Our dear little Giraffe, having landed herself in the
However, this story is not about our dear little Giraffe and we shall leave her for a moment and get back to the
Now, after ages innumerable, for time was inmeasurable in the
Very soon, Cows and Spider started to get worried. Seriously worried. Giraffe never had much sense of direction in the first place, and also, being sweet and innoccent by nature, Cows and Spider were getting really worried about Giraffe falling prey to some of the more sinister beings from the Rest of the World.
Cows and Spider thus set off looking for Giraffe.
As they started towards the Rest of the World they saw Parcetemol rolling along.
"Have you seen Giraffe?" were the first thought bubbles that greeted Parcetemol from Cows and Spider.
"The last time i saw her was ages back. She bounced past me distractedly, asking 'what is time?'. A long time back. A long time? Time? What is time? Time.." Parcetemol replied in confused thought bubbles and by the time he finished his last thought bubble, Parcetemol had forgotten about Cows and Spider and went rolling along, mumbling thought bubbles to herself, "time, what is time? Time? Time?"
Not able to get anything else out from Parcetemol, Cows and Spider thus moved on.
As they continued towards the Rest of the World, Cows and Spider saw Pig circling his nest, trying to get the most comfortable position to get to sleep. Cows and Spider walked nearer and found Pig also mumbling some thought bubbles to himself distractedly.
"Where did I come from? Where is the
"Have you seen Giraffe?" anxious thought bubbles arose from Cows and Spider.
"Giraffe? Arh yes, Giraffe. Where do we all come from? Where did the
Not being able to do anything else with Pig, Cows and Spider continued on their journey. Not far from Pig, Cows and Spider saw Chipmunk (for Chipmunk was a good friend of Pig and they were never very far away from each other).
"Chipmunk! Giraffe knew you well! Did she tell you where she was going?"
"Giraffe! Dear little Giraffe. Arh yes, Giraffe. Where are we going henceforth?
"Alright alright, there there there. It's ok." Cows and Spider did their best to get Chipmunk calm down again.
When Chipmunk has calmed down sufficiently and Cows and Spider felt it was alright to leave him alone, they started moving on again.
They proceeded more quickly after this for they were getting more and more anxious. Also, they did not meet so many beings of the
One bright and Sunny day, Cows and Spider woke up and prepared to start on another day's journey when they crossed the path of a little brook. As they were crosssing the brook, Spider suddenly felt a little tremor under her third leg on her left. She peered into the water and to her surprise, a voice greeted her.
"Hail Spider! What bringest thou on this journey?"
Spider's shock was not small. She jumped up and splashed water not only on herself but all over Cows as well.
"What..What..Who are you?" Spider's shock was not only at the voice in the water, but that there is a speaking voice, for recall that in the Land of Mushrooms, the inhabitants communicated with thought bubbles and slabs of stones.
"What are you looking for?" the voice continued asking.
Spider recovered from her shock after a while and replied (in speech, not in thought bubbles since Spider and Cows did not originate from the Land of Mushrooms and were capable of speech, only they never use it anymore in the Land of Mushrooms).
"We are searching for Giraffe. Have you by any chance seen her around?"
"She's got a terrible sense of direction you see, and it's been a long time since we parted company and we've not heard of her since." Cows added.
"A long time you said." the voice sounded.
"Yes. A long time and we are getting really worried."
"A long time." the voice sounded more insistent.
"Yes! Have you seen her?" Spider did not have much patience.
"Time. All around us. Yet, what is time?"
"We're looking for Giraffe! Not time!" Spider was practically fuming now.
"What is time?" the voice was not daunted.
Cows suddenly saw a little streak of light somewhere in this argument and laid hooves on Spider's shoulder.
"Wait." Cows communicated to Spider in thought bubbles.
Then Cows spoke. "This was one of the questions Giraffe was asking as she set of in search of Beet-in-Oven! Have you seen her?"
"I'm glad you remembered that. Then Giraffe's wanderings has not been in vain."
"Where is she?" Spider was still indignant.
Patient Cows however, suddenly asked, "Who are you?"
The voice suddenly grew much sweeter and magical. More than any other voice Cows or Spider have ever heard.
"I came from far away. Where i lived together with the Sun. But i came down for a while to give Giraffe a little lift. And now I'm waiting for my beloved Sun to bring me back again. I missed him so much. But I'm glad you two crossed my path before I go."
After a long pregnant pause, the voice continued.
"Giraffe was a little fuse in this Land where nothing ignites. She ignited herself, knowing there's not going to be a way back anymore, and she went around the Land spreading her spark. But it will take more than a spark to ignite many inhabitants of this Land." the voice sighed.
Cows and Spider were still dumbstruck. They seemed to understand something, yet they do not understand yet.
"Giraffe has asked many questions, and she has found the answers for them. Now I'm going to ask you one question. Just one. And I hope you can find out the answer. What lies over the Edge of the World?"
Cows and Spider looked at each other. True, they were always curious about that, but like the rest of the inhabitants of the
"When you find that answer, you'll be a step closer to Giraffe." the voice sounded more magical and more sweet.
"And now my work here is complete. I'm going back to the Sun. He has missed me badly too. I am the Rain." and with that, all was silent save for the murmurings of Rain moving in the brook.
Cows and Spider looked at each other in amazement. Giraffe? What does this mean?
Finally, Spider said tentatively to Cow. "I think we should make a journey home."
"To the Edge of the World." Cows understood.
