The Beginning of Everything
Back in the depths of time....
“Alpha, I need your help.”
“What is it now, Dicktion? We’ve been friends a long time, but I’m busy. My 24 wives need a lot of feeding. You only have 6 wives, so it’s much easier for you!”
“I’ve been thinking about our language. I think it’s very important. We should find a way to save it somehow.”
“What do you mean, “save” it? We pass it on to our kids by telling them and they copy us. That’s enough, isn’t it?”
“I don’t know. Maybe things will be forgotten. Not everyone knows as much as us. I think it would be right to put it on something. Look, with this hard stone I can make marks on a soft stone. I think it would be right to somehow record our language on stone.”
“So you want to do ‘right’ on the stone? That’s funny! What would you ‘right’ on the stone?”
“Maybe I could ‘right’ the sounds we make. I’ve been counting them. I think there are 25.” I made the sounds one after the other and Alpha counted them for me.
“You’ve missed one. What about zzzzzzzzzzzz!”
“Oh! I hadn’t included that sound - okay 26!”
“I bet you’ll never be able to do it. I bet you my favourite sheep that you’ll never succeed!”
“Okay - you’re on!” We shook hands on Alpha’s bet that I couldn’t ‘right’ all the sounds in our language.
“I’ve been thinking about my wives and I have a problem.”
“What is it now? How can you have a problem with only 6 wives?”
“Well, I can never remember whose turn it is. I was thinking about setting up a routine - maybe see each one every day. Then maybe have one day off and repeat it.”
“You are really weak! You only have six wives! Why does it matter if you get the wives out of order? Just see them whenever you want. If you see them like that it will be a weak thing. I thought you were stronger than that!”
“I don’t know. Monn is my favourite wife. She is getting very jealous of all my other wives and I’m jealous of all her other husbands. I was thinking of getting rid of all the others and just having one wife.”
“Are you crazy! Just one wife! That would be monotony!”
“I don’t know - Monn ’n me alone might be special and we could really develop our relationship. At the moment, this is my routine. She is my favourite, so I should start the routine with her. So the first day of my routine I should call that Monn-day. The next day I cannot decide which wife to see, so that is Choose-day. The next day I see Wynn, so I guess that is Wynn’s day. The next day is usually dry - no rain - that is today - so I thought maybe Thirst-day. Then I see Penny...”
“Oh, Penny, she is REALLY scary! I don’t know how you put up with her! She frightens the kids whenever she walks past.”
“Yes, she is difficult. I was going to call the next day Penny’s day, but maybe Fright-day would be better.”
“I think so. But the day after that you usually sit around and don’t do anything - it’s your day off, isn’t it?”
I looked a bit uncomfortable. I didn’t want to explain to Alpha what I did on that day. “Maybe I should call it Sit - day.”
“So what do you do on that day then? Is it illegal?”
“Well I sit and...err...no I don’t want to talk about it.”
“I think you should call it Sit ’n err day then.!” Alpha laughed at his little joke.
“Okay - Sit ’n err day. Then the next day I spend with my sons, so I guess that should be Son’s day. Then I repeat my weak thing, as you call it and see Monn again on Monn day.”
“I’m worn out and thirsty from listening to your nonsense! Only one wife, that’s crazy!” Alpha laid back on the grass. “I am so thirsty I could drink the whole sky!” He said looking up at the blue sky, not a cloud anywhere. No sign of rain. He rolled over on his side and could see Bluebell the cow with her baby calves drinking from her teats. “Your babies are so lucky, Bluebell, with your milk to drink.”
“Yes, “Bluebell smiled at him and walked towards him, with the calves following close behind desperate to get some more milk. “That’s what mothers do for their babies, provide milk. Your mother did when you were a baby.”
Alpha crawled nearer to Bluebell and closely watched her calves drinking. “They really seem to enjoy it. I’m so thirsty, please let me drink some.”
“That’s horrible, Alpha, this milk is only for baby cows not for humans. Go and get your own mother if you want a drink.”
“Please, Bluebell, I’m so thirsty. Please let me drink a little.” Alpha moved closer and tried to grab one of Bluebell’s teats. She tried to move away but her calves were in the way and she couldn’t move far before Alpha grabbed hold of her and made to drink from one of her teats.
“Please don’t Alpha. If you do that I will never speak to you or any other humans again!”
Alpha grabbed her teat and started sucking.“It’s really nice, Dicktion, you should try it!”
“That’s disgusting, Alpha! How could you? And you’ve really upset Bluebell as well and she’ll never speak to us again as a result. You are really horrible!”
Alpha didn’t say anything and just laid on his back sucking on Bluebell’s teat, looking very happy with himself.
I spent much of the next two days chiselling as I wanted to win Alpha’s bet. Then, finally it was finished. I had used many stones and Alpha came to see my progress.
I showed him the result. “I have chiselled the 26 sounds onto these stones, what do you think?”
Alpha looked at the marks I had made and laughed! “They look like baby lettuces! What are you going to do with all your lettuces now?”
“I can put them together to make word sounds, but I don’t really understand the order or structure of our language.”
“Go and talk to grandma. She’s the oldest person in the village. Grandma will know how they should go together. Grandma’s always correcting our speech, so I guess if you want to get it right, do it according to grandma.”
“I’m really enjoying this challenge of recording our language. I think it’s really important for the future of our tribe, our society and everything!”
“You’re crazy, Dicktion! It’ll never catch on! Why would we want to bother with this right thing when speaking is so much easier? Where would you get all the stones you need anyway?”
“There’s loads of stones down Liber way. I could store all my sounds there. I thought maybe I could make a pile of sounds and call it a ‘book’. Then I could store all my books down Liber Way for anyone to borrow.”
“Nobody would understand the sounds. You’ll have to teach people. Nobody would want to bother learning as it’s pointless.”
“Maybe I could start with the kids. While parents are working I could teach the kids and play with them – give the parents a break as well and keep an eye on the kids at the same time.”
“The kids will not want to do that every day. They prefer playing around. It would be boring to sit in one place and listen to you every day.”
“Yes, I know, So I have a sign to show them where to sit – Some Come Here Only On 1 day”
“It’s good to have a sign – but do you think they will be interested in coming to S.C.H.O.O.1, even once? I doubt it will catch on. There’s nothing much to teach them.”
“Well, I could start with the lettuces and whatever Grandma suggests, then maybe show them how to do the ‘right’ ing and then maybe play with these stones. Look, when they are round like this they roll really well. Maybe they can kick them into the cave over there.”
“Why not have someone in the cave entrance trying to keep the stone out. You could call him the cave-keeper.”
“Sure, good idea! I tried playing this game with some of the kids the other day and they were so excited they kept bawling. I thought maybe I should call this round stone thing a bawl.”
“If they are going to kick it with their feet, then maybe the game should be called feet-bawl.”
I kicked the stone hard towards the cave entrance, but it was badly off target and hit the wall causing sparks which set fire to some leaves.
“Now you’ve started a fire, you’ll get us both in trouble! There’s no spare water to put it out!”
“But, Alpha, did you see what happened? When this stone hit the other stone it caused little sparks – maybe that’s how we can start a fire? That would be really useful if we could control when and where a fire happens, wouldn’t it?”
“What for? The weather here is nice all year round. Why would we want a fire to burn things? It’s too dangerous! You’re crazy. Just stick to your new career recording sounds from our language. We could name the new job after you and call it a Dicktioner!”