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Little Miss Liberty
    Steven O'Dell
The Christmas Dog
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Barnaby and the Zilligong
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    Steven O'Dell
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    Ch. 44 The Wisdom of the Wise
Submitted by Steven ODell on 16 June 2012 - 5:56pm. | | | | | |

Barnaby and the Zilligong
(C) 2012 Steven G. O'Dell

Barnaby Brundage set out one Fall,
sailing his Yim in a raging squall.
He had no fear, for he needed to know
the answer to questions that bothered him so.
He'd tried all he could and didn't succeed,
but wouldn't give up; he'd find it indeed.

When all in his town had thought and were wrong,
they said, "No one knows but the Zilligong."
For the Zilligong had brains that made him real smart,
but far more than that, the Zilligong had heart.
And if answers were needed, then everyone knew
the Zilligong had them, they knew that was true.

As no one in town could answer his query,
young Barnaby left in somewhat a hurry.
He packed only things that would get him to where
the answers must lie, to hear if he dare,
for sometimes the truth will hurt, as he knew,
but nothing but truth for Barnaby would do.

The question he had that weighed on him heavy
was why there's no peace, when all seemed so ready.
They all said they wanted to be happy with neighbors,
but it seemed now and then they resorted to sabers.
And no one had peace while such ruckus ensued,
but no one had answers on just what to do.

The Zilligong had, the story was told,
once lived among them, through heat and through cold.
And everyone sought him for answers to questions
that they could not answer, to learn all the lessons
that made life more happy when folks live together,
that made them smile in all kinds of weather.

At some point in the past, and no one knew why,
the Zilligong packed bags, then waved them goodbye.
He said not a word as he went on his way,
and no one knew how long or where he would stay.
But one thing was sure, they all worried now,
when questions were quested, who would answer and how?

So Barnaby Brundage, alone and determined,
set out on his mission, through whales or through vermin.
His Yim sometimes rose and his Yim sometimes fell
on waves of the sea that had fishy smell.
The fishes jumped and the fishes splashed
alongside the Yim they dithered and dashed.

And sometime about the third day, he guessed,
Barnaby's Yim with a bump came to rest
and Barnaby woke to the sound of waves,
both crashing and bashing, but knew he was safe.
And looking up high to the mountain ahead,
he thought on the climb with some sense of dread.

But Barnaby knew, at the top of that peak
lay the answers that he had come so far to seek.
The Zilligong lived there, sure as could be
and the Zilligong, after all, was whom he must see.
With a huff and a puff, the boy pushed forth
and climbed where he could, for all he was worth.

His climbing was long and his climbing was hard,
but Barnaby knew he must push on, though tired.
More puffing and huffing and wheezing and more.
He had no idea what ahead lay in store.
But he knew if he stopped then he never would know
the answer he'd traveled so far to take home.

When Barnaby thought he could just go no further,
he gathered his wits, renewed all his fervor,
and taking a breath, gathered courage to climb
the last several feet to get there in time.
The sun was just rising, he'd climbed all the night,
and Barnaby Brundage was near out of fight.

And as the boy fell in a heap at the top,
stopping 'cause this was where he must stop,
gasping and groaning from the strain of the climb
he'd made getting here, with no thought in mind
but asking for truth he knew must be near;
he'd conquered his worries, his shyness and fear.

And as he lay there, too weak yet to move,
he felt a soft touch on his shoulder, in truth.
He lifted his gaze to behold such a face
as never he'd seen in all his young days.
A word hit his ear that calmed his concern--
"Welcome, my boy! Some answers you've earned."

Barnaby knew that this must be
the Zilligong that he'd come to see.
The Zilligong gave him some water, some bread,
then patted the young boy on top of his head.
"Just rest here a moment, you'll need it indeed,
and later we'll talk of the answers you seek."

"Yes, I do need to rest here awhile."
"Then please do," the Zilligong said with a smile.
So Barnaby sat and he drank and he ate
just as much as he could from his overstuffed plate
and when he had eaten and drunk to his fill,
he lay back and slept as exhausted boys will.

When Barnaby woke he heard music so sweet
that his ears wiggled happily as he tapped his feet.
The Zilligong played on a Tweedler and Frump,
squeezing on one while the other he pumped.
It made the boy sing at the top of his lungs
and dancing and twirling, he jumped and he spun.

When at last all the music had faded away,
Barnaby found himself having to say,
"I've never heard music that sounded so nice.
It made my heart leap twice as high as the sky.
Did you play such music when living in town
or learn it up here, not when you were down?"