Thus Cows and Spider started walking back home, to their red mushroom with white spots, at the Edge of the World.
When they were quite near the Edge of the World, they passed Weasel who appeared deep in thought. "Hey Weasel! How are you?" Cows asked, attempting to be friendly. However, Weasel did not even seem to hear and continued sitting on a rock, staring into air.
With a shrug of shoulders, Cows and Spider continued on their way.
They plodded on, the eight legs of Spider and the many hooves of Cows making constant and resounding thuds on the stony ground.
After a long journey and ages innumerable, for time was immeasurable in this
"Shall we have a long hibernation in our Mushroom first?" Cows being so tired out they could barely lift their eyelids.
"Just a little while more! Let's go to the Edge of the World first." Spider persuaded, for although Spider was tired as well, she was relatively less so than Cows since she only had eight legs to move while Cows had many many hooves.
"Well, alright then." good-natured Cows agreed and plodded on with Spider to the very Edge of the World.
When Cows and Spider got to the Edge, Cows suddenly stopped and pointed a trembling hoof to the left. Spider followed the hoof and saw, to her surprise, a lone tapioca leaf flapping in the wind and a little hoof print on the ground.
They rushed over immediately and stopped by the hoof print. Not being able to control themselves anymore, they broke down and wept. Tears of sadness at the lost of Giraffe; tears of anguish at themselves having let Giraffe start on her journey; tears of loneliness and self-pity at themselves, having to face ages forevermore without Giraffe.
In the midst of all their tears and howls, a deep strong voice suddenly rang out.
"Why do you weep my friends?"
The weeping and howling immediately stopped. Just. Like. That. And Cows and Spider craned their necks trying to find the source of the voice. The tapioca leaf? Cows and Spider blinked, and stared.
"Yes, yes, it's me. Here. Can't a tapioca leaf have a deep strong voice?"
Cows and Spider blinked again.
"Rain has told me, you are trying to find Giraffe, yes? Anyway, how do you like Rain? She's nice isn't she? I used to think she was too avant-garde for my taste, but well, my Sun loves her. And after a while, I realised she's sweet and nice too. Oh, where was I? Oh yes. Rain. She said you were looking for Giraffe."
Tapioca leaf took a deep breath and continued, "Giraffe went in search of many things, yes? Well, do you know I sheltered her when Rain came down? I tried to keep her Spots dry. Oh, where was I? Oh yes, Giraffe. She went in search of many things."
Cows and Spider were blinking and staring so hard in turns it seemed like the whish of eyelashes could be heard. Was this tapioca leaf a bit unbalanced up there wherever his mind was, or was he telling the truth?
"She went all around the
Stunned, Cows and Spider looked at each other. They had remembered Giraffe asking, but it was so long ago (or was it?) and they did not really keep it to mind.
"We did remember something about Beet-in-Oven. Giraffe wanted to look for him." Spider volunteered tentatively.
Cows nodded, and added, "We can't really remember the questions Giraffe asked, but when we met Rain, she asked us one question. She asked us what was over the Edge of the World. What is over the Edge of the World? Can you tell us? Rain said we'll be one step closer to Giraffe when we've found that answer."
"The Edge of the World. A good question. Very befitting for Rain. But there will be no coming back once you found that out. Do you really want to know? Think about it with care." Tapioca Leaf sounded solemn.
What do you mean? No coming back? No coming back to the Land of Mushrooms? You mean there is some place out there outside this Land? Is that where Giraffe went to? Where is she now? Why can't she come back?" Cows were full of questions.
"That is a path few people can trod. That is a path destined for a few. Giraffe is one of them. She has searched, and she found. I cannot tell you where she is now for our slabs of stones with our stories may be under different hands. Giraffe did not find Beet-in-Oven. His was on a different slab of stone. But Giraffe found her own slab of stone. That is all I can tell you. Now do you want to go looking for your own slabs of stones?" Tapioca Leaf sounded kind now, and concerned.
Cows and Spider were silent for a while. Then Cows spoke. "You mean we may not be on the same slab of stone as Giraffe? Or with each other? We won't be able to see each other forever then!"
"I wouldn't count on forever." Tapioca Leaf replied. "You may realise that forever may be just a mode of thought, yes? And yes, you may all be on the same slab of stone, or you may not. That I cannot tell. So have you decided?"
Cows and Spider looked at each other and communicated in anxious, intense thought bubbles. After a long time (or it may not be too long after all since over in this Land, time was immeasurable), Spider finally turned to Tapioca Leaf and said, "Your offer sounds tempting. But I think we cannot agree. You see, we love each other so. It is dreadful losing Giraffe and we wish we could get her back. But you cannot promise that and we do not want to lose each other as well. So I think we have to say no to what you offered us."
"Yes. Well I expected you will give me this answer. You were destined for this. It was just my little wish, a hope beyond hopes, that you might overwrite the hand that wrote you on the slab of stone. Oh well, we all follow different paths. Go. With all my blessings. And do not stop searching and questioning. You have been granted a little peep into the secrets. Continue sowing the seeds, even if it is only here in the Land of Mushrooms." With a final waver, Tapioca Leaf fluttered over the Edge of the World, leaving Cows and Spider alone, facing the lonely hoof-print.
The silence seemed too sacred to break and Cows and Spider stood still, not moving even a single eyelash.
There are some whose destinies are to roam and search. And there are some that are to stay. Yet others may be given a chance to choose. But there is a purpose to whatever that is being chosen. Our stories have all been written with a purpose.