. I must be a heak. Yet you say the man called me a horse?" asked the heak suspiciously.
"Indeed, the man called you a horse. Did he call me a tree as you say he did?" asked the tralk, also suspicious.
"There can be no denying it. It would seem that the man has tricked us both. Neither of us are what he calls us. He must be a liar. I do not wish to be his friend any longer." Said the heak resolutely.
With that remark the heak went up to the man and said "You are a liar. You told me that I was no horse, and that the tralk was a tree. You told the tralk that he was no tree and that I was a horse, but I am a heak. Surely you are a liar, and nothing you say can be trustworthy, I do not wish to accompany you to the Body Plant, rather, I wish to stay here with my friend the tralk. Good day to you."