"I did it down there, but the folks wouldn't dance.
I did it each day and I gave them the chance,
but they didn't hear me on Tweedler and Frump.
They went on their way, looking down in the dump.
Watching their sadness just made me sad, too,
so moving up here was the wise thing to do."

Barnaby looked at the ground as a tear
escaped from his eye and it fell very near.
Hitting the ground and soaking in fast,
he knew in an instant that sadness can't last,
for where it had fallen, so teary and wet,
up sprang a Borple plant, radiant and red.

Surprise covered Barnaby, from head to toe,
"A tear hits the gound and Borple plants grow?"
"Oh, yes," said the Zilligong, dancing for glee,
"It means that you're heart's like the one that's in me.
It means you have wisdom, your answers are sure,
for deep in your heart lies just what will cure."

"But I'm just a boy, so how could I know
the answers they need and which way to go?"
The Zilligong gently touched Barnaby's cheek.
"The fact that you ask shows wisdom, you see.
The others don't ask, they just carry on,
ignoring the questions 'til wisdom is gone."

Barnaby now scratched his head for a few,
he wrinkled his brow, thinking, 'What shall I do?'
Then something inside him clicked nearly out loud
and Barnaby smile, then laughed and was proud.
"Because I just ask, it leads me to learn,
'cause I never let opportunity burn!"

"That's right!" said the Zilligong, proud as can be.
"Now you have wisdom, now you can see.
The fact that you ask will cause you to find
the answers you seek, expanding your mind.
The others don't ask, so how can they know
when they won't go looking--they won't; oh, no-no!"

And with that the Zilligong stood up so tall
on his toes so high the boy thought he might fall.
He reached for the sky and he smiled at the sun
in a way that told the boy it was just fun.
And dancing in circles, then jumping in glee,
the Zilligong said, "Now you can be me."

"What?!" cried the boy, "How can that be?
I can't be you and you can't be me."
The Zilligong lifted the boy in a hug,
he turned 'round in circles, then reached for a jug.
"Let's drink now some Gurka juice. You'll love it, I'm sure.
It's great with the Borple fruit and this juice is pure."

And Barnaby said, as he turned up his snout,
"Won't you please tell me what this is about?"
The Zilligong looked down with love in his eyes,
a look that was deep and he couldn't disguise.
"Zilligong isn't a name, don't you see?
It is a title; that's how you'll be me."

"I'll be the Zilligong? That's what you mean?"
A nod and pat, "My boy, now you've seen.
I've been here so long and no one has come
to ask me for answers. They want to stay dumb.
And even a Zilligong needs now and then
a little vacation to make some new friends."

Now Barnaby grinned as he thought of the honor.
It wasn't so much as he'd thought--it's not power.
It's loving and learning throughout your whole life,
and sharing with others, with husbands and wives,
with children who ask all the questions they can,
so they can grow up into women and men.

"I'm proud to accept your humble request.
I promise you this, that I'll do my best.
I'll even learn to play Tweedler and Frump,
to keep other folks from feeling down in the dump."
The Zilligong stood and unzipped his disguise
and revealed to the boy a surprise to his eyes.

"I'm not what I seem, young Barnaby boy.
I've been here so long that I almost lost joy.
As you see I'm a man, which is what you will be.
I was once you and now you'll be me.
I'll tell you my name, write it down and don't lose.
The Zilligong really is ol' Doctor Seuss."

And Barnaby said, "Well, I've heard of you!
You're kind and you're funny, you're wonderful, too.
Your stories were read to me while I was small
and now that I'm older, I love them all."
The Zilligong smiled for at last he was sure
that his legacy was safe and his tales would endure.

And there is the story, although it's quite long,
how Barnaby Brundage learned a new song,
and got a new name and made a new friend
and started a mission he knew wouldn't end,
for if there were even one girl or one boy
who wanted to learn, then there'd always be joy.

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Submitted by Steven ODell on 7 July 2007 - 11:15pm. | |

I have this problem that I can't seem to get rid of--I have a bizarre sense of humor that dogs me everywhere I go. It followed me here, too, I'm afraid. Enjoy.

=== + === + === + === + === + === + === + === + === + ===

Aimless Wanderings

Observations on a Totally Mad World
from the Guy Who Leads The Pack.

