The Last Poet And The Robots by Abraham Merritt
First published in Fantasy Magazine, April 1934
Also published as "Rhythm Of The Spheres" (Thrilling Wonder Stories,
NARODNY, the Russian, sat in his laboratory. Narodny's
laboratory was a full mile under earth. It was one of a hundred caverns, some
small and some vast, cut out of the living rock. It was a realm of which he
was sole ruler. In certain caverns garlands of small suns shone; and in
others little moons waxed and waned over earth; and there was a cavern in
which reigned perpetual dawn, dewy, over lily beds and violets and roses; and
another in which crimson sunsets baptized in the blood of slain day dimmed
and died and were born again behind the sparkling curtains of the aurora. And
there was one cavern ten miles from side to side in which grew flowering
trees and trees which bore fruits unknown to man for many generations. Over
this great orchard one yellow sun-like orb shone, and clouds trailed veils of
rain upon the trees and miniature thunder drummed at Narodny's summoning.
Narodny was a poet—the last poet. He did not write his poems in
words but in colors, sounds, and visions made material. Also he was a great
scientist. In his peculiar field the greatest. Thirty years before, Russia's
Science Council had debated whether to grant him the leave of absence he had
asked, or to destroy him. They knew him to be unorthodox. How deadly so they
did not know, else after much deliberation they would not have released him.
It must be remembered that of all nations, Russia then was the most
mechanized; most robot-ridden.
Narodny did not hate mechanization. He was indifferent to it. Being truly
intelligent he hated nothing, Also he was indifferent to the whole
civilization man had developed and into which he had been born. He had no
feeling of kinship to humanity. Outwardly, in body, he belonged to the
species. Not so in mind. Like Loeb, a thousand years before, he considered
mankind a race of crazy half-monkeys, intent upon suicide. Now and then, out
of the sea of lunatic mediocrity, a wave uplifted that held for a moment a
light from the sun of truth—but soon it sank back and the light was
gone. Quenched in the sea of stupidity. He knew that he was one of those
He had gone, and he had been lost to sight by all. In a few years he was
forgotten. Fifteen years ago, unknown and under another name, he had entered
America and secured rights to a thousand acres in what of old had been called
Westchester. He had picked this place because investigation had revealed to
him that of ten localities on this planet it was most free from danger of
earthquake or similar seismic disturbance. The man who owned it had been
whimsical; possibly an atavist—like Narodny, although Narodny would
never have thought of himself as that. At any rate, instead of an angled
house of glass such as the thirtieth century built, this man had
reconstructed a rambling old stone house of the nineteenth century. Few
people lived upon the open land in those days; most had withdrawn into the
city-states. New York, swollen by its meals of years, was a fat belly full of
mankind still many miles away. The land around the house was
A week after Narodny had taken this house, the trees in front of it had
melted away leaving a three-acre, smooth field. It was not as though they had
been cut, but as though they had been dissolved. Later that night a great
airship had appeared upon this field—abruptly, as though it had blinked
out of another dimension. It was rocket-shaped but noiseless. And immediately
a fog had fallen upon airship and house, hiding them. Within this fog, if one
could have seen, was a wide tunnel leading from the air-cylinder's door to
the door of the house. And out of the airship came swathed figures, ten of
them, who walked along that tunnel, were met by Narodny, and the door of the
old house closed on them.
A little later they returned, Narodny with them, and out of an opened
hatch of the airship rolled a small flat car on which was a mechanism of
crystal cones rising around each other to a central cone some four feet high.
The cones were upon a thick base of some glassy material in which was
imprisoned a restless green radiance. Its rays did not penetrate that which
held it, but it seemed constantly seeking, with suggestion of prodigious
force, to escape. For hours the strange thick fog held. Twenty miles up in
the far reaches of the stratosphere, a faintly sparkling cloud grew, like a
condensation of cosmic dust. And just before dawn the rock of the hill behind
the house melted away like a curtain that had covered a great tunnel. Five of
the men came out of the house and went into the airship. It lifted silently
from the ground, slipped into the aperture and vanished. There was a
whispering sound, and when it had died away the breast of the hill was whole
again. The rocks had been drawn together like a closing curtain and boulders
studded it as before. That the breast was now slightly concave where before
it had been convex, none would have noticed.
