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Ch 3

The Cause of the Delay in the Falling of the Ship Karnak
 The captain soon afterward entered and having performed
before Beelzebub all the ceremonies appropriate to Beelzebub’s
rank, said:
“Your Right Reverence, allow me to ask your authoritative opinion
upon an ‘inevitability’ that lies in the line of our course, and
which will hinder our smooth falling by the shortest route.
“The point is that if we follow our intended course, then our
ship, after two ‘Kilprenos,’ will pass through the solar system
“But just through where our ship must pass, there must also
pass, about a ‘Kilpreno’ before, the great comet belonging to that
solar system and named ‘Sakoor’ or, as it is sometimes called,
the ‘Madcap.’
“So if we keep to our proposed course, we must inevitably
traverse the space through which this comet will have to pass.
“Your Right Reverence of course knows that this ‘Madcap’ comet
always leaves in its track a great deal of ‘Zilnotrago’ which on
entering the planetary body of a being disorganizes most of its
functions until all the ‘Zilnotrago’ is volatilized out of it.
“I thought at first,” continued the captain, “of avoiding the
‘Zilnotrago’ by steering the ship around these spheres, but for
this a long detour would
be necessary which would greatly lengthen the
time of our passage. On the other hand, to wait somewhere until the
‘Zilnotrago’ is dispersed would take still longer.

“In view of the sharp distinction in the alternatives before us, I
cannot myself decide what to do, and so I have ventured to
trouble you, your Right Reverence, for your competent advice.”
The captain having finished speaking, Beelzebub thought a little
and then said as follows:
“Really, I do not know how to advise you, my dear Captain. Ah,
yes ... in that solar system where I existed for a long time, there is
a planet called Earth. On that planet Earth arose, and still continue
to arise, very strange three-centered beings. And among
the beings of a continent of that planet called Asia,’ there arose
and existed a very wise three-brained being whom they called
there ‘Mullah Nassr Eddin.’
“For each and every peculiar situation great and small in the
existence of the beings there,” Beelzebub continued, “this same
terrestrial sage Mullah Nassr Eddin had an apt and pithy saying.
“As all his sayings were full of the sense of truth for existence
there, I also always used them there as a guide, in order to have a
comfortable existence among the beings of that planet.
“And in the given case too, my dear Captain, I intend to profit by
one of his wise sayings.
“In such a situation as has befallen us, he would probably say:
‘You cannot jump over your knees and it is absurd to try to
kiss your own elbow.’
“I now say the same to you, and I add: there is nothing to be
done; when an event is impending which arises from forces immeasurably
greater than our own, one must submit.
“The only question is, which of the alternatives you mentioned
should be chosen—that is, to wait somewhere or to add to our
journey by a ‘detour.’
“You say that to make a detour will greatly lengthen our journey
but that waiting will take still longer.
“Good, my dear Captain. Suppose that by making the detour
we should save a little time, what do you think: Is the wear and
tear of the parts of our ship’s machinery worthwhile for the sake
of ending our journey a little sooner?
“If the detour should involve even the most trifling damage to
our ship, then in my opinion we ought to prefer your second suggestion,
that is, to stop somewhere until the path is cleared of
the noxious ‘Zilnotrago.’ By that means we should spare our ship
useless damage.
“And we will try to fill the period of this unforeseen delay with
something useful for us all.
“For instance, it would give me personally great pleasure to talk
with you about contemporary ships in general and about our
ship in particular.
“Very many new things, of which I still know nothing, have been
done in this field during my absence from these parts.
“For example, in my time these big transspace ships were so
complicated and cumbersome that it took almost half their
power to carry the materials necessary to elaborate their possibility
of locomotion.
“But in their simplicity and the freedom on them, these contemporary
ships are just embodiments of ‘Bliss-stokirno.’
“There is such a simplicity for beings upon them and such freedom
in respect of all being-manifestations that at times you forget
that you are not on one of the planets.
“So, my dear Captain, I should like very much to know how this
boon was brought about and how the contemporary ships work.
“But now go and make all arrangements necessary for the required
stopping. And then, when you are quite free, come to me
again and we will pass the time of our unavoidable delay in conversation
useful for us all.”
When the captain had gone, Hassein suddenly sprang to his
feet and began to dance and clap his hands and shout:
“Oh, I’m glad, I’m glad, I’m glad of this.”
Beelzebub looked with affection on these joyous manifestations
of his favorite, but old Ahoon could not restrain himself and, shaking
his head reproachfully, called the boy—half to himself—a
“growing egoist.”
Hearing what Ahoon called him, Hassein stopped in front of
him, and, looking at him mischievously, said:
“Don’t be angry with me, old Ahoon. The reason for my joy is
not egoism but only the coincidence which chances to be happy
for me. You heard, didn’t you? My dear grandfather did not decide
only just to make a stop, but he also promised the captain
to talk with him. . . .
