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Saturday, June 17, 2006

Bob the Centipede – The Condensed Tale

Purple veins of lightning lanced down from the sky as dark clouds masked any indication that the sun was shining. Apart from the large clock on the side of a far tower that read twelve o’clock, midday, all nature seemed to indicate a dark and stormy night.
A small crowd had gathered near the road’s edge around a small figure. Robert Cephillious the Centipede, also known as Bob, was bidding his family and friends farewell.
“I go now across yon road,” he declared. The peril of this task was too great to imagine, and his mother fainted from fear. “It may come to pass that our paths will ne’er meet again. Thus, I bid thee all farewell, and good health,” and so saying, he clomb down the deep embankment and was lost from all sight.

Now, this tale being currently written in the script of the English of Olde, and that being sore difficult on modern eyes at any considerable length of time, henceforth will it be translated.

Bob reached the bottom with ease, and, coiling his rope over his shoulder, began his perilous journey across the road. I will warn you, O Reader, that he never accomplished his goal. Nevertheless, he had three adventures before the end, which I lay before you now…

Adventure One – The Four-Legged Boulder

Bob saw at once a long, yellow mountain range, many miles ahead. He set out straight for it, and estimated a day’s journey. Mile after mile he plodded, and hour after boring hour came and went, and though the cliff behind him grew distant, the hills ahead seemed resolute to never come closer. His strength would have given out by this time except for sheer willpower.
All in a sudden instant a boulder with four vast legs came hurtling down beside him, passing over his head with a flash of lightning. Two more passed without event, and then another. Quickly and expertly, Bob dodged left or right, forward or back, to avoid being flattened by these monstrous horrors. They came faster and faster, Bob grew slower and slower, and finally a leg from one of the terrors landed on him.
Bob did not suffer any hurt. For this reason, he is often called Saint Robert, for such a miraculous event could not happen to a mere mortal insect (I suppose the grid of the tire fit over him and saved him from an otherwise painful and hideous death). As quickly as it came, the hail or boulders subsided directly, and few came again during his travels.

Adventure two – Evil from the sky

Bob noticed that from his constant running from avoiding the boulders, he was much closer to the Yellow Mountains. Quickly reaching them, he began his descent. Up and up to the peak, then down into a low valley, then up once more and down. This took but thirty minutes. The storm had abated and left nothing but deep puddles. A haze formed from the moisture in the air; shadows formed in the haze above him. “SHRIEEK!” A sounding scream sent chills running up his spine. Bob had but a few seconds before he was pounced upon by some unknown creature and carried aloft. Higher and higher he sped, writhing against his captor, before he broke the vice-like grip and fell to earth with a sudden, stunning landing.
When he regained his senses, Bob found that he was once again unharmed and right on the edge of the roadside! He saw but one obstacle in his way.

Adventure three – The Vast Sea

All that lay between he and his goal was a sea of swiftly flowing water. He travelled first upstream, then down, and found no break in the stream. A long stick finally caught his eye, though, and upon testing it he found it to be sturdy. He began crossing. The makeshift bridge creaked and swayed; it shifted many times, almost causing him to fall. He never fell off, but the bridge fell of its own accord, throwing him into the foaming waters. Even with a hundred legs, the centipede cannot swim, and Bob began to drown. His life, full of brave deeds, flashed into his mind, and he smiled.

He did not die. A boat appeared in the distance, coming towards him rapidly. This, we assume, is another miracle. He clambered aboard and found no-one. He saw the ship’s name, printed on its side, and it was called Coca-Cola. It was a tight, snug little vessel. Thus endowed, and with three adventures behind him, Robert Cephillious abandoned his idea of traversing to the roadside and, accepting this new challenge, sailed in his miraculous ship, the Coca-Cola, off into the unknown void.

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