Today is Tuesday, July 24. Dia de San Juan, which I’ve written about before. There are no clouds in the sky and the dew point is in the 20s. It appears that there will be no rain today. Fooey.
Once upon a time, in a far away desert land, there was a city of white-washed sandstone that sat on a clear blue bay. In this city there was a great library. And in this library there were one thousand scholars, who reviewed all of the scrolls, clay tablets, parchment sheets, carvings, and paintings that the library contained. The scholars also traveled all around the known world collecting tales and information. Above the scholars, in the hierarchy of the great library, were the librarians. The librarians cataloged all of the information contained in the library. They knew where each piece was, what was on each piece, how to find the smallest bit of information, and who gathered or wrote the bit. The librarians were the brain of the library. Above the librarians were the sages. It was found that scholars and librarians were fallible, as they were mere mortals. If a librarian died before passing his or her information on to another librarian, items would be lost. Not necessarily physically lost (although the great library did have thefts from time to time) but lost because no one knew where the items would be – having only been known by that particular librarian. So the then the librarians would have to spend time in the labyrinth-like interior of the great library trying to remap what the dead librarian knew. The sages decided that this was not acceptable and decided to find a back-up system. This back-up system was created with magic and engineering, for steam power and heat conversion were not unknown to the people of this time. One of the amazing magic items that the sages of the great library was the Book of Answers. It contained the answers to all of life’s riddles. For example, it could tell a man how to understand an woman, or vice versa. Or tell the reader why the gods let bad things happen to good people.
The library represented knowledge, and knowledge was power. This book was very powerful, and had to be regulated in some manner. So it had a spell on it. Depending on the knowledge the reader was seeking, he or she had to read the book under specific lighting, say the light of the first full moon of spring, in specific conditions; for example, only a woman born of a king could read certain passages. The reader could read the information aloud, this passing it on to other people, so persons of special birth or special talents were in high demand. If the reader did not read the entirety of the information that they were seeking, say if they stopped reading to get a sip of water, or stopped to look up an unfamiliar word, or if they just had to take a bio-break, the book would close and the information would be no longer available. When the reader opened the book again, the words would be gibberish. The reader would have to reapply to the sages of the library and then wait for the next favorable conditions to read the Book of Answers. And of course, the rule still applied. One had to read the information in its entirety because the sages didn’t want people going off with just half of the information – because that breads bad communication, and when seeking answer to the big questions of life, one should really have all the information. And after a reader accomplished the daunting task of reading all there was to know about the subject, the sages considered giving a test. If the reader didn’t pass the “knowledge” test, then the knowledge would be removed from the reader’s memory.
No one has taken the test, as no one has ever managed to read an entire entry.
Time passed the the city fell, as cities do, and the library was destroyed. The sages hid the Book of Answers.
Adventurers and desperate folk still seek the book, for the questions still remain.
Thanks to Johari for this spark. She says if she’d had access to such a book, she’d pack a cooler with food and water, and park herself in the bathroom.