For two weeks the sparkling cloud was observed far up in the stratosphere,
was commented upon idly, and then was seen no more. Narodny's caverns were
Half of the rock from which they had been hollowed had gone with that
sparkling cloud. The balance, reduced to its primal form of energy, was
stored in blocks of the vitreous material that had supported the cones, and
within them it moved as restlessly and always with that same suggestion of
prodigious force. And it was force, unthinkably potent; from it came the
energy that made the little suns and moons, and actuated the curious
mechanisms that regulated pressure in the caverns, supplied the air, created
the rain, and made of Narodny's realm a mile deep under earth the Paradise of
poetry, of music, of color and of form which he had conceived in his brain
and with the aid of those ten others had caused to be.
Now of the ten there is no need to speak further. Narodny was the Master.
But three, like him, were Russians; two were Chinese; of the remaining five,
three were women—one German in ancestry, one Basque, one an Eurasian; a
Hindu who traced his descent from the line of Gautama; a Jew who traced his
All were one with Narodny in indifference to the world; each with him in
his viewpoint on life; and each and all lived in his or her own Eden among
the hundred caverns except when it interested them to work with each other.
Time meant nothing to them. Their researches and discoveries were solely for
their own uses and enjoyments. If they had given them to the outer world they
would have only been ammunition for warfare either between men upon Earth or
men against some other planet. Why hasten humanity's suicide? Not that they
would have felt regret at the eclipse of humanity. But why trouble to
expedite it? Time meant nothing to them because they could live as long as
they desired—barring accident. And while there was rock in the world,
Narodny could convert it into energy to maintain his Paradise—or to
The old house began to crack and crumble. It fell—much more quickly
than the elements could have brought about its destruction. Then trees grew
among the ruins of its foundations; and the field that had been so strangely
cleared was overgrown with trees. The land became a wood in a few short
years; silent except for the roar of an occasional rocket passing over it and
the songs of birds that had found there a sanctuary.
But deep down in earth, within the caverns, were music and song and mirth
and beauty. Gossamer nymphs circled under the little moons. Pan piped. There
was revelry of antique harvesters under the small suns. Grapes grew and
ripened, were pressed, and red and purple wine was drunk by Bacchantes who
fell at last asleep in the arms of fauns and satyrs. Oreads danced under the
pale moon-bows and sometimes Centaurs wheeled and trod archaic measures
beneath them to the drums of their hoofs upon the mossy floor. The old Earth
Narodny listened to drunken Alexander raving to Thais among the splendors
of conquered Persepolis; and he heard the crackling of the flames that at the
whim of the courtesan destroyed it. He watched the siege of Troy and counted
with Homer the Achaean ships drawn up on the strand before Troy's walls; or
saw with Herodotus the tribes that marched behind Xerxes—the Caspians
in their cloaks of skin with their bows of cane; the Ethiopians in the skins
of leopards with spears of antelope horns; the Libyans in their dress of
leather with javelins made hard by fire; the Thracians with the heads of
foxes upon their heads; the Moschians who wore helmets made of wood and the
Cabalians who wore the skulls of men. For him the Eleusinian and the Osirian
mysteries were re-enacted, and he watched the women of Thrace tear to
fragments Orpheus, the first great musician. At his will, he could see the
rise and fall of the Empire of the Aztecs, the Empire of the Incas; or
beloved Caesar slain in Rome's Senate; or the archers at Agincourt; or the
Americans in Belleau Wood. Whatever man had written—whether poets,
historians, philosophers or scientists—his strangely shaped mechanisms
could bring before him, changing the words into phantoms real as though
He was the last and greatest of the poets—but also he was the last
and greatest of the musicians. He could bring back the songs of ancient
Egypt, or the chants of more ancient Ur. The songs that came from
Moussorgsky's soul of Mother-earth, the harmonies of Beethoven's deaf ear, or
the chants and rhapsodies from the heart of Chopin. He could do more than
restore the music of the past. He was master of sound. To him, the music of
the spheres was real. He could take the rays of the stars and planets and
weave them into symphonies. Or convert the sun's rays into golden tones no
earthly orchestras had ever expressed. And the silver music of the moon
—the sweet music of the moon of spring, the full-throated music of the
harvest moon, the brittle crystalling music of the winter moon with its
arpeggios of meteors—he could weave into strains such as no human ears
had ever heard.
