Elemoont/Chapter 15

This chapter may be headed as "Short history of the Moon that was told Incautious Hunter–for–Elephants by a thousand lunatics in the cave which had the inscription over its entrance ‘Do not take care! No lunatics!’ "

Certainly, the Insidious Lunatic pretended. He knew perfectly well that the interplanetary left side was located on the left and the interplanetary right side was located on the right, he especially feigned that he did not understand anything. Because of the Insidious Lunatic's dissemblance, the Martian Mosquito (that was hurrying to help the Hunter) stopped to understand where the right side is and where is the left side and lost his way in the Lunar Labyrinth. Meanwhile the lunatics continued to mock the Hunter "Look! It is amusingly! He is the Hunter–for–Lunatics!" said some of them. "As if lunatics are some sort of ducks," added another laughing. "The lunatics are not ducks!" said in a didactical tone the thirds.

At last the Hunter was bored with it, "Though you are not ducks," threateningly said he taking his gun, "I don't see what you are the better than ducks!" and he took aim in the Insidious Lunatic.

"Stop–stop–stop–stop!" cried the Insidious Lunatic, "You have not to be so touchy! In addition, is it permissibly to compare us to any ducks? What did ducks accomplish in World History?"

"Ducks…?" muttered the Hunter. He tried to remember anything about impact of ducks on the World History but remembered nothing besides the fact that ‘Geese saved Rome’, but the geese are not the ducks?!

"Yes, the geese are not the ducks, and lunatics are not the ducks also," said the Insidious Lunatic who easily read the Hunter's thoughts, "Lunatics are lunatics! We have no any analogues all over the Universe. Now we will relate you our short history. Please…"

He made an inviting gesture and a lunatic looking like a scientist went out of the crowd. Under his arm he carried a thick book on the binding of which was written with silver characters: ‘Short course of True History of Lunatics from antiquity to contemporaneousness which is stated vividly and wittily in twenty–five millions chapters with a supplement of a milliard maps, schemes, and illustrations’. Learned Lunatic laid the book before him, cleared his throat, and said, "Maybe our, khm… respectable guest, khm… want to acquaint himself with the complete course of our history?"

"And how many chapters has that history?" was interested the Hunter.

"Nobody can count them!" proudly imparted the Learned Lunatic, "But it is known that they are as numerous as the specks of dust in Lunar seas."

"I don't want!" quickly said the Hunter remembering at once how many dust was rose when he fell with a flop on the Moon, "Twenty–five millions chapters! It's not a little."

The Learned Lunatic smirked, "Especially if it will be in prospect to learn them by heart," added he.

"By heart!" exclaimed the Hunter

"Yes. According to Lunatic's Law only that person may be on the Moon who knows perfectly all the History of Lunatics if only in a short account," explained the Learned Lunatic, "Or you will be offered to leave the Moon during twenty–four hours."

"I only dream of it!" said the Hunter, who was tired of being on the Moon, "But how can I do it?"

"It is a question," cut in the Insidious Lunatic, "A person who doesn't want to learn our history and cannot leave the Moon will be give to…"

"Lunar caterpillars!" said lunatics all together. "To put him at the mercy of them," added the Insidious Lunatic.

"What caterpillars?" asked the hunter who did not like all it.

"You'll know it soon," said the Insidious Lunatic, "You don't want to learn twenty–five millions chapters of our history which is stated vividly and wittily, is it?"

"I want," said the Hunter after some reflection. (Who knows what the lunar caterpillars are? Maybe they have sharp teeth?).

"Then we'll start," said the Learned Lunatic. "You must try to memorize all words for your well–being. So, there was no the Moon, but lunatics already existed…"

"Where did they exist if there was no the Moon?" asked the Hinter.

"Don't interrupt! Lunatics already existed but the Moon did not exist yet, and without the Moon, lunatics were feeling hurt. And then they had built the Moon for themselves."

"It's curious!" cheered up the Hunter," What did they make it of?"

"It's, possibly, of boards," angrily said the Learned Lunatic. "Although our science did not examine that question perfectly yet. Do you stop to interrupt me?"

"And where did they take the boards from?" meticulously asked the Hunter.

"This question we consider as non–scientific and only an ignoramus like you can ask such question!"

The Hunter wanted to take offence but remembered lunar caterpillars and decided to keep silence.

The Learned Lunatic continued: "They made the Moon for themselves and here they got into a pretty mess…"

Before he had time to finish his phrase, the vaults of the cave shook and vague rumble was heard from the depth of the labyrinth.