The Enchanted Duplicator

by Walter Willis and Bob Shaw

Chapter 6

In Which Jophan Ventures Into The Jungle Of Inexperience

Jophan soon found that the firmness of the ground was due to the presence of mighty trees whose roots spread through the soil, making it a secure if difficult surface to walk on. He learned that these great trees had flourished in Fandom since time immemorial, and were called Abydix, Roneoaks and Ellam trees. There was another lengthy name beginning with "G" which he was unable to remember.

Jophan had travelled but a short time over this difficult but promising path when to his alarm he found himself confronted with a dense jungle. This, the Jungle of Inexperience, had not been visible from the mountains, but apparently it stretched all round Fandom and there was no alternative but to try to find a way through it. Jophan plunged bravely into the undergrowth, but the numerous pitfalls and creepers so impeded his progress that he was eventually brought to a standstill.

As he paused to regain his strength he was startled to hear a heart-rending scream close by. He forced his way through a dense thicket and found himself on the brink of a mighty torrent which roared through the jungle in the direction of the Hekto Swamp. The waters that leaped and churned along its course were as black as ink, and Jophan realised that this was the notorious Torrent of Overinking. He was horrified to see that some yards downstream a Neofan, doubtless the one that had screamed, was being borne away by the flood.

The unfortunate Neofan's cries for help wrenched Jophan's heart, and he ran as quickly as he could along the bank in an effort to reach him. It was plain, however, that the waters were too swift-moving, and he soon fell behind. The calamities that Jophan had seen overtake his fellow-travellers began to weigh heavily upon his spirit.

He was, therefore, pleasantly surprised to see on rounding a bend that a number of people were gathered on the bank and had just succeeded in rescuing the Neofan from the clutches of the torrent. On coming closer he saw that there was a huge pile of sheets close to the edge and that the rescuers had knotted these together and lowered them to the drowning Neofan.

He discovered later that the sheets which had been used to rescue the Neofan from the Torrent of Overinking were known as Slip Sheets.

Jophan joined the group and they all set off down the bank, having agreed that it would be better to avoid the Torrent of Overinking altogether rather than depend on Slip Sheets to rescue them. Further along, however, they were overjoyed to discover a bridge across the torrent. Laughing happily they crossed the bridge which bore an inscription proclaiming it to be the Bridge of Moderation, and set foot on the other side in the confident hope that their troubles were now at an end.

However, it seemed that they were not yet at the end of the jungle. Indeed, as they progressed, the path became more and more difficult to follow, as it wound its way among overhanging vines and creepers, all of a sickly light green aspect which reflected itself in the wan faces of the travellers. This unnatural pallor was caused by the fact that it was very rarely indeed that a cheering ray of sunlight ever penetrated the converging vegetation.

It was in these unpleasant surroundings that darkness finally forced the band of Neofen to pitch camp for the night. -

This version is from GHUTENBERG'S BHIBLE -- Section 7-b (Appendix B) -- Copyright © 1994 by Greg Hills. All rights reserved.

All rights to the original material is retained by the authors.