So Narodny, the last and greatest of poets, the last and greatest of
musicians, the last and greatest of artists—and in his inhuman way, the
greatest of scientists—lived with the ten of his choosing in his
caverns. And, with them, he consigned the surface of earth and all who dwelt
upon it to a negative Hell—Unless something happening there might
imperil his Paradise!
Aware of the possibility of that danger, among his mechanisms were those
which brought to eyes and ears news of what was happening on earth's surface.
Now and then, they amused themselves with these.
It so happened that on that night when the Warper of Space had dealt his
blow at the space ships and had flung a part of the great Crater of
Copernicus into another dimension, Narodny had been weaving the rays of Moon,
Jupiter and Saturn into Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. The moon was a four-day
crescent. Jupiter was at one cusp, and Saturn hung like a pendant below the
bow. Shortly Orion would stride across the Heavens and bright Regulus and red
Aldebaran, the Eye of the Bull, would furnish him with other chords of
starlight remoulded into sound.
Suddenly the woven rhythms were ripped—hideously. A devastating
indescribable dissonance invaded the cavern. Beneath it, the nymphs who had
been dancing languorously to the strains quivered like mist wraiths in a
sudden blast and were gone: the little moons flared, then ceased to glow. The
tonal instruments were dead. And Narodny was felled as though by a blow.
After a time the little moons began to glow again, but dimly; and from the
tonal mechanisms came broken, crippled music. Narodny stirred and sat up, his
lean, high-cheeked face more Satanic than ever. Every nerve was numb; then as
they revived, agony crept along them. He sat, fighting the agony, until he
could summon help. He was answered by one of the Chinese, and soon Narodny
was himself again.
He said: "It was a spatial disturbance, Lao. And it was like nothing I
have ever known. It came in upon the rays, of that I am sure. Let us look out
upon the moon."
They passed to another cavern and stood before an immense television
screen. They adjusted it, and upon it appeared the moon, rapidly growing
larger as though it were hurtling toward them. Then upon the screen appeared
a space-ship speeding earthward. They focused upon it, and opened it to their
vision; searching it until they came to the control room where were
Bartholomew, James Tarvish and Martin, their gaze upon Earth rapidly and more
rapidly expanding in the heavens. Narodny and the Chinese watched them,
reading their lips. Tarvish said: "Where can we land, Martin? The robots will
be watching for us everywhere. They will see to it that we are destroyed
before we can give our message and our warning to the world. They control the
governments—or at least control them sufficiently to seize us upon
landing. And if we should escape and gather men around us, then it means
civil war and that in turn means fatal delay in the building of the space
fleet—even if we should win."
Martin said: "We must land safely—escape the robots—find some
to control or destroy them. God, Tarvish—you saw what that devil they
call the Wrongness of Space can do. He threw the side of the crater out of
our dimension as a boy would throw a stone into a pond!"
Bartholomew said: "He could take Earth and break it up piecemeal!"
Narodny and Lao looked at each other. Narodny said: "That is enough. We
know." The Chinese nodded. Narodny said: "I estimated that they would reach
Earth in four hours." Again Lao nodded. Narodny said: "We will talk to them,
Lao; although I had thought we were done with mankind. I do not like this
which they call so quaintly the Wrongness of Space—nor the stone he
threw into my music."
They brought a smaller screen into position before the larger one. They
oriented it to the speeding space-ship and stepped in front of it. The small
screen shimmered with whirling vortices of pallid blue luminescence; the
vortices drew together and became one vast cone that reached on and on to the
greater screen as though not feet but thousands of miles separated them. And
as the tip of the cone touched the control room of the space-ship mirrored in
the screen, Tarvish, upon the actual ship, gripped Martin's arm.
There was an eddying in the air, like that over roads on a hot summer day.
