Elemoont/Chapter 5

in which the Hunter thinks he will avoid meeting lunatics, and lunatics consider him a simpleton.

You, of course, already have guessed that all lunatics from the entire Moon kept quiet exactly in that corridor where there was an inscription "Do not take care! No lunatics!" Those of you, who are able to imagine even if one real lunatic, know what they are cunning and treacherous creatures. And if it is not one lunatic but they are several lunatics? And if several and yet several and many, many times by several? Just such number of lunatics gathered in the cave where they must not be. Therefore, the Hunter only entered there immediately changed into an Incautious Hunter. Outwardly this metamorphosis was not visible. Unless the Incautious Hunter became to step not so with confidence and his expression grew abstracted and dreamy.

But if only that! Before than our Hunter became the Incautious Hunter, he, on account to his boast, grew of a simple Hunter to Hunter-for-Elephants. And now, therefore, he of a simple Hunter-for-Elephants (it is come what way) metamorphosed into an Incautious Hunter–for–Elephants. I have to say you secretly that there is not more dangerous job on the Moon than to be the Incautious Hunter–for–Elephants. But our Hunter did not know about it. "It's very well that there are not any lunatics here!" he mediated going deep into the labyrinth, "Who knows what are they? In any case it's better to avoid a meeting with them" and he carelessly stepped shining his way with his flashlight and whistling a gay melody.

"What's a simpleton! He is simple like a burdock!" enjoyed meanwhile the lunatics, that also were the telepathists and that way they knew very well all thoughts of the Incautious-Hunter-for-Elephants. Other lunatics, that were more experienced, thought, "He is a burdock undoubtedly. But he has a gun!" and they made sure they hide better. The third lunatics thought "The burdock with gun is going, well, what of that?" and they continued to engage in their affairs. And the forth lunatics…However, if I enumerate what thought all lunatics, then this enumeration will fill this entire book. Therefore I'll confine myself saying that there were lots and lots lunatics and all they thought diverse thoughts, but every lunatic with greatest pleasure mentioned the burdock mentally. That is why incredible number of burdocks instantly sprang up out in the Lunar Telepathic Space (it is such space where various thoughts rushed and collided), and Martian Mosquito flying at breakneck speed along the labyrinth entangled in them and fell down. Here it is necessary to observe that all Martian Mosquitoes also were telepathists. Earthly Mosquito would not notice anything and flew further, but Martian Mosquito was not an Earthly one. "What a misfortune?" thought he finding (mentally, of course) his way out of dense growths of burdocks. "And from where there are so many these usefulness plants? It’s real burdocks jungle!"

The Mosquito sat down and looked around (in his thoughts also). And he noticed that the burdocks were very strange ones. All they stepped carelessly whistling and shining their way with a flashlight. What is more, behind everybody's back (if only burdocks have backs) dangled a gun! "Whom do they resemble?" thought the Mosquito, "Of course, it's my colleague from the Earth! If he believed in the inscription and went along the corridor in which ostensibly there are no lunatics (and really they lived there), what did lunatics think about a simpleton?"

The Martian Mosquito himself was a tough customer. He flew through the entire Galaxy and was very experienced. That is why finding himself in the labyrinth; he flew into that corridor where it was written, "Take care! Wicked lunatics!" He rightly supposed that just here, of course, there were no any lunatics, neither wicked nor good. But he did not think that the Hunter, the first time getting into a space adventure, so lightly believed in lunatic's deception. "I don't think that my colleague is a such burdock!" in a fit of anger thought the Martian Mosquito, and then he saw as some more one burdock attached to long rank of stepping burdocks. Then the Mosquito remembered that he himself once swallowed the bait of Black Spiders from the Aldebaran Constellation, which usually pretended to be pots of salt cucumbers, and was ashamed of his thought.

«We all sometimes are burdocks," he rationally reasoned and flew to help his friend out of difficulty.