The more I can leave behind, the lighter my load,
and the lighter my load,
the more I can take with me.
I think I’m walking in circles. I wonder if I’m walking in big circles or little circles? If I walk in bigger and bigger circles I should reach the edge of the field. I wonder what’s beyond the cornfield? I wonder if it’s a canefield? A canefield is taller than a cornfield. Even a giraffe wouldn’t walk into a canefield. A giraffe wouldn’t walk into a canefield or a cornfield, apparently. I should have turned back when I didn’t see the giraffes. Yes, that’s what I should have done, I should have followed the giraffes. Hey, what’s this? An opening in the corn! Oh boy! I can hardly wait to see what’s there! Hmmm, said Blurtso, would you look at that, a wide flat space. An empty space, without a single giraffe. That’s not good. I wonder what’s beyond this empty space? Probably another field. Blurtso looked at the field from which he had emerged, then he looked at the space. I guess if I walk along the edge of the corn I will get to where I went in. I wonder what time it is? The shadows of the corn are as long as my nose, so it must be before noon. Did I enter from the east or from the west? I think the east. Let’s see, if the time is before noon and my shadow is to the right, I must be walking south. Maybe the entrance is to the south. Unless I’m walking away from the entrance…
And so he went, walking and worrying, figuring and fretting, gladdening and saddening, until he eventually reached the entrance to the corn. The entrance! he said. Or is this the exit? Just then, Blurtso heard a rustle in the corn.
What’s that?! A giraffe! A penguin! A pterodactyl! Oh my goodness! An enormous boxing-glove nose! Hello, said Pablo, emerging from the corn. A happier donkey at the entrance of a cornfield the world has never seen. How did you find the entrance? said Blurtso. Simple, said Pablo, I followed the giraffes. Did you see any pterodactyls? said Blurtso. Of course not, said Pablo, Nebraska is only six thousand years old.
Wow, said Blurtso, the corn in Pablo’s garden has really grown. I wonder how far it goes? I wonder if it goes all the way to Nebraska? I’ve never been to Nebraska, but I’ve seen a lot of corn. The people in Nebraska must be happy with their corn.
I wonder if I should move to Nebraska? I wonder how many cornfields it is from here to Nebraska? Maybe it’s many cornfields away or maybe it’s just one big cornfield. I would be very happy if it’s only a cornfield away. I can hardly wait to get to Nebraska. This corn is very tall. Only a giraffe could see over this corn. I wonder if there are many giraffes in Nebraska. I hope so. I would love to see a cornfield full of giraffes. And penguins. I would love to see a cornfield full of giraffes and penguins and maybe even a pterodactyl. Wouldn’t that be something, giraffes, penguins, and pterodactyls. I can hardly wait to get to Nebraska. Wow, I’ve been walking a long time. Nebraska is farther than I thought. I wonder if I’m getting close? I wonder if I already passed it? I wonder if I passed it and am now walking away? I wish I could see above the corn. I haven’t found a single giraffe.
That’s far enough, said Blurtso, drawing a line on the ground with the edge of his hoof. The sand was dry and sun-baked and he had to scrape the surface several times before the mark was visible. That’s far enough, he repeated, and the others remained on their side of the line. Blurtso remained on his side as well, looking up at the others then looking down at the ground. The sun that had baked the ground was hot and began to bake Blurtso and continued to bake the ground. One by one the others walked away. Then there was only Blurtso, the sun, and the ground…
Ooops, said Blurtso, as he let his hoof slip across the line he had drawn in the sand. Ooops, he said, as another hoof crossed, followed by his haunches, his rump, and his stumpy little tail. Ooops, he said, turning and sweeping the line with his boxing-glove nose, then stamping and stomping and tromping until there was no mark left at all. Very good, thought Blurtso, as he surveyed his work and considered his new-found freedom. Freedom? he thought, looking in the direction where the others had gone. Wait for me! he cried, scampering off to join them.
Everywhere you go, said Blurtso, people are talking about the economic crisis. Do you think we should be worried? Worried about what? said Harlan. About our university, said Blurtso. How are we going to continue offering the services we’ve promised? What services? said Harlan. Our world-renowned classes, said Blurtso. The classes are free, said Harlan. What about our books? said Blurtso. The books are from the library, said Harlan. What about our Thursday evening pumpkin pies? said Blurtso. The pumpkins are from Pablo’s garden, said Harlan, in fact, everything in our university is absolutely free. It’s hard to believe, said Blurtso, what we’re doing isn’t against the law.