By Sidban the Salah
Lost until now, this manuscript found in the Dead Sea Scrolls, tells of a time past when all was not comfortable…………….
And so it came to pass that those who sitteth on the mighty seats of the seventh cloud in the Headquarters of the Guards of the Coast, in the City of the Father of His Country, decreed that the mighty boat with the name of an ex-keeper of our country’s coins, otherwise known as the CAMPBELL, or ‘The Queen”, should again cruise to the northward to make circles around the Region called Bravo.
Also, to carry certain Soothsayers to investigate the mysteries of the winds and elements and to loft air-filled gifts to the gods. And a Senior Roller of Pills to ward off the evil Demons which may inhabit this desolate Region.
And so orders went out to the Ancient One of the great boat to make all ready for sea. Many Keepers of the Sand, fearing transfer to this Queen, did make themselves scarce, or retreat to the protective custody of the Shoreside Roller of Pills.
Then the men of the shore whose job it is to louse things up came aboard. And did just that.
And many papers were shuffled and Centurions from the Staff of the Supreme Commander of the First Region of the Guards of the Coast came aboard and offered much gold to help make the great boat ready. And it was accepted, but not so gladly.
Then were demands made on Merchants far and wide, calling upon them to send nuts and bolts, and bits and pieces, and all manner of things that would be required by the great boat during her voyage.
And, meanwhile, the men in the little white hats toiled from dawn to darkness cleaning that which was soiled, and shining that which was dull, and knocking and chipping of rust, and spreading on paint of red, white and spar, and unloading great waggon of stores that came down the pier under the careful scrutiny of the Centurion of the ribbon clerks.
And the stablehands deep inside the boat laboured hard, conditioning the great horses for their long journey. Still others ran hither and yon and checked on this and that, and poked into gray boxes that were filled with wires and tubes and I know not what. And still the Centurions and the Overseers urged the men in the little white hats to double their efforts.
Yea, verily, I sayeth unto you, it was a time of great confusion.
And then it came to pass that the time which had been allotted the Queen to make Ready for Sea had runneth out, even though much needed equipment was not arrived.
And the women, and children, and consorts, and the kinsmen and friends of the men in the little white hats, and of the Overseers, and of the Centurions, and of the Ancient One, came down to see the great boat sail.
Then when each had gone to his appointed place and all was ready—or almost all—the Ancient One spake, saying, “Take in all lines.” And it was done.
Then he sayeth, “One-third of the horses on the right side back.” And it was done.
Then he ordered, “Stop the horses, two-thirds of all the horses ahead.”
And the Overseers of the stable-hands cracked their whips. And it was done. Then with a mighty blast of the great trumpet high on the stick, the Queen commenced its long voyage. And the women, and children, and consorts, and kinsmen, and friends shed much tears. Yea, verily it was a time of great sadness.
The Centurions of the Staff of the First Region of the Guards of the Coast and Keepers of the Sand did say, “Praise Allah”!
And those who had been in the care of the Shore-Side Roller of Pills did suddenly receive miraculous cures.
And so it came to pass the Queen did stand out of the harbour and head northward. And the Ancient One, high on the bridge, did order his Chief of the Lightning Bolts to send a thunderous signal to the Supreme Commander of the Eastern Regions of the Guards of the Coast which sayeth, “Now cometh the mighty Queen to fulfill her appointed duties.” And it was so.
On the third day they came to the New Found Land where they did enter a harbour called Argentia, and the Ancient One spake, saying, “Let go the anchor.” And the anchor did not go. And there was much hammering and banging until it finally went.
All afternoon the men in the little white hats toiled to take aboard the thick, black juices which kept the great horses in the bowels of the boat running.
Then there was Liberty. And the men in the little white hats and the Overseers, and the Centurions, and the Ancient One, all went ashore to sample the sights and smells of this strange New Found Land.
And gifts were bought. And again there was much clicking of the magic boxes but none could be persuaded to spew forth their silvery contents.
And the Ancient One’s understudy did connive to win a bean game from the friendly natives by ancient incantations over the pasteboards. And some sampled the juice of the grapes, and some, too much.
On the morn, the mighty Queen put to sea to continue her peaceful odyssey.
And it came to pass that the fates let it be known that they were not pleased with the Queen as she rolled northward in the unsettled seas toward the Region called Bravo.
The great pots in which seawater is boiled to make fresh water began to develop leaks. And though the pot tenders strove mightily to mend these leaks, yea, even though they toiled night and day, more leaks developed. And the pots used more water than they made. And fresh water became as scarce as in the heart of the Great Desert.
And the Chief Centurion of those who toil in the bilges decreed that there would be no fresh water for washing and very little for drinking. All the men in the little white hats and the Overseers and the Centurions were greatly displeased. All save the Centurion of the Cleaner of Tunics.
On the evening of the sixth day the Queen reached the Region of Bravo and then came a Great Storm that the Soothsayers had not foreseen and which the Great Prophet Beaufort would call “uncomfortable.” And the snow came down. And the Seas grew mightily. Yea, verily, the great Queen was buffeted about as though it was a chip of wood.
And it did roll from one side unto the other and back again. And much gear would roll from side to side with it—but out of phase. And clatter and bang. And break.
And many did moan and groan and hold their stomachs. And some did give that which had been Supper up unto the Seas, or onto the decks.
And the Ancient One’s understudy did go to his alcove to meditate and mightily curse his fate and the day he had chosen to join the Guards of the Coast. And did wonder how far down those that go to sea in ships were required to go.
But, lo, as all things must, the Great Storm came to an end. And the snow stopped and the seas subsided. And the hardier of the men in the little white hats did rise up and secure things and clean up and make things shipshape like good seamen. And life began to return to normal . . . for a while.
The boxes that see objects from afar becameth blind. And the hired hands whose job it is to maketh these boxes work lost much sleep. And they changeth wires and tubes and I know not what. And the boxes worked again.
And here and there pipes spat forth saltwater from places they were not supposed to. And those whose job was to knock on metal did so. And the water stopped.
Then it came to pass that one of the great generators could not make up its mind as to how to properly function, and the Chief Centurion of those who toil in the bilges had to show it the light.
And, high on the bridge, the Ancient One cursed mightily each time a new trouble was reported to him. And this was ungood.
Lo, on the twenty-sixth day, the Centurion of the Underwater Investigation lowered his daily offering to the Sea Gods and it was accepted. At last, a good omen. Or was it?
Certain of the Centurions and Soothsayers conspired to raid the coffers of the Ancient One. But the Assistant to the Chief Centurion of those who toil in the bilges teamed up with the Ancient One to foil this plot. And they exacted a one ducat retribution from each of the conspirators.
The Senior Roller of Pills gazed into his crystal ball and said, “I see good times ahead. We must make a sacrifice to the deities and our safe return will be assured.” And they did—they threw him over the side.
And all was well again with the mighty Queen.