Steven G. O’Dell

© 2007


Table of Contents (You are Here) P.2

Warning P. 3

Home Ground (Pleasantly Bizarre) P. 4

The Journey Begins P. 6

Not On Solid Ground P. 12

Outlandish Reasoning P. 19

Uncharted Territory P. 23

Aimless Wanderings P. 29

Full Circuit (Home and Gone Again) P. 46

Astounding Return P. 53

Thanks (And an amazing freebie) P. 54


The contents of this book grow progressively more bizarre as they go on. You could start laughing at any time.


» 1 comment
Submitted by Raymond L. Step... on 10 March 2007 - 5:48pm. | | |

As the group continued on their journey, the woods gave way to more of a plains topography. After quite a time, they noticed that the grass was getting taller and taller. The ground began to be damp, then wetter and wetter.
“Howwwlll!” They all looked at each other, and shook their heads. Whatever made the noise was a long way off, and

nothing to worry about. The grass turned to reeds, and grew so tall they couldn’t see over the top of it. “Howwlll!”
Was it their imagination, or was the sound getting nearer.

“Hey Swoop,” Slayer called, “why don’t you pop up to see where we are?”

“OK, Slayer, just give me a boost so I can get my wings working above this stuff.”

Slayer and Dragon both crouched down, while Swoop climbed up and put a foot on each of their heads. At the count of three, both raised up and jumped as high as they could from their strong hind legs. Swoop judged their jump, and just as they reached their highest point, he too jumped as high as he could, and began to flap his huge leathery wings, launching himself into flight. Higher and higher he circled.

High above their heads now, Swoop called down to them. “Hey, there’s a river up ahead. You’re on the edges of a swamp.”

“Howwlll.” Much closer now.

“Aieeyah! I’m sinking!” Dragon shouted. “Help me!”

Buzzy grabbed one of Dragons flailing forelegs with his beak, and leaning back, digging his feet in, pulled with all his might. Slayer caught the other leg with his front feet and mouth, and did the some. Swoop came low enough to grab one of Dragon’s horns, and put forth all his mighty wings could muster. Dragon pulled free so suddenly, Swoop, Buzzy and Slayer went flying through the air, not a controlled
flight either, they landed with a bump, thump, and a rolling thud.

Dragon was about to ask how everybody was, but was interrupted by a “Howwll!”

“What is that!” Dragon was pretty worried now.

“It’s something coming to eat us!” said Buzzy.


Boy that did it, they were so scared, they just started running; but, with quicksand in one direction, and the river in another, and not exactly sure which direction they just came from; all they did was get in each other’s way, and trip one another. “Howwll!” Now all they could do, was huddle together, heads down, and rear ends up and out. Rustle, rustle, rustle, Dragon just couldn’t stand it. He raised one fearful, half-closed eye to peer over Slayer’s already raised collar. “Look!”

Slayer jumped and turned on his rear legs, mouth wide, and collar flaring. He was ready to try his darndest to scare anything that might be there. Buzzy sat up, and put his fearful beak forward. Dragon started snorting and whuffing, trying to get his fire going. Where was swoop? Had he already been eaten? Finally they spied the little pterodactyl. He had managed to get airborne, but was flying
very erratically. Oh, no, they feared he had been mortally wounded. The beast must have hurt him.

Just then, another rustle and a movement in the reeds caught their attention. As they watched, horrified, a little black nose button appeared, then a grey and brown muzzle, two small red eyes, and two pointed brown ears. “Please don’t hurt me,” it said.

“H-h-h-hurt you,” Buzzy said, “we thought you were going to eat us.”

“Was that terrible noise you?”

“Uh, I guess so, I mean, I was trying to warn you about the quicksand. I have been following you, but I was afraid to get too close. What’s the matter with him?”

All of them looked around, Swoop was coming in for a landing, but his beak was wide open, and his head was tilted back. His flight was so jerky, he could hardly maintain flight. Crash! Tumble, bump, Swoop crashed into Dragon, bounced over Buzzy, and came to rest upside down on Slayer’s tail. What! He was laughing so hard he couldn’t even roll over. “Oh, boy! You guys sure were funny. That was a show worth watching, and I had the best seat possible. I thought you were all going to turn absolutely white you were so

scared. You had me laughing so hard I almost flew upside down. Hahahahaha, it was great.”

Pretty soon they were all laughing, the comical picture Swoop drew for them overcame all their past fears.

“I’m Slayer.” “Dragon”, “Buzzy”, “Hahaha Swoop here,”

“And I’m Howl,” said the newcomer, shyly. “Can I play with you?”

