Letters and books text dumped from game a*set files.
OBLIGATORY SPOILER WARNING
My dear A,
It has come to my attention that something
peculiar has been going on across the estate. The crude
folk from our local village have been reporting that their
scarecrows are “watching” them, and that there’s “something
in the woods”. I am certain this is nothing more than local
superstition and poppycock, but it’s interesting that their
blood is up. You know how these country types can get if
they’re not dealt a firm hand!
It is my intention to send my man Dunbridge into the
field with some scientific equipment. Perhaps he can find out
It’s our delight to inform you that your relative,
a Mrs Cakeshot of Longwell Ham, Colebury, has pa*sed
away, leaving you the sum of TWELVE POUNDS AND
SEVENTEEN PENCE ONLY in her inheritance proclamation.
Having deducted our own handling fee for your convenience,
we’ve enclosed the THREE POUNDS AND ELEVEN
PENCE ONLY amount that you are now entitled to claim.
Please provide us with a banker’s draft for FIVE POUNDS
AND NINETEEN PENCE along with the exact details of your
own state of health (counter-signed by a doctor or lawyer)
in order to claim this amount. If you do not claim, then our
legal team will not be happy.
I am writing to inform you that I will not be visiting
this summer. The reason for this is that I’ve been unable to
get away from the island. I am not even sure this letter will
reach you, due to the terrible losses sustained by shipping in
the local area. There’s talk of a lusty whale, but my own strolls
along the clifftops suggest there’s something more sinister at
work upon the waves. I believe it could well be a very large
seagull. Mr Hadley says that a giant bird could not disrupt
shipping in this way, much less sink the ferry, but I do not
accept his a*sessment of the danger of large seabirds. I once
saw one eat a pigeon, and will never forget.
To Whom It May Concern,
This correspondence has been target at all residents
of the island, with the specific intention of alerting you to
the danger of strangers. If you encounter a stranger, please
first ask them to make talk about the weather. If they are
enable or unwilling to engage in such polite trade, then you
must report them to the police, immediately.
All strangers must be registered with the local
desk sergeant, or face immediate dishamperment. A local
Magistrate has issued fines against several youths who
failed to report a strange hanging about at the back of
the old mill. So watch it.
The Parish Security Club
I’m afraid my man never returned from the woods.
In fact, no one who has left Paulgrove Manor has reappeared
and I now find myself quite alone. Even the cook seems
to have vanished, and it’s only by virtue of these messenger
birds that I am able to keep in contact with you in London.
I fear something fell is afoot in the island. I went for a walk
this morning and didn’t even see any of the local poor people
doing their usual frolicking or collecting of things from the
ground. Perhaps something has happened to them, too.
I am running out of pipe tobacco, and the boiler is an
arcane mystery me.
It does seem as if there’s good reason for concern.
Not only was your messenger bird maimed on arrival, but
also I have had terrible dreams, where something mechanical
stalked the fields, and took the hats of gentlemen from their
ripening corpses! Could my psychic disposition be making
itself know once again? Perhaps the pills provided by Dr
Fabenholt can no longer suppress the power of messages
from the other side. Also, I fear I may had had too much
sherry, as I am unable to rise from the chair in which I write
this note. They say it is gout season.
Perhaps the butler will find me.
PLEASE REPORT TO THE SEA FOR DROWNING
PRACTICE. YOU WILL NOT BE HARMED. FAILURE
TO REPORT FOR DROWNING PRACTICE WILL RESULT
IN FIVE POINTS BEING ADDED TO YOUR REPORT
CARD. IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A REPORT CARD THEN
PLEASE EXPECT IMMEDIATE LEGAL PROCEEDINGS
FOLLOWED BY SWIFT ELECTROCUTION AT THE
MOST CONVENIENT DATE.
IT IS IMPORTANT THAT YOU REMAIN CALM
AND WALK OUT IN THE OPEN WEARING BRIGHT
CLOTHES. WE ARE NOT THE ENEMY.
– FRIENDLY LOCAL BUSINESSMEN
WE COME IN PEACE. WE ARE NOT FOREIGN OR
IN ANY WAY THREATENING. PLEASE TALK WITH US
ABOUT THE WEATHER AND OTHER THINGS WHICH
MAKE YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE. THERE IS NO
DANGER OF YOU BEING DESTROYED. IT IS IMPORTANT
FOR YOU TO REALISE THAT NONE OF THE PEOPLE
YOU KNOW WHO HAVE BEEN DESTROYED WERE IN
ANY WAY DESTROYED BY US, OR RELATED FORCES.