“And you know, don’t you, that the talks of my dear grandfather
always bring out tales of places where he has been, and you
know also how delightfully he tells them and how much new
and interesting information becomes crystallized in our presences
from these tales.
“Where is the egoism? Hasn’t he himself, of his own free will,
having weighed with his wise reason all the circumstances of this
unforeseen event, decided to make a stop which evidently
doesn’t upset his intended plans very much?
“It seems to me that my dear grandfather has no need to hurry;
everything necessary for his rest and comfort is present on the
Karnak and here also are many who love him and whom he loves.
“Don’t you remember he said recently ‘we must not oppose
forces higher than our own’ and added that not
only one must not oppose them, but even submit and receive
all their results with reverence, at the same time praising and glorifying
the wonderful and providential works of Our Lord Creator?
“I am not glad because of the misadventure but because an
unforeseen event issuing from above has occurred, owing to
which we shall be able to listen once more to the tales of my
dear grandfather.
“Is it my fault that the circumstances are by chance most desirable
and happy for me?
“No, dear Ahoon, not only should you not rebuke me, but you
should join me in expressing gratitude to the source of all beneficent
results that arise.”
All this time Beelzebub listened attentively and with a smile to
the chatter of his favorite, and when he had finished said:
“You are right, dear Hassein, and for being right I will tell you,
even before the captain’s arrival, anything you like.”
Upon hearing this, the boy at once ran and sat at the feet of
Beelzebub and after thinking a little said:
“My dear Grandfather, you have told me so much about the
solar system where you spent so many years, that now perhaps
I could continue just by logic alone to describe the details of the
nature of that peculiar corner of our Universe.
“But I am curious to know whether there dwell three-brained
beings on the planets of that solar system and whether higher
‘being-bodies’ are coated in them.
“Please tell me now about just this, dear Grandfather,” concluded
Hassein, looking affectionately up at Beelzebub.
“Yes,” replied Beelzebub, “on almost all the planets of that solar
system also, three-brained beings dwell, and in almost all of them
higher being-bodies can be coated.
“Higher being-bodies, or as they are called on some
planets of that solar system, souls, arise in the three-brained
beings breeding on all the planets except those before reaching
which the emanations of our ‘Most Holy Sun Absolute,’ owing to
repeated deflections, gradually lose the fullness of their strength
and eventually cease entirely to contain the vivific power for coating
higher being-bodies.
“Certainly, my boy, on each separate planet of that solar system
also, the planetary bodies of the three-brained beings are coated
and take an exterior form in conformity with the nature of the
given planet, and are adapted in their details to the surrounding
“For instance, on that planet on which it was ordained that all
we exiles should exist, namely, the planet Mars, the three-brained
beings are coated with planetary bodies having the form—how
shall I tell you—a form like a ‘ka-roona,’ that is to say, they have a
long broad trunk, amply provided with fat, and heads with enormous
protruding and shining eyes. On the back of this enormous
‘planetary body’ of theirs are two large wings, and on the under
side two comparatively small feet with very strong claws.
“Almost the whole strength of this enormous ‘planetary body’
is adapted by nature to generate energy for their eyes and for
their wings.
“As a result, the three-brained beings breeding on that planet
can see freely everywhere, whatever the ‘Kal-da-zakh-tee,’ and
they can also move not only over the planet itself but also in its
atmosphere and some of them occasionally even manage to
travel beyond the limits of its atmosphere.
“The three-brained beings breeding on another planet, a little
below the planet Mars, owing to the intense cold there are covered
with thick soft wool.
“The external form of these three-centered beings is
like that of a ‘Toosook,’ that is, it resembles a kind of ‘double
sphere,’ the upper sphere serving to contain the principal organs
of the whole planetary body, and the other, the lower sphere, the
organs for the transformation of the first and second being-foods.
“There are three apertures in the upper sphere, opening outwards;
two serve for sight and the third for hearing.
“The other, the lower sphere, has only two apertures: one in front
for taking in the first and second being-foods, and the other at
the back for the elimination from the organism of residues.
“To the lower sphere are also attached two very strong sinewy
feet, and on each of these is a growth that serves the purpose of
fingers with us.
“There is still another planet, a quite small one, bearing the name
Moon, in that solar system, my dear boy.
“During its motion this peculiar little planet often approached
very near to our planet Mars and sometimes during whole
‘Kilprenos’ I took great pleasure in observing through my
‘Teskooano’ in my observatory the process of existence of the
three-brained beings upon it.
“Though the beings of this planet have very frail ‘planetary bodies,’
they have on the other hand a very ‘strong spirit,’ owing to
which they all possess an extraordinary perseverance and capacity
for work.