“Sure,” said Slayer, “only we’re on an exploring patrol. We’re trying to keep Booploop safe from weird critters.”

“Yup,” added Buzzy, “say, do you know the way out of this mess?”

“Sure,” said Howl,” just follow me.”

They all agreed that Howl made a great point-man; of course, it helped that he knew his own neighborhood like the tip of his bushy tail. Soon Howl had them back on solid ground. “Howl, that was marvelous,” Dragon had been thoroughly impressed. “I didn’t think I would ever get out of that terrible, sinking place.”

“Say, Howl, I don’t suppose you know where we could possibly get a bite to eat.” Buzzy was looking positively famished.

“Why, sure, you should have said you were hungry. Just a little way further, up at the base of the mountain, there was a rockslide. There are a lot of bugs, mice, beehives and stuff in the trees the rocks knocked down. I go there all the time.”

Although it seemed like a long time to them, the brave little self-appointed patrol soon reached the slide area; just as Howl had promised, there was food in plenty, for all their tastes.

Before long, their tummies were bulging, and yet they kept on eating. Finally Dragon looked up from the tasty honey-comb he was feasting on. There was Howl, flat on his back, four paws towards the sky.

“Howl!” Dragon cried.

“Ooooh!” My tummy is so full, I can’t roll over.”

As he looked around at each of each member of the patrol, he saw that everyone was in much the same state. Buzzy was propped against a fallen log, extended stomach resting on the ground between his feet, a large grub still dangled from his beak. Swoop had managed to cling to tree branch with his Talons, and was hanging upside down to relieve the pressure, but in so doing, was in danger of throwing up the whole repast he had indulged in. Slayer was
suspended also, but with his forelegs draped over a limb, and his back legs on top of a rock. His belly looked like a swing in between. He was certain no matter what happened right now, he wouldn’t be able to get his magnificent collar to raise even an inch. Dragon, seeing the state his friends were in, finally succumbed, curled his tail for a hollow cushion, and, carefully arranging his swollen abdomen in the center, allowed front and hind legs to hang over the outside, and almost immediately fell asleep.

Ah, pain! Something must have him in its mouth or claws. Slayer couldn’t decide whether to risk opening an eye, or continue to feign sleep. Finally unable to stand the pain any longer, he risked opening his left eye just a crack. Nothing there that he could see. Cautiously he opened both eyes, and slowly looked around. He could hardly believe it, the pain was caused by the awkward position he had arranged himself in. Then he noticed that the sun was in the East instead of the West. He must have been dangling there for about twelve hours. Slowly and sorely he managed to get his powerful hindlegs under him, and on the edge of the rock. Mustering all his will-power, he readied himself, then with a tremendous push, launched himself over the limb an into a forward somersault.

“Yeow!” Quickly rolling upright, he found he had rolled right into buzzy, squashing him against the log. In spite of the pain, he jumped up and helped buzzy to his feet.

“Wow, What a wake-up,” Buzzy gasped for air.

“Hey, what’s all the noise? What’s going on?” Dragon uncurled his tail and stood up, looking all around, eyes finally resting on Slayer and Buzzy.

“Oh, just trying to get the kinks out.” Said Buzzy.

Chuck, flap, ouch Swoop released his grip on the limb.

“Boy, it’s a good thing he has a hard head,” said Slayer. “Hey, where’s Howl?”

The little wolf was used to the rockfall abundance, and recovered quicker than the others. He had spent several hours scouting around while the others were still asleep. “Hoowl! Hey you lazy-bones, it’s about time you were waking up. What’s the plan? Do you want to continue along the mountain, or go down into the valley?”

Almost automatically, all heads swiveled to look down off the mountain bench. The sight sent a chill through each. There was the valley floor far below, There was the river, winding its way through the plain; marshy areas (sometimes with quicksand) extending outwards sometimes for miles. Sometimes thickets and clumps of small trees grew
right down to the water’s edge. In one place, they could see what appeared to be a dangerous whirlpool, as if the very river itself was being eaten by some gigantic monster. Mists arose from many areas of the plain, and spread out to cover much of the lowest parts of the valley. In the distance, they could see small specks moving slowly; if they could only realize just how fast these specks were really moving. It’s probably a good thing they couldn’t see what the specks actually were, and the carnage that accompanied the everyday food chain process of the valley. Their very size would guarantee them being almost at the very bottom of that chain.

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