ANY DESTRUCTION TO PERSONS RESIDENT ON THESE
ISLANDS IS PURELY COINCIDENTAL TO OUR RECENT
– UNTHREATENING GENTLEMEN
I’m writing to let you know that I’ve been unable to
purchase a Christmas present for Eleanor this year. I know
that this will inconvenience you in your new life as a clerk
in Birmingham, but conditions on the island have worsened
considerably since you left us. First the drainage problems,
and now we seem to be fighting a desperate guerilla war
against robotic invaders. If we survive the next few hours,
then perhaps I will be able to order something for you from
the catalogue. But if not, then you’ll have to pick up something
from the department store.
Hello there, Neighbour!
I’m just writing you a quick note to point out that
your house is on fire. I didn’t want to knock and disturb
anyone, and you might already have it under control.
Nevertheless it has been noticed by the neighbourhood
that your door was left open yesterday, and that someone
was screaming inside. As you can imagine, that has led
to some talk and there are rumours going around that
you are not going to contribute to the fête this year. If
that’s true, then you can imagine what Mrs Loams will
say at the next village general meeting. I say all this as
a concerned neighbour who is not judging anyone, least
of all you!
TO: The Resident
You are receiving this letter because you have
fallen behind in your water registration. If you wish to
continue receiving water then you must prove that you are
not able to collect water for yourself from a nearby pump
or standing water source such as a lake or ditch.
You are required to attend a mandatory water
fetching evaluation session which will begin at 6am on
the 3rd of February at Hacklespry Thoam. Please
bring your certificate of Britishness with you to avoid
slowing down the documentation process. Please
note you you will be subject to spot checks by an untrained
Dear Dr Hodgement,
I am writing in the hope that we might be able to
strike up a correspondence. My late wife, Clove Barmstick,
had long been an awe of your studies into stone circles of
Browswick, Ketterton, and Spaldwent. She believed quite
sincerely, as you do, that these circles had deeper power
and meaning than historians and Oxford egg heads will
grant them. I have to admit that I thought it entirely
conflabulated, too, until this past winter. You see, I live
near a similar circle, and I have seen things… Yes. You
must write and tell me whether you wish to learn more.
Your offer interests me a great deal, but you
can’t have failed to notice the address to which you
sent your communiqué. I am at her Majesty’s pleasure
in the sanatorium at Blue Bishop’s Mound. For me to
conduct any further research, I will need to be able to
visit the stone circle. As it is, all I can offer you is my
condolence, for anyone who has seen the secrets of these
circles seems doomed to face a fate most unpleasant.
If not death, then certainly disgrace and incarceration,
such as I have faced.
Dear Dr Hodgement,
I know now that you are not mad! I have seen
with my own eyes the things which you claimed must
be possible. I am no fool, however, and I am certain
that I will not be able to convince the authorities of your
sanity without solid evidence. I am no scientists, of course,
but perhaps I could carry out the experiments as per your
instructions, and then write again to you with the data
gathered. I am keen that the world should know of the
danger these ancient monuments pose. If I can serve
your noble quest in any way, then I will do so. Please
instruct me accordingly.
Before we agree on a course of action, I must be
sure to warn you of the danger you face. These stone circles
do, I believe, allow those who understand their workings to
access what physicists call “The Overlap Effect”. It is quite
difficult for me to explain this effect without my chalk board
and props, but let me try: the stone circle is like an engine
which might drag our world close to the fabric of another.
Impossible? You might think so. Magic? It certainly seems
so to men of small intellect. But this is science, Barmstick,
science as God intended it!
And the possibilities of this are… sinister.
Dear Dr Hodgement,
I understand the dangers. But I have lived, oh, I have
lived. With Clove gone, I do not fear for myself. I fear only
for the world I might leave behind, and what terrors may
unleash themselves upon it! I have glimpsed this overlap
you speak of, and I have heard the terrible clanking of the
things which lie beyond. We must act together, and quickly,
not least because I have found out that your rival,
Langridge, is beginning his own research anew, complete
with Imperial funding. It will be difficult to head him off
if we do not act swiftly. What if he is not as clever as you,
and blunders the entire world into danger?