“In exterior form they resemble what are called large ants; and,
like these, they are always bustling about, working both on and
within their planet.
“The results of their ceaseless activity are now already plainly
“I once happened to notice that during two of our years they
‘tunnelled,’ so to say, the whole of their planet.
“They were compelled to undertake this task on account of the
abnormal local climatic conditions, which are due to the fact that
this planet arose unexpectedly, and the regulation of its climatic
harmony was therefore not prearranged by the Higher Powers.
“The ‘climate’ of this planet is ‘mad,’ and in its variability it could
give points to the most highly strung hysterical women existing
on another of the planets of that same solar system, of which I
shall also tell you.
“Sometimes there are such frosts on this ‘Moon’ that everything
is frozen through and through and it becomes impossible for
beings to breathe in the open atmosphere; and then suddenly it
becomes so hot there that an egg can be cooked in its atmosphere
in a jiffy.
“For only two short periods on that peculiar little planet, namely,
before and after its complete revolution about its neighbor—
another planet nearby—the weather is so glorious that for several
rotations the whole planet is in blossom and yields the various
products for their first being-food greatly in excess of their
general need during their existence in that peculiar intraplanetary
kingdom which they have arranged and where they are protected
from all the vagaries of this ‘mad’ climate inharmoniously
changing the state of the atmosphere.
“Nearest to that small planet is another, a larger planet, which
also occasionally approaches quite close to the planet Mars and
is called Earth.
“The said Moon is just a part of this Earth and the latter must
now constantly maintain the Moon’s existence.
“On the just mentioned planet Earth, also, three-brained beings
are formed; and they also contain all the data for coating
higher being-bodies in themselves.
“But in ‘strength of spirit’ they do not begin to compare with
the beings breeding on the little planet aforementioned. The external
coatings of the three-brained beings
of that planet Earth closely resemble
our own; only, first of all,
their skin is a little slimier than ours,
and then, secondly, they have
no tail, and their heads are without horns.
What is worst about
them is their feet, namely, they have no hoofs; it is
true that for
protection against external influences they have invented what
they call ‘boots,’ but this invention does not help them very much.
“Apart from the imperfection of their exterior form, their Reason
also is quite ‘uniquely strange.’
“Their ‘being-Reason,’ owing to very many causes about which
also I may tell you sometime, has gradually degenerated, and at
the present time, is very, very strange and exceedingly peculiar.”
Beelzebub would have said still more, but the captain of the
ship entering at that moment, Beelzebub, after promising the boy
to tell him about the beings of the planet Earth on another occasion,
began to talk with the captain.
Beelzebub asked the captain to tell him, first, who he was, how
long he had been captain, and how he liked his work, and afterwards
to explain some of the details of the contemporary cosmic
Thereupon the captain said:
“Your Right Reverence, I was destined by my father, as soon as I
reached the age of a responsible being, for this career in the service
“Starting with the lowest positions on the transspace ships, I
ultimately merited to perform the duties of captain, and it is now
eight years that I have been captain on the long-distance ships.
“This last post of mine, namely, that of captain of the ship Karnak,
I took, strictly speaking, in succession to my father, when after
his long years of blameless service to HIS ENDLESSNESS in
the performance of the duties of captain from almost the very
beginning of the World-creation,
he had become worthy to be promoted
to the post of Ruler of
the solar system ‘Kalman.’
“In short,” continued the captain, “I began my service just when
your Right Reverence was departing for the place of your exile.
“I was still only a ‘sweeper’ on the long-distance ships of that
“Yes ... a long, long time has passed by.
“Everything has undergone change and is changed since then;
only our LORD AND SOVEREIGN remains unchanged. The blessings
of ‘Amenzano’ on HIS UNCHANGEABLENESS throughout
“You, your Right Reverence, have condescended to remark very
justly that the former ships were very inconvenient and cumbersome.
“Yes, they were then, indeed, very complicated and cumbersome.
I too remember them very well. There is an enormous difference
between the ships of that time and the ships now.
“In our youth all such ships both for intersystem and for interplanetary
communication were still run on the cosmic substance
‘Elekilpomagtistzen,’ which is a totality consisting of two separate
parts of the omnipresent Okidanokh.
“And it was to obtain this totality that just those numerous
materials were necessary which the former ships had to carry.
“But these ships did not remain in use long after you flew from
these parts, having soon thereafter been replaced by ships of
the system of Saint Venoma.”

* The word “Kilpreno” in the language of Beelzebub means a
certain period of time, equal approximately to the duration of
the flow of time which we call an “hour.”
 The word “Zilnotrago” is the name of a special gas similar to
what we call “cyanic acid."

“Teskooano” means “telescope.”
Subpages (1): Ch 4