Librarian of Alexandria

VII: The Heinous and Unspeakable Crimes of Mr. R——, Zookeeper, or, The Ethnography

The Henbala people of the Karaba river valley are a strange people, at once majestic and comical. They claim, in their folklore passed down from person to person through the centuries, that they were not descended from First Man, nor from First Woman, but from the Sun himself.

(Many reject this view, because the Sun, regardless of its gender, would have caused major burns on the genitalia of whoever copulated with it.)

Naxa son of Subimi son of Ngukabe was born in the largest village of the Henbala people, where the Henbala spend their days scraping the flesh from the shells of crabs and beating bones together to make music in the key of C Mixolydian. He was born of the union of the village fortune-teller and a figure whose occupation can only be described as a sort of pre-agrarian stockbroker. As such, Naxa was surrounded since birth by both the uncertainties and the certainties of the future.

One day, Naxa left to search for an animal to replace a major third which was getting pretty flat in the village orchestra when he came across an inexplicable black sphere in the middle of the pass which connected his valley with the plains. He observed it with great zeal, prodding it with his finger and turning it over and over. It was neither heavy nor light; it neither reflected nor absorbed light; it seemed neither warm nor cold.

Naxa took the sphere to the village elder, who promptly punted it, where it disappeared and was subsequently never spoken of again. Naxa ended up making a very good life for himself as a femur-tuner.

I know you're disappointed that the mystery of the sphere was never solved, and even more disappointed that Naxa gave up so easily, but really, that sphere wasn't supposed to show up at all. If you take away anything from this story, know that part of the beauty in life is that some things exist, and anything more said about them is too much.