Being the full and true Description of a voyage to the strange planet of Chaostika in the Outer Region of Llihelom, and with the beings who reside in a Kingdom known as Thailand, including a Full Account of the Customs, Habits, Beliefs and Quaint Behavior of the Inhabitants. In One Volume. Written for the edification and amusement of the children of Candidata.
Chapter the Second
Our spaceship crashed in what we would later learn were known to local inhabitants as “ricefields.” None of the three of us - my younger sister, Silaic, and my older brother, Artivel, or myself - had any idea what to expect from the natives and prepared for the worst. But at least we had emerged from our ordeal unscathed. However, we were quickly surrounded by lovely dark-complexioned maidens well bundled with hats and cloths about their chins. And soon men from nearby villages began to approach as well. We were hardly out of our ship when the wonderfully generous natives came up to inquire as to our situation.
I was quite certain we might be able to repair our spaceship eventually but I indicated that it would have to be moved first to drier ground. Not only did our new friends from the area known as “Essarn” bring in some elephants to help move the ship, they also with great speed made the ship as light as they possibly could by removing many of the parts, especially those made of alloys known to them as “gold” and “silver.” Indeed, by the time they finished, there was really no need for the elephants at all.
Readers on my own planet may be surprised to learn that the beings of the kingdom known as Thailand do not have the ability to interpret spoken languages and dialects simultaneously as they are spoken unless they have studied them for a long period of time. The people seemed amazed that my brother and sister and I could understand their language and converse with them.
One extraordinary thing was that something in this planet’s atmosphere must have shrunk us to the height of the natives for, whereas before, we would have towered over the inhabitants of this planet, now we were only slightly taller than them. Another extraordinary thing was that they seemed to be constantly increasing and decreasing in size even as they stood before us. I later learned that this procedure is called “breathing.” I can only assume it is something which gives the people great pleasure as everyone I encountered – from official to peasant – was constantly engaged in this practice.
A man who introduced himself as the head of the village invited us to follow him for food and rest and we were happy to do so. Along the way, the natives felt of us and smiled as it seemed to make them happy to feel of our clothing and skin. Also, along the way, the inhabitants killed smaller living things, known to them as snakes, scorpions, lizards, spiders, etc., collecting them, we assumed to dispose of the disgusting creatures.
You can then imagine our surprise and astonishment when these very same disgusting creatures were cooked and presented to us as our dinner. Along with a variety of hot spices which burned our tongues and the insides of our mouths. As I have made clear, however, it is not my intent to pass judgement on the good people of this kingdom, especially on those of the northeast who treated us so kindly, and so we grinned and ate what was presented to us as best we could.
Before long, we found ourselves the center of attention and dozens and then hundreds of local inhabitants came to see what we were like. Among them were officials of the local area and soon after officials of a larger area. And by nightfall officials from the capital of this kingdom appeared, those known unofficially among the people of the Issarn region as Protectors of the Hi-So Status Quo. Along with them they brought an official translator from the capital who was to remain with us throughout our travels in the kingdom.
It was decided that my sister, brother and myself would stay in one of the larger houses in the area and, in the morning, would set out to tour the kingdom and to pay respects to officials in the capital, and provide them with any information we could about our planet and means of travel.
Later that evening, we witnessed a custom of the local people, one which we were to see repeated in every household we lodged in. After dinner, we would adjourn to a space known as a living room, I thought to discuss affairs of the day and investigate where we came from and what life was like on our planet. The people of this kingdom, however, seemed little interested in such subjects and, after opening bottles marked “Mehkong,” one among them would pick up a small object and point it at a screen (Nital: Tubas Stupidas) and then with his family sit for hours watching various episodes on this screen. Although my siblings and I found such behavior extremely boring and bizarre, we said nothing, because it was obvious our hosts found it so enjoyable.
No one who has not seen this phenomenon can possibly understand the horror of living among nearly 65 million inhabitants who sit motionlessly obeying the will of some machine which, for whatever reason, renders them unable to rise or to talk. This disease, if it be so, seems to strike mostly during nocturnal hours. After several hours, they would turn off the machine and rise and go to their beds, apparently oblivious of their affliction.
When I recall how kindly I was treated during my visits with families of this beautiful kingdom, I cannot help but feel a great pity for the people and a great hatred for the terrible machines which have so enslaved them. It is my sincere hope that, should I ever again find myself in this kingdom, I may be accompanied by one of our greatest physicians who might forthwith investigate and hopefully end this terrible affliction rampant among the good people of Thailand.
I was, of course, greatly fatigued from the flight, the danger, and the crash landing of our ship, and knew I should sleep very well. The natives had placed around me a netting of some kind which apparently was to prevent tiny flying insects from doing harm to me.
I had almost fallen into a deep sleep when I felt movement of the mosquito net and to my alarm saw that one of the female members of the household had slipped in beside me. She meant me no harm, however, and in fact motioned for me to be quiet while removing what little clothing she had left on. She then took off what little clothing I had left on.
What occurred then is best not recorded in a book for the children of Candidata but I can only say that what I sacrificed in sleep was more than compensated for by the affection and attention and inordinate dexterity of this ravishing dark brown creature with the fascinating smile and ravenous appetite. Had I only known then what difficulties and embarrassment would come to pass from such a pleasant experience!
To Be Continued with a new chapter every month.
Argaiv’s Diary has been translated from the Candidatan script by Dean Barrett.
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