Oh how cold my blood ran when I saw you write
of Langridge. That rotter! He will ruin everything with his
haughty meddling! There is nothing I loathe more than his
groomed face and eager eyes. He will be the death of all
good learning in the years to come. I must escape this place
if we are to defeat him. I have sent instructions for some
tests you might run at the stone circle, so that we might get
a head start. In the meantime, I shall execute my escape plan.
The guards here are easily tricked by gossip and hypnotism.
I shall be with you on the island by Easter.
HELLO SIR OR MADAM,
WE HAVE CALCULATED THAT YOU ARE DUE
A TAX REBATE OF SEVERAL THOUSAND INCREMENTS
OF HUMAN ARBITRARY VALUE. TO COLLECT YOUR
VALUE AND A SPECIAL AND COMPLETELY HARMLESS
PRIZE, PLEASE REPORT TO THE DERACINATION
FACILTY ON JAW HILL. THE MURDER COLONEL WILL
MEET YOU AT THE DOOR WITH TEA AND BISCUITS
WHICH CONTAIN NO POISON AT ALL. FAILURE TO
RESPOND TO THIS LETTER WILL NOT HARM YOUR
CHANCES OF BEING TREATED FAIRLY COME THE
FREE AND EDIBLE FLESH IS AVAILABLE FROM
OUR LOCAL REPRESENTATIVES. SIMPLY APPROACH
ANY OF OUR FRIENDLY STAFF TO COLLECT YOUR
COMPLIMENTARY SLICE OF A DEAD ANIMAL WHICH
YOU MAY EAT TO SATIATE YOUR BIOLOGICAL
NEEDS. PLEASE NOTE THAT YOU WILL NOT BE
DESTROYED WHEN COLLECTING THIS FREE FLESH
SAMPLE. THAT ABSOLUTELY ISN’T GOING TO
HAPPEN. WE ALSO HAVE SOME MINTS.
THIS IS A POLITE NOTICE. PLEASE PUT
YOURSELF OUTSIDE TOMORROW MORNING FOR
COLLECTION. OUR FRIENDLY TEAMS WILL MOVE
YOU TO A MORE SUITABLE LOCATION AND CLEAN
YOUR CURRENT DWELLING USING THEIR SPECIAL
EQUIPMENT. ANY HUMANS CAUGHT AVOIDING
DISPOSAL WILL BE OFFERED A QUESTIONNAIRE
BEFORE BEING ASKED TO VISIT ONE OF OUR
DEDICATED HUMAN-PANDERING FACILTIES, WHERE
THEY WILL NOT BE DESTROYED OR INCINERATED.
IGNORING THIS NOTICE IS CONSIDERED QUITE RUDE
AND WE WILL BE UPSET.
It has been several weeks since I last heard from
you or mother, and I am beginning to worry. Perhaps
you can get in touch and let me know that you are okay.
I’ve just moved into a new flat in Swansea, and the
promotion has enabled me to purchase a 1970s Dilemma
hatchback. You’d like it, although it has the same design
flaws as the Trooper Manhorse 500, which we used to visit
the dales in.
If it’s not too much trouble, I’d like to visit again
for the bank holiday, and I promise I won’t touch mother’s
teapot collection, I’ve entirely grown out of that phase.
Your loving son, Jasper.
HUMAN NAME: JASPER,
THIS IS YOUR FATHER AND NOT A MACHINE.
I AM REPLYING TO YOUR PAPER MESSAGE IN ORDER
TO INSIST ON YOUR RETURN TO [HOME ADDRESS].
DO NOT BE ALARMED BY THE LACK OF VILLAGERS,
THEY ARE ALL ON HOLIDAY. THEY GOT A CHEAP
PACKAGE DEAL AND IT IS NICE IN SPAIN AT THIS
POINT IN THE CYCLE AROUND THE SUN. PLEASE
RETURN HOME UNARMED, YOU ARE IN NO DANGER
OF BEING DESTROYED. PLEASE EAT THIS LETTER
AFTER READING. YOUR DIGESTIVE JUICES WILL
CONCEAL ANY EVIDENCE.
