The disadvantages of a talking animal


The 12th chapter


They ate lunch on Belshazzar’s back, it was mainly composed of fresh fruit. Rhoda didn’t dare ask for anything warm to drink, because she was afraid that the rocking on Belshazzar’s back would make their hot drinks spill and burn both her and Belshazzar, and while she thought about this, she remembered that they couldn’t make a fire on Belshazzar’s back anyway to warm or cook anything. She looked once in one direction and then in another, to see if there will be anything interesting, or curious trees that she could ask about. In every direction Rhoda looked, the sight was the same: sloping hills, streams, gorges crossing the plains between the hills and all kinds of vegetation randomly scattered all over the place. There was no sign of human beings or demons in the area they were flying above. Rhoda, who didn’t notice this absence, returned to think about the kind of pets she can ask for, from Mee.

“If I will ask you for a talking cat or a talking dog, will you be able to make one?” she asked Mee after thinking for some time if it will be worthwhile to have such a talking dog or cat.

“I still can’t do such things, your majesty.” confessed Mee. “But there are enough demons who can, and we can ask them. However, you should know that a talking dog is still a dog. Its thoughts are very simple and do not go further than – it’s tasty, it’s not tasty, I’m hungry, and other thoughts of the same kind. It will not say anything profound to you. It will not be interested in poetry more than any other normal dog, and it will not know to be quiet at night or not disturb your sleep. Just like an ordinary dog that starts barking in the middle of the night because a hedgehog passed near the window, or because the moon is full, it will bark and talk. Think very thoroughly, before you decide on a dog, or for that matter, any kind of talking animal.” It seemed as if Mee really knew what she was talking about, and Rhoda wanted to know what kind of experience she had.

“You once had a talking animal, and that is why you know what it means to have one?”

Mee blushed a little and confessed. “Yes, your majesty, when I started my studies in the doctrine of combinations – which means the composition of things from different parts, I was still young and stupid. I couldn’t do it with a complicated animal like a dog of course, and I still don’t know, probably because of my experience then. You see, I had made a talking cricket…” Mee’s face became a little gloomy and thoughtful. “Have you ever heard a cricket during the long summer nights? Do you have any idea how much that despicable insect can talk? And what nonsense? And of course, it’s at the top of its voice, without a stop, and all night long! I was really glad that it lived only six weeks. You see, we are supposed to learn to deal with anything we make ourselves. And I was not allowed to kill it. That is what my teacher told me – so that I will be aware of the extent of damage that a non-rational talking animal can do.”

“But dogs and cats are smarter than insects,” answered Rhoda. “Maybe a dog or a cat will be more rational in what they say?”

“Maybe more rational, your majesty.” said Mee “But definitely not more considerate of your sleeping hours, or of the right or wrong moments for a soulful talk about their secretions. You remember that the way dogs get to know each other is by smelling their behinds. Are you sure that you want to know what your dog thinks about what it smells as well? Or what kind of an emotional experience it has while it smells the place in which, a few minutes earlier, another dog left its droppings?”

Rhoda thought about those possibilities and really didn’t want them to become part of her everyday experience in the fifteen years her dog would live. But she wanted another animal, other than Belshazzar. She decided to wait until the next morning. Her mother always said: “There is nothing that a good night’s sleep will not make more understandable or less dreadful than we thought it at first.”

After that, she remembered the half year in which she slept without a stop and it occurred to her that there must have been something really dreadful that had happened to her, if she needed so many nights worth of sleep to make it less dreadful or more understandable. And what was certain was, that the sleep only made her forget whatever happened to her, because she definitely didn’t remember a thing, except for what her dreams had shown her until now. ‘I wonder what exactly happened to me, except the kidnapping and the pirates?’ pondered Rhoda. It was true that what she saw in her dreams was disgusting and not pleasant. But she didn’t think that this is the thing she was trying to forget with such decisiveness. There must have been something after that, because if it would have happened before the night with the fire, something of its taste would have surely stayed in her dream.

When Rhoda looked at the sky she saw the sun was high and boiling hot, and decided to close her eyes for a short time and rest. She said it to Mee, who nodded and told Belshazzar “Go on all the time in that direction. The further you will go today, the more rest you will have tomorrow.” Belshazzar answered by starting to move his wings even faster and they went on their way more rapidly.

If you want to start reading the story from it’s beginning, go to “At the begining” that was published in 15/11/2014  and read on from there. If you want to have the book, the digital , and now a printed edition as well is at:


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