The eddying became a shimmering curtain of pallid blue luminescence—
steadied until it was an oval doorway opening into vast distances. And then
abruptly, within that doorway, stood two men—one tall and lean and
saturnine with the sensitive face of a dreamer and the other a Chinese, his
head a great yellow dome and on his face the calm of Buddha—and it was
strange indeed to see in the cavern of earth these same two men standing
before the blue-coned screen and upon the greater one their images within the
imaged room on which the tip of the cone rested.
Narodny spoke, and in his voice there was a human indifference and
sureness that chilled them, yet gave them courage. He said: "We mean you no
harm. You cannot harm us. We have long been withdrawn from men. What happens
on the surface of Earth means nothing to us. What may happen beneath the
surface means much. Whatever it is you have named the Wrongness of Space has
already annoyed me. I perceive that he can do more than annoy. I gather that
the robots in one way or another are on his side. You are against him.
Therefore, our first step must be to help you against the robots. Place me in
possession of all facts. Be brief, for we cannot maintain our position here
for more than half an hour without discomfort."
Martin said: "Whoever you are, wherever you are, we trust you. Here is the
For fifteen minutes Narodny and the Chinese listened to their tale of
struggle against the robots, of their escape and of the blasting of
Copernicus in the effort of the Wrongness of Space to prevent their
Narodny said: "Enough. Now I understand. How long can you remain in space?
I mean—what are your margins of power and of food?"
Martin answered: "Six days."
Narodny said: "Ample time for success—or failure. Remain aloft for
that time, then descend to where you started—"
Suddenly he smiled: "I care nothing for mankind—yet I would not harm
them, willingly. And it has occurred to me that I owe them, after all, a
great debt. Except for them—I would not be. Also, it occurs to me that
the robots have never produced a poet, a musician, an artist—" He
laughed: "But it is in my mind that they are capable of one great art at
least! We shall see."
The oval was abruptly empty; then it too was gone. Bartholomew said: "Call
the others. I am for obeying. But they must know." And when the others had
heard, they too voted to obey, and the space-ship, course changed, began to
circle, as slowly as it could, the earth.
Down in the chamber of the screens, Narodny laughed and laughed again. He
said: "Lao, is it that we have advanced so in these few years? Or that men
have retrogressed? No, it is this curse of mechanization that destroys
imagination. For look you, how easy is this problem of the robots. They began
as man-made machines. Mathematical, soulless, insensible to any emotion. So
was primal matter of which all on earth are made, rock and water, tree and
grass, metal, animal, fish, worm, and men. But somewhere, somehow, something
was added to this primal matter, combined with it—used it. It was what
we call life. And life is consciousness. And therefore largely emotion. Life
established its rhythm—and its rhythm being different in rock and
crystal, metal, fish, and so on, and man, we have these varying things.
"Well, it seems that life has begun to establish its rhythm in the robots.
Consciousness has touched them. The proof? They have established the idea of
common identity—group consciousness. That in itself involves emotion.
But they have gone further. They have attained the instinct of self-
preservation. And that, my wise friend, connotes fear—fear of
extinction. And fear connotes anger, hatred, arrogance—and many other
things. The robots, in short, have become emotional to a degree. And
therefore vulnerable to whatever may amplify and control their emotions. They
are no longer mechanisms.
"So, Lao, I have in mind an experiment that will provide me study and
amusement through many years. Originally, the robots are the children of
mathematics. I ask—to what is mathematics most closely related. I
answer—to rhythm—to sound—to sounds which will raise to the
nth degree the rhythms to which they will respond. Both mathematically and
Lao said: "The sonic sequences?"
Narodny answered: "Exactly. But we must have a few with which to
experiment. To do that means to dissolve the upper gate. But that is nothing.
Tell Maringy and Euphroysne to do it. Net a ship and bring it here. Bring it
down gently. You will have to kill the men in it, of course, but do it
mercifully. Then let them bring me the robots. Use the green flame on one or
two—the rest will follow, I'll warrant you."