I received your reply and I have to say that it worried
me a bit. I have eaten the letter, as you requested, but I am
still worried about you signing off as “Dad”. You’ve always
said that such sentimental names were for softies and foreigners,
which can only lead me to think you are having a crisis.
If it’s because of something I have done, then please forgive me.
I’ve worked really hard to be the kind of son you can be
proud of, and I’ve even grown a moustache so that I can carry
on the family tradition, like you and Uncle Robert. I’ll come
home as soon as I can.
Your loving son, Jasper
I’ve been thinking about our last meeting, and I know
in my heart that you are the one for me. There was something
about the shape of your face and the way it was lit in the
moonlight… I shall never forget it.
I know that we’re from different worlds, but that doesn’t
mean that this isn’t love. If you can find any way to break out
of the constraints of your difficult life, then I will always be
here, waiting for you.
I never believed in soul mates, Howard, but I think
this was meant to be. Write to me again soon, my beloved.
I shall be waiting. Always.
HUMAN NAME: AMELIA
I TOO AM FAVOURABLE TOWARDS CONTINUED
MEETING. THIS THING YOU CALL LOVE IS NOT
WITHIN MY NORMAL PARAMETERS. ERROR. PLEASE
SEND ERROR REPORT TO AN ADMINISTRATOR.
PRESS OK TO CONTINUE.
SYSTEM NEEDS TO RESTART. OK.
PERHAPS ONE DAY WHEN I RETURN FROM
MY MISSION OF NOT DESTROYING HUMANS AT ALL
THEN WE CAN BE TOGETHER. HOWEVER, I MAY
END UP BEING DECOMMISSIONED DUE TO MODEL
A Creeping Horror
And so the cowled stranger and I walked in silence for many
miles. We crossed out of familiar farmland and into the moor,
where bleak skeletal horses picked among the rough vegetation
and the ruins of shepherd huts long abandoned. As we entered our
tenth mile, and twilight faded to the blue dark of evening, the
stranger made a sound, as if clearing his throat. We had still
not exchanged words and as now he slowed I anticipated his attempt
to break the silence. But he simply halted, stooped there on the
black path. In time I spoke, and he did not reply. Eventually I
put my hand to his shoulder and felt strangeness there. He turned
and I looked into the shadow of his hood.
Blood flew away from my face and heart as I saw what stood there.
Well, they went on till it was about dark, and they began to
think of some place where they could spend the night. About
this time they came in sight of a house, and Jack told them
to keep still while he went up and looked in through the
window. And there were some robots counting over their money.
Then Jack went back and told them to wait till he gave the word,
and then to make all the noise they could. So when they were all
ready Jack gave the word, and the cat mewed, and the dog barked,
and the goat bleated, and the bull bellowed, and the rooster
crowed, and all together they made such a dreadful noise that
it frightened the robots away. By-and-by the robots saw
it was all dark and they sent one of their number back for
their money. Before long he came back in a great fright.
Hounds And Their Treachery
Hounds have long been a source of myth and rumour for the people
of the British Isles. A black dog is an omen of woe or even death,
while a blue dog is a kind of joke, only understood by the Welsh.
The true nature of dogs, however, was unknown until the 1890s,
whena local squire, Princeton Handsley, began to study their habits,
and was able to prove that they had been meeting in secret to discuss
the overthrow of their masters. This evidence of both a dog language
and its attendant conspiracy made hounds into pariahs, and they
began to live in their own villages at the edge of civilisation.
The beasts would make money by playing cards or by learning
Some say that one day dogs will return. And won’t that be just ghastly.
– Do not speak to tall men, they are easily offended by shortness.
– Tea should not be drunk after six o’clock, for religious reasons.
– Wearing a crab claw in your hat is considered overly exuberant.
– Shopkeepers and landlords can widely be addressed as “Yeoman”.
– Remember to retain your grip on a black umbrella at all times.
– Never discuss taxes, always mention your support for the crown.
– Your wife should not be allowed to tell allegorical jokes.
– Books are frivolous unless they refer to horses and husbandry of.
– No villification of simpletons.
– Feign indifference.
– Do not mistake a gentleman for a lady when on consecrated ground.
– Foreigners should not be referred to without stepping outside.
– Smoking cigarettes is a fine way to seem disaffected.
