Herling’s Speech to the People of ToadChapel

Fragment 22.I.19

– from the Annus Mirabilis 1 of Nuddle, ToadScribe novice


The following is an Accurate Record of what was said in the village square of ToadChapel on the morning after the theft of three of farmer Meddard’s chickens. I swear its accuracy upon the Great Oath I have sworn within the Outer Door of the Order of ToadScribes:

[A man]: I seen three strangers on the road yesterday!

[A man]: Ah, Whent, we ain’t had three strangers in a month of Sundays!

[A woman]: I saw a man slinking around in the evening, before that ol moon turned red. He was trying to avoid someone’s notice.

[A woman]: Must have been John Mus!

[A man]: It was that boy GaGa keeps along with his sister! They blew in rotten and they’re sure raisin’ Cain around here now!

[A man]: He’s right, I seen that boy Gramm chasing Med’s chickens half the afternoon. How do you argue with that?

[A drunken man]: I saw a pair of wicked little goblins did it! There was a two of em, skinny and ugly, with long noses, long arms, and short legs. And there was a big one behind em, past the treeline. Biggest goblin I ever heard of.

[A man]: Fuddle you’re drunk! Your grandfather never saw a goblin and neither did you.


Herling: Good people of ToadChapel, will we sit here and debate these details of local history? This man’s chickens <gestures to Meddard> are missing. They’re very unlikely to be found alive. Think of your own chickens! Think how your children will cry when you bring home cold straw from an empty coop!

Now, it seems that multiple witnesses saw Gramm, ward of GaGa, attempting to abduct the very chickens which have gone missing. He’s a well-known roustabout. We barely know him or his sister, they just popped up one morning like mushrooms after that terrible storm.

The evidence is undeniable. But our inaction is worse. It’s time we start asking the hard questions. Who are these strange children? Where did they come from?

I’m going to pay Ga-Ga a visit and see what she knows. She’s knows more than she lets on. And the town of ToadChapel deserves to know who’s living among us!

[A man]: Do you need help? What if she runs?

Herling: No, we can’t just pound on GaGa’s door and accuse those children of chicken theft and worse. I’ve got to build my case against them. I’ll draw her secrets out with cunning and catch those two wild rabbits in my net of words.

Luckily for us all, GaGa can scarcely resist my charms and blandishments. Why, I’ll expose those young scamps and offer their lovely guardian a shoulder to cry on when their misdemeanors have been exposed!

You all see about locating those birds. Track them down! Something’s got to be done!

[A man]: Get the dogs!

[A man]: Don’t you think they roasted em by now?

[A man] Roasted the dogs? Barbaric!

[A man]: Or stewed em. Pot pie, mayhap.


The Problem of the Two Children

Fragment 21.I.19

– from the Annus Mirabilis 1 of Nuddle, ToadScribe novice


The following is an Accurate Record of what was said between the assembled sages of ToadChapel after the goatherd brought the strange children to the village square. I swear its accuracy upon the Great Oath I have sworn within the Outer Door of the Order of ToadScribes:

[The goatherd, whose name I did not learn, brought the children to the village square. The children were very dirty and seemed to have been buffeted by Fate. Nevertheless, they seemed more curious than afraid. For instance, I saw them curiously eying Nunc-bïdi Hyûm’s jelly doughnut for some time. The goatherd had approached most august Holos and the learned Isidem and engaged them in conversation as if they were old friends. As I moved closer, this is what I heard the surprised sages say]

Holos: …Well what are we to make of all THIS?

Isidem: And what’s This then, Holos? It’s not like you to shout.

Holos: These little ones. They’re so… unpredictable.

[The goatherd wandered away and seemed to gesture to Nunc-bïdi Hyûm and the remarkable Dr. Immanuel Cannott. Their conversation then drew the attention of Holos and Isidem, who turned to see what was all the commotion. The strange children now huddled behind the stammering goatherd, who seemed to have recognized how venerable these great men truly are.]

Stammering Goatherd: Here be 2 tiny humans. Never seen em before. No names. Hungry.

Nunc-bïdi Hyûm: Haha! tabula rasa! tabulae rasae!!

Now we shall see! Ahahahaha!

Cannott.: Have you been at your cups already, Nunc?

Nunc-bïdi Hyûm: Me? What, me?

It never hurts to keep a full glass and a positive attitude.

Cannott.: Yours are the easy manners of the morally incompetent. Why, next you’ll say…

[At this point the goatherd and the strange children drew apart to eat a light luncheon. Though reluctant to miss the learned discourses of the assembled sages, at this point I hurried off to the Office of Records to register the arrival of two such new and utterly unknown persons as these storm-blown orphans.]