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Tales From Beyond The Enchanted Prong Hills

The Star That Lost Its Twinkle


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Far out in the inky blackness of space lies a curious constellation of stars known as the Earwig. The stars of the Earwig live a happy and contented life twinkling brightly in the night sky for the delight of stargazers and the benefit of mariners. Such mariners are the crew of the fishing vessel Cheese Grater which trawls the hazardous waters of Nair Cruble in the forbidding seas of Zib. The skipper was a wily old sea dog called Captain Sausage who had an unusual admiration of other people's shoe laces but had always been unable to find any that suited his own hand stitched Italian brogues. Nevertheless, he was an experienced navigator of many years and he relied upon the stars to avoid foundering upon the treacherous rocks of Scoo Nada which had claimed the lives of many ships whose captains were not quite so concerned about their crews' shoelaces. Captain Sausage would always pay great credence to the Earwig as he charted his way through the fishing grounds, for not only did it indicate the safe passage through the turbulent currents around Scoo Nada but the pattern of its stars spelled out, in the local seafaring language, the word snippet which was deemed to be lucky when on a starboard tack.

One day, the crew had caught a particularly large haul of herring and the good ship Cheese Grater was heading back to its home port of Odge. Evening had descended and Captain Sausage was in his cabin studying his charts and plotting the ship's course for the night watch. That completed, he sat back for a smoke of his pipe with his sextant at the ready for the first sign of the stars.
However, all was not well in the heavens. Darkness descended and the stars awoke to commence their nocturnal sojourn across the firmament. As the Earwig crawled its way over the eastern horizon it was apparent that something was awry. One of its stars was not twinkling! The stricken star was a young star called Jamie 'though astronomers were more inclined to call it Caprioni 354 Epsilon Major, but since they think that a star's twinkling is caused by turbulence in the earth's upper atmosphere who are they to judge?
Naturally, Jamie's colleagues were a little concerned about their friend's poor state of health.
"Evening, Jamie," greeted his nearest neighbour Henry, "Where's your twinkle?"
"Dunno, I just can't seem to manage it tonight," said Jamie, visibly distressed.
"Oh dear," said Henry, "You'd better get it sorted out before Gertrude notices."
But it was too late. Gertrude, the eldest star and the leader of the Earwig, had spotted that one of her underlings was not pulling his weight.
"Jamie!" she snapped, "If you're not bright and twinkling pretty damned smartish then you're out of this constellation."
"But, I can't!" sobbed Jamie, "I've tried and I've tried but I just can't twinkle anymore."

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The Star That Lost Its Twinkle
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