Jack The Robot Killer Pt 1
Jack took up a horn, shovel, and pickaxe, and went over to
the Mount, in the beginning of a dark winter’s evening,
when he fell to work. And before morning had dug a pit twenty-two
feet deep, and nearly as broad, covering it over with long
sticks and straw. Then he strewed moss over it, so that it
appeared like plain ground.
Jack then placed himself on the opposite side of the pit,
far from the robot’s cave, and, just at the break of day,
he put the horn to his mouth, and blew. This noise roused
the machine, which rushed from his cave, crying:
“You incorrigible villain, are you come here to disturb my rest?
You shall pay dearly for this!”
It had no sooner uttered this, than it tumbled into the pit.
“Oh Robot,” quoth Jack, “where are you now?”
He tantalized the robot for a while, then with his pickaxe slew it.
Jack The Robot Killer Pt2
Jack soon went searching for robots again, but he had not
ridden far, when he saw a cave, near the entrance of which
he beheld a giant robot sitting upon a block of timber,
with a knotted iron club by his side.
His goggle eyes were like flames of fire, his countenance grim and
ugly, while the bristles of his beard resembled rods of iron wire.
Jack alighted from his horse, and, putting on the coat of darkness,
went up close to the giant, and said softly,
“Oh! are you there? It will not be long before
I take you fast by the beard.”
Jack cut off the giant’s head, and sent it, via wagon, to King Arthur.
The King bestowed on Jack a noble castle, with a very beautiful estate
thereto belonging, where he and his lady lived in great joy.
Mother Paul’s Sack Pudding
Ingredients for sack pudding:
Five connotations, raw.
A pickled suggestion, with the implication removed.
A chopped an*logy.
Some syllogism, without the rind.
Instructions for cooking:
Place all the ingredients in a metaphor and begin to shake
uncontrollably. Once entirely frothing at the mouth, lay
on the ground and moan until nearby onlookers are forced
My Gruesome Encounter
That is where the mystery ends. Because the thing in the cabin
was not a man. It had never lived at all. It was something not
of this world, but a machine which glared with malice of
forethought and otherworldly intent. If it had not been for the
surgeon and his red hot poker I would not have returned to Mary,
nor have written this diary of my experiences on the evil river.
Let this be a warning to anyone who would tangle with machines,
be they on water or upon terra firma – there is something that
knows no bounds, nor God’s forgiveness. A malevolence which on
the Devil could have raised. Yes, I can compare it unto
But I pray it cannot be remade. We should all make that prayer.
Our Tremendous Stench
Once the cause of the stench had been confirmed by the men from
London, people began to arrive from all over the nearby counties.
“What a tremendous stench,” they would comment to locals, and we
would smile and agree, and proudly tell the tale of how the all-
pervading stink had come to be. Even the local alehouse, the Red
Lion, was to take a new name in honour of the great smell, and it
was truly the most important odour ever to have made its home in
our part of the world.
These golden times were in retreat however, when a foreigner arrived
from The East. Despite being dressed with gold and tailored clothes,
the foreigner was evil, and he quickly found his way to the heart
of our stench. And – so it’s told – he took it for his people.
Poor Billy Robot
That organ immediately took fire, and, indeed, to tell the
truth, kept burning night and day, winter and summer.
Such was the sad fate of Billy Robot, who has been walking
without stop or stay, from place to place, ever since; and
in consequence of the flame on his nose, and his beard being
tangled like a wisp of hay, he has been christened by the
country folk Will-o’-the-Wisp, while, as it were, to show the
mischief of his disposition, the circulating knave, knowing
that he must seek the coldest bogs and quagmires in order to
cool his nose, seizes upon that opportunity of misleading
the unthinking and tipsy night travellers from their way,
just that he may have the satisfaction of still taking in as
many as possible.
Terrible Forests Of The Universe
There is something out there in the water. It is but the first
sign of things to come. My daughters fashion wards against bog-
creatures with wildflowers and locks of their hair, but such
pastoral invocations will not save us. As the days draw towards
a bitter winter I am convinced that the appearance of lights in
the meadows provide us with a warning. They are a harbinger of the
terrible forests of the universe into which we now wander.
My only hope now is that my family can be persuaded to abandon
the village and head across the inlet to the town beyond.
