There is, to begin with, possibility.

Then I spot him, traveling towards the tractor at one foot per minute, a turtle snug inside a richly embellished box. The turtle I have been looking for all week.

Turtle by the barn.

Seeking shelter from the storm?

He sees me, but he doesn’t take me very seriously. He keeps the nose extended by which he beat Achilles across the line, so many races ago. Been here longer than you, he says, and I know things you are not equipped to know.

Looking at me.

Looking at you.

I record the hieroglyphics, of course, for reading later. I’m on to him, the little hardshell walking billboard.


Ready to take the weight.

He holds me with his glittering eye. I could put you on your back, I say, and make a soup tureen of your shell. You may now go, he says,  commit less harm today than yesterday. I’m expecting the world will be on my back soon enough. Was that not, I ask, exactly what I proposed a moment ago? Gravity is established law. You’re annoying me, he says, go on, I’ve prepared your way; but do not imagine I will forget about the soup tureen.

Your turn.

Red eye.

The turtle is right, I see that now. The path ahead beckons to me. We’d better both get moving, each at his native pace.

Stone crop.

The way in.

Follow the stone crop along the stones, past the creeping thyme, then right to the Peace Rose, unseen.

White as snow.

Wot, mai I not stonden here?

But first I’ll have to decide about the mushroom. I could cut it up for dinner, which would not at all hurt the underlying life-form, but might prove fatal for me. It is a great white, so it is pure, the poison unalloyed, toxin simple. Unless it is wholesome despite it’s shade. Dilemma, dilemma.

Quite white.

With divots from fairie golf.

Ah! She will know, the tiny red toad. And she will speak to me, unlike the mute ‘shroom.

And she does speak, says that a toadstool is wherever a toad sits, not separately extant; that I must not malign the turtles under the earth or the pillar of toads that holds up the dome of heaven; and that she suggests I should not eat the fungus. After I offer, and she accepts, a tiny thimble of a somewhat hoppy local ale, she tells me everything I must do tomorrow.

Resting at high alert.

Thumb toad at ready.

But that’s a story for another day.