Creatures of the Moon
There I met the wise man, mumbling upon his stones. “I have had a vision,” he informed me, “of the creatures who live on the moon.” He raised his face to that brilliant globe, whose startling silver suffused the harbor with coruscating prickles.
“I saw there creatures, female all their lives when, every 300 rotations about the earth, they all of them, due to some celestial influence, are transformed into males.”
“How, then,” I interpolated, “do they breed and continue to exist?”
“Ah!” he said. “That is the wonder. Because, you see, the same catalyst that causes this change brings about the growth of a certain green lichen-like substance that grows upon the surface of the moon rocks, even as all other sustenance decays. The creatures are forced therefore to eat this substance, whose peculiar power thrusts them back in time. Thus, these creatures, now male, come upon themselves as female. They mate and directly after this they die. Ten moon circulations later, these females hatch crystalline eggs, which they bury in the gray soil. When, 310 lunar rotations later, all of the creatures have perished, these eggs hatch, new creatures emerge, and the cycle begins yet again.”
“And,” I exclaimed, “is this the sum total of their lives?”
“No,” replied the sage, “for they leave behind tablets of wondrous verse, and each new generation adds to the trove of the previous generation. And thus they have filled the Sea of Waves with the peculiar script, carved by their diamond-like claws upon the body of the moon itself.”
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Yaacov David Shulman