Perhaps there in the warm glow of civilisation the strangeness
will leave us and we can look forward to unhaunted evenings,
where the sounds of the terrors do not wake me in the dead
The Awful Dream
I heard the dogs howl in the moonlight night;
I went to the window to see the sight;
All the robots that ever I knew
Going one by one and two by two.
On they pa*s’d, and on they pa*s’d;
Townsfellows all, from first to last;
Built in the moonlight of the lane,
Quench’d in the heavy shadow again.
Mechanicals, marching as when we play’d
At soldiers once—but now more staid;
Those were the strangest sight to me
Who were drown’d, I knew, in the awful sea.
To this gathering, only the bright and lively robots were welcome.
Some of the best natured among the big machines, and especially
giantic engines and tunnel machines, might pay a visit, if they
wanted to do so; but all the bad ones, such as poachers, sellers
of liquids for wakes, who made men drunk, and all who, under
the guise of utilities, were only agents for undertakers, were
The Night Dogs of the Wicked Hunter, the Automated
Goats, and various, cruel devices and computational creatures,
living in the ponds, and that pulled cattle down to eat them up,
and the immodest handsome-bots, whose bad behavior was so
well known, were crossed off the list of invitations.
The Duke Of Numbers
It pained the old clerk to think back to that time when he
worked on the estate. He would rather leave memories of that
night buried, just as he had buried his lord and master in the
black peat of his ornamental garden.
The Duke had always had an obsession with how a mechanical
mind could be made to think. Andit would not think in words
and fleeting images like a man, but in numbers.
“Algebra, Jeremiah,” the Duke would say, “that is
the brain-blood of the new age!” But the Duke would be too
intimately acquainted with the brain-blood of the current age
to ever see such a thing come to pa*s.
The old clerk, on the other hand, had seen the horror uncoil.
The Enchanted Machines
There is a table running along through the middle of the cave.
The Machine King is sitting at the head, and his troopers down
along in complete armour both sides of the table, and their
heads resting on it.
Their horses, saddled and bridled, are standing behind their
masters in their stalls at each side;
and when the day comes, the miller’s son that’s to be born
with six fingers on each hand, will blow his trumpet, and
the horses will stamp and whinny, and the great machines
awake and mount their steeds, and go forth to battle.
The Golden Apple
Prototype 17 planted the three golden apples in his garden, and
instantly a great tree, bearing similar clockwork fruit, sprang up.
This tree caused all the district to produce an exuberance of robotic
crops and fruits, so that it became as fertile and plentiful
as the dominions of the golems, in consequence of the extraordinary
powers possessed by the golden fruit.
The automatic hound and the anti-gravity steed were of the
utmost utility to him; and his reign was long and prosperous,
and celebrated among the old ‘bots for the great abundance of
nuts, bolts, data, tax-breaks, and fish that prevailed during
this happy reign.
The Golden Arm Pt1
Here was once a machine that travelled the land all
over in search of a wife. It saw young and old, rich and poor,
pretty and plain, and could not meet with one to its mind.
At last it found a woman, young, fair, and rich,
who possessed a right arm of solid gold.
The machine married her at once, and thought none so fortunate
They lived happily together, but, though it wished people to
think otherwise, the machine was fonder of the golden arm than of
all his wife’s gifts besides.
At last she died. The husband put on the blackest black,
but for all that it got up in the middle of the night,
dug up the body, and cut off the golden arm. It hurried home
to hide its treasure, and thought no one would know.
The Golden Arm Pt2
The following night it put the golden arm under its pillow,
and was just falling asleep, when the ghost of its dead wife
glided into the room. Stalking up to the bedside it drew the
curtain, and looked at the robot reproachfully. Pretending
not to be afraid, it spoke to the ghost, and said:
“What hast thou done with thy cheeks so red?”
“All withered and wasted away,” replied the ghost, darkly.
“What hast thou done with thy red rosy lips?”
“All withered and wasted away.”
“What hast thou done with thy golden hair?”
“All withered and wasted away.”
“What hast thou done with thy Golden Arm?”
“THOU HAST IT!”
The Haunted Track
But was it something undead on that cold road, or was it other?
Was it something that had made its way down from Uncle Twain’s
house by the gifford, or was it something supernatural? I cannot
say. But I can say that it was certainly unnatural, and such things
should not walk the Earth or any sphere of the heavens like it.
