Elemoont/Chapter 16

tells how Martian Mosquito guessed a riddle

However, what does our Mosquito do? You remember we left him in the Lunar Labyrinth to guess a difficult riddle:


If the Mosquito does not guess what a symbol he has to write instead of the question mark, he will stay in front of the wall of brick covered with a mirror. The Mosquito's own reflection blocked his way up. It was not simply a reflection, but it was a spell bound reflection. "Why spell bound?" thought the Mosquito, "When in the morning I cleaned my proboscis and looked at myself in the looking–glass, I saw my own reflection but not a spell bound one. However, here it is spell bound! Maybe I must bang it on his head well and truly?"

"You only attempt do it!" said quickly the reflected Mosquito, "Only attempt!"

"Well, I shall not to fight with him," became thought further the Martian Mosquito. "Maybe he is stronger, and he himself banged me on my head well and truly? In the end, it is not so important is the reflection spell bound or not. It is important to guess the riddle, and I need a prompting…He said that…"

"You had said that you are the prompting yourself?" he addressed the Reflected Mosquito. The last nodded with an air of importance.

"But can you simply tell me the answer?" asked the Mosquito.

"I want to do it very much," said the Reflected Mosquito, "But lunatics–sorcerers had cast a spell on me so that if by chance I tell you the answer I'll immediately burst."

"How terrible!" the Mosquito was terrified.

"Yes! Lunatics are awfully insidious creatures," confirmed the Reflected Mosquito and the Martian Mosquito fell to thinking. "What must I do?" asked he again.

"You must guess the riddle," was the answer.

"It's easy to say! But how can I do it?" exclaimed the Mosquito.

The Reflected Mosquito looked at him with a pity, "Use your loaf! Or "Stir your brains!" as Russian mosquitoes say in those cases" he said.

"But I can't stir even my ears! They are too small for it," said the Martian Mosquito.

The Reflected Mosquito gave a deep sigh, "We have received some hundred letters from our readers and all they had guessed the riddle right. Not each our reader can stir his ears, but everybody can stir their brains."

"Agreed, agreed," muttered the Martian Mosquito. "I'm only a personage. What can you expect from me? May I peep in one of those letters? Show me at least an edge of a page!"

The Reflected Mosquito got an envelope and took out of it a sheet of paper folded in four and adorned with a big violet blot. Then he turned back a corner of the sheet and showed it to the Martian Mosquito. "The Martian Mosquito is a fool," was written there.

"What nonsense!" the Martian Mosquito was angry "Show me another corner!"

"I can't do it!"

"Are you burst?"


"Maybe, there is written that the Reflected Mosquito also is a fool?"

"Nothing of the kind!" exclaimed the Reflected Mosquito.

"Then what is written there?"

"I don't tell you. I'll burst."

"It is written there…" muttered the Simply Martian Mosquito, "It is written there that the Reflected Mosquito…He is only the reflection! It is the prompt! Of course! These signs contain reflections!" and Martian Mosquito struck his forehead with all his strength. "Don't get excited. You can make a bump," said the Reflected Mosquito and the Simple Mosquito looked at the signs and saw:


"Now I have guessed!" exclaimed he and quickly wrote a sign that must stand instead of the question mark:


The signs flashed and disappeared. "I'll disappear also," said the Reflected Mosquito. It was pleasantly to meet you. Although it was found that non–reflected mosquitoes were rather stupid." The Martian Mosquito's eyes immediately flashed bright electric light. "Stupid?!" exclaimed he and thought, "However, I ought to deal him well and truly!"

"I especially anger you. A languid and good–natured Mosquito cannot frighten lunatics away. You must remember that the lunatics–sorcerers never be frightened. They only pretend to be frightened."

"And how can I distinguish the lunatics–sorcerers from ordinary lunatics?" asked the Martian Mosquito.

"I can't tell you about it. I'll burst."

"You will disappear in a moment all the same. Only one small distinguishing! Say something!"

"No distinguishing," followed the answer and the Reflected Mosquito burst silently like a soap–bubble

"Maybe he disappeared in that way? I'll ask anybody later on," the Mosquito desided, "now I must help the Hunter out of a difficulty. Lunatics probably force the Hunter to learn all twenty-five million chapters of their history! I must hurry!"

With those words, Martian Mosquito rushed into opened passage.