October 13, 2016


‘I am very good at puzzles. I am the best,’ said Little Daphnis.

The gatekeeper looked doubtful and smiled crookedly. ‘A scrap of a thing like you? Tell me another. Go off and leave the labyrinth to fools a good deal older than you.’

‘I have a baling hook. It’s iron. The smith made it for me. I gave him one of my gold nuggets. Here’s the other for you if you’ll allow me to enter the labyrinth,’ said Daphnis, taking the baling hook and the nugget from the sack she carried.

‘Ah, that’s altogether different then, isn’t it?’ said the gatekeeper, and his eyes widened, sparkling with greed. ‘Give me that nugget, and I’ll let you through. Keep the hook for all the help it won’t be. You will be number 1,852 to enter. If you succeed, you will be number 1 to return with the key.’

The gatekeeper swung wide the gate, and Little Daphnis entered the labyrinth. The gateway disappeared, and she found herself on a narrow path between high smooth walls running off to the left and to the right out of sight. Daphnis considered for a moment, and then tentatively touched the wall. The walls rotated. The path now went forward or back out of sight. Oh. She touched the wall again. The path spun madly. She took her hand away. The spinning stopped. The path stays ever straight, but where it goes depends on the spin of the walls, thought Little Daphnis. I’ll walk a while before I touch the wall again. She walked along the ever straight unchanging path. High overhead she could see the sky. Why don’t I dig footholds in the wall with my hook and climb up to have a look around? she asked herself. She scratched and scraped at the wall with the baling hook, but when she freed the hook to make a second step, the first gash healed. So much for that idea, she thought. She sat down. She made the path spin and stop, spin and stop by tapping at one wall, then the other. This is getting me nowhere, thought Daphnis, and she idly scratched her baling hook beside her along the path. The path fell away beneath her. Glowing green stairs appeared. This is better,she thought.

Down the stairs she hurried, and when she had descended the last step, she faced a great metal door. She pushed at it. It didn’t budge. She stepped back to think. She stepped forward and swung her baling hook with every ounce of her strength at the door. CLANG. The door swung open.

‘Huh?’ said the gatekeeper, jumping up and grabbing at his chest.

‘I am very good at puzzles. I am the best,’ said Little Daphnis.

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