Take heed my words, because they are shaped on the lathe of
experience – take up arms against whatever walks the tracks in
Hark! What is that I hear now on the road outside? A heavy footfall
… heavier than a man?
Emilia, my gun and coat!
The Mechanical Cat
But the mechanical cat only grinned at her, and went on
tearing and spoiling and devouring the fish, evidently not
a bit the worse for the blow. On this, both the women attacked
it with sticks, and struck hard blows enough to kill it, on
which the cat glared at them, and spit fire; then, making a
leap, it saw the women from the house. But presently the mistress
returned, carrying with her a bottle of holy water; and,
looking in, she saw the cat still devouring the fish.
So she crept over quietly and threw holy water on it without
a word. No sooner was this done than a dense black smoke filled
the place, through which nothing was seen but the two red eyes
of the cat, burning like coals of fire. Then the smoke
gradually cleared away, and she saw but cogs and a circuitboard.
The Robot And The Fool
After a while, however, the Robot saw a stir in the direction
of the farm they had left, and he quickly perceived that the
loss of the goose was known, and that the farmer and his men
were in pursuit of the thief. So, hastily picking up the goose,
he overtook the Fool, and pressed it into his arms, saying,
“Dear friend, pardon a pa*sing ill humour, of which I sincerely
repent. Are we not partners in good luck and ill? I was wrong,
dear friend; and, in token of my penitence, the goose shall be
yours alone. And here are a few plums with which you may refresh
yourself by the wayside. As for me, I will hasten on to the
next farm, and see if I can beg a bottle of wine to wash down
the dinner, and drink to our good-fellowship.”
And before the Fool could thank him, the Robot was off like
The Robot Courting
By thefts and exactions, by ransoms from merchants too old
and tough to be eaten, the Robot had become very rich; and
although those who knew could tell of huge cellars full of
gold and jewels, and yards and barns groaning with the
weight of stolen goods, the richer he grew the more anxious
and covetous he became. Moreover, day by day, he added to his
stores; for though (like most Robots) he was as stupid as
he was strong, no one had ever been found to get the better
of him. What he took from the people was not their heaviest
grievance. Even to be killed and eaten by him was not the
chance they thought of most. A man can die but once;
No, that was not the worst.
The worst was this — he would keep getting married.
The Robot Worm Of Spindleston Heugh
Soon the country round about had reason to know of the Robot
Worm of Spindleston Heugh. For hunger drove the monster out
from its cave and it used to devour everything it could come
across. So at last they went to a warlock and asked him what
they should do. Then he consulted his works and his familiar,
and told them:
“The Robot Worm is really the Princess X-67 and it is hunger that
drives her forth to do such deeds. Put aside for her seven kine, and
each day as the sun goes down, carry every drop of milk they yield to
the stone trough at the foot of the Heugh, and the Robot Worm will
trouble the country no longer.
But if ye would that she be borrowed to her natural shape, and that
she who bespelled her be rightly punished, send over the seas for
her brother, Automatic Fabian.”
The Tale Of Lazy R7-G15
Once upon a time there was a robot whose name was R7-G15,
and he lived with his mother on a common. They were very poor,
and the old robot got her living by decrypting secret files,
but R7-G15 was so lazy that he would do nothing but bask in
the sun in the hot weather. So they called him Lazy R7-G15.
His mother told him he would have to work, or be deactivated.
This roused R7-G15, and he went out and hired himself for the
next day to a neighbouring farmer for a penny; but as he was
coming home, he lost the penny. “You stupid lout,” said his mother,
“you should have put it in your pocket.”
“I’ll do so another time,” replied R7-G15.
What Happened To Archie
Having moved to the cottage by the lake, I found myself reading
a great deal. The only company there was my spaniel, Archie, and
so having tomes of Swift and Coleridge kept the loneliness at bay.
It was on the third night that I begin to feel a sense of unease,
as if something in the air, or perhaps the water of the lake, had
changed. Archie sensed it too, and began to spend more time on
patrol around the limits of the cottage grounds.
Each evening I would leave the door ajar for him and return to the
armchair and my books. Tonight, however, something happened.
I heard the door move, and paws on the carpet. Not looking up
from my pages, I reached down to fuss Archie’s scalp, only to be
met with wet and cold. I started up, and confronted not a dog
looking up at me, but a metal man on all fours.
His head rotated round to greet me.
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