To Hades and Back, etc...
Early in the morning of the next day, Bt was meeting with the ACs and the Engineer again
found himself holding court in the cafeteria relating his adventures to a spellbound group
We approached a chain of mountains that dwarfed all we had seen before. Even in late
summer their tops were crowned with snow and the jagged peaks resemble the teeth of some
unspeakably gigantic monster.
Are we really going up there? Bt questioned.
And I replied, Yes, both our quests lie in that direction. We will follow the road
to where it leads us.
Silently then, we broke camp and in the early morning chill, began our climb.
Almost immediately we saw two opposing peaks of rock facing each other across the
pass. The jagged rocks looked almost like angry snow-clad titans facing off against each
other across that deep forbidding chasm.
Oooo, Antares said with a shiver in her voice, Then what happened?
Well, He replied, grateful for the response, We started up the road.
The road bed followed the natural contours of the mountain although there were many places
where it had to be carved into the rock face. Slowly, carefully, we zigged and zagged up
the side of one of the mountain peaks.
A worried look was on Bts face as she said, They are throwing things at
each other! Thats just dumb! Dont they realize they could hurt others without
even knowing it? The worried look was replaced by that determined look that I, and I
suppose you, know all too well. She was going to go right up there to the top and talk
some sense into those two giants and it looked like Lucky and I and team were going to
have to go right along with her.
At the top of the pass I pulled the wagon behind a large rock outcropping which
shielded us from the two giants. The thought crossed my mind that I fervently hoped I
wasnt sheltering us behind one of the giants more delicate parts which might cause
him to do harm to us instead of attacking his rocky twin across the chasm.
All right you two! That WILL be enough of that! Stop this immediately! Bt
shouted at the top of her voice.
I really had to smile at that little speech. It sounded just like Bt breaking up a
fight between a couple of her kids. But would the giants listen to her voice of
Oh Engineer, youre not gonna stop now are you? Bird asked.
No, I guess weve got time for the rest of this part, anyway, He replied
as he refilled his cup from the coffee dispenser.
Where were we? Oh yes, there was Bt standing right out in the open on a narrow shelf
that jutted out from the chest of the frost giant. She was scolding first one and then the
other. Shaking her finger at them and giving her speech about being kind to others and not
causing trouble. Im sure most of you have heard that one, at least once. He
said with a big grin. Most of the audience nodded their heads and looked a little
embarrassed to have to admit to being a target for one of Bts little speeches.
I guess neither of those giants had ever had anyone talk to them like that. They
reacted just about like youd expect. Each hung his head and looked ashamed for a
moment but then both started to blame the other for the fight.
I said, Bt repeated in an even louder voice, That will be enough of
that! Now, which one of you is going to tell me what started this?
Why should we listen to you? the giant on the far peak said with just a hint
of belligerence in his icy voice.
Youll listen to me because Im making sense and youll also listen
to me because I am Moiras Mouth. What I say to you comes from her! You do know who
she is dont you?
Yes, Maam, the giant of the far peak replied humbly. Shes the
goddess who controls fate. Shes not gonna kill my brother and me is she?
She doesnt solve problems by killing people. Bt replied getting just a
little exasperated at the giant but at least relieved that he understood who she was and
why she was there. You almost killed my companions and me with all your wild rock
throwing. Moira wouldnt have been pleased with that. Now why dont you save us
all a lot of time and tell me what started all this. And she waved her hand at
the piles of rocks the giants had ripped from their bodies to throw at each other.
Were twins, The first giant began.
Identical twins, The second added, We were born ages ago the same in
every way. Then he, The giant pointed to his brother across the chasm, Decided
he wanted to be taller than me! He started stealing rocks from my base and then from the
bases of other mountains to pile up and make himself the tallest of all.
Did not! The second giant replied. You started it first claiming you
were taller. I was just trying to be equal.
I see, Bt said with a look of deep concentration on her face. The rock
stealing was to make you taller and the rock throwing was to knock some height off the
other to make him smaller. Is that about right?
Both Giants nodded, yes.
I think Ive got a solution to your problem. Bt said with a smile at both
foolish giants. My companion is the greatest engineer the world has ever seen and he
will use his tools to measure you. Will you take his word that he will give you true
Both giants nodded yes, again.
Very well, Bt said, He will measure you. If you are equal you can live
in peace and not cause any more problems. If he finds that one is taller than the other he
will tell you how to even up the difference without causing any more rock slides or
endangering any people or animals in the area. Is that agreeable?
Well sir, I got out my equipment and set out to measure those monsters. By my
calculations the giant on the far side was exactly 3 inches taller than the one on which
we were standing. Bt went back to the wagon and reaching under the pack below the
seat pulled out the rock we had picked up at the base of the fifth oracle. I measured it
and it was exactly three inches tall.
Carefully Bt climbed the remaining yards up the face of the giant and placing the small
rock on top of his head said, There! Now you two are equal again!
We packed up the wagon again and started down the road to the great valley below
where many more wonders awaited us.
To be continued....
Posted on Sep 27 1999, 08:45 AM