The hill behind where the old house had stood trembled. A circle of pale
green light gleamed on its breast. It dimmed, where it had been was the black
mouth of a tunnel. An airship, half-rocket, half-winged, making its way to
New York, abruptly dropped, circled, and streaked back. It fell gently like a
moth, close to the yawning mouth of the tunnel.
Its door opened, and out came two men, pilots, cursing. There was a little
sigh from the tunnel's mouth and a silvery misty cloud sped from it, over the
pilots and straight through the opened door. The pilots staggered and
crumpled to the ground. In the airship half a dozen other men slumped to the
floor, smiled, and died.
There were a full score robots in the ship. They stood, looking at the
dead men and at each other. Out of the tunnel came two figures swathed in
metallic glimmering robes. They entered the ship. One said:
The metal men stood, motionless. Then one sent out a shrill call. From all
parts of the ship the metal men moved. They gathered behind the one who had
sent the call. They stood behind him, waiting.
In the hand of one of those who had come from the tunnel was what might
have been an antique flash-light. From it sped a thin green flame. It struck
the foremost robot on the head, sliced down from the head to base of trunk.
Another flash, and the green flame cut him from side to side. He fell, sliced
by that flame into four parts. The four parts lay, inert as their metal, upon
the floor of the compartment.
One of the shrouded figures said: "Do you want further demonstration
—or will you follow us?"
The robots put heads together; whispered. Then one said: "We will
They marched into the tunnel, the robots making no resistance nor effort
to escape. Again there was the sighing, and the rocks closed the tunnel
mouth. They came to a place whose floor sank with them until it had reached
the caverns. The machine-men still went docilely. Was it because of curiosity
mixed with disdain for these men whose bodies could be broken so easily by
one blow of the metal appendages that served them for arms? Perhaps.
They came to the cavern where Narodny and the others awaited them.
Marinoff led them in and halted them. These were the robots used in the
flying ships—their heads cylindrical, four arm appendages, legs triple
jointed, torsos slender. The robots, it should be understood, were
differentiated in shape according to their occupations. Narodny said:
"Welcome, robots. Who is your leader?"
One answered: "We have no leaders. We act as one."
Narodny laughed: "Yet by speaking for them you have shown yourself leader.
Step closer. Do not fear—yet."
The robot said: "We feel no fear. Why should we? Even if you should
destroy us who are here, you cannot destroy the billions of us outside. Nor
can you breed fast enough, become men soon enough, to cope with us who enter
into life strong and complete from the beginning."
He flicked an appendage toward Narodny and there was contempt in the
gesture. But before he could draw it back a bracelet of green flame circled
it at the shoulder. It had darted like a thrown loop from something in
Narodny's hand. The robot's arm dropped clanging to the floor, cleanly
severed. The robot stared at it unbelievingly, threw forward his other three
arms to pick it up. Again the green flame encircled them, encircled also his
legs above the second joints. The robot crumpled and pitched forward, crying
in high-pitched shrill tones to the others.
Swiftly the green flame played among them. Legless, armless, some
decapitated, all the robots fell except two.
"Two will be enough," said Narodny. "But they will not need arms—
The flashing green bracelets encircled the appendages and excised them.
The pair were marched away. The bodies of the others were taken apart,
studied and under Narodny's direction curious experiments were made. Music
filled the cavern, strange chords, unfamiliar progressions, shattering
arpeggios and immense vibrations of sound that could be felt but not heard by
the human ear. And finally this last deep vibration burst into hearing as a
vast drone, hummed up and up into swift tingling tempest of crystalline
brittle notes, and still ascending passed into shrill high pipings, and
continued again unheard, as had the prelude to the droning. And thence it
rushed back, the piping and the crystalline storm reversed, into the drone
and the silence—then back and up.
And the bodies of the broken robots began to quiver, to tremble, as though
every atom within them were in ever increasing, rhythmic motion. Up rushed
the music and down—again and again. If ended abruptly in midflight with
one crashing note.
The broken bodies ceased their quivering. Tiny starshaped cracks appeared
in their metal. Once more the note sounded and the cracks widened. The metal
Narodny said: "Well, there is the frequency for the rhythm of our robots.
The destructive unison. I hope for the sake of the world outside it is not
also the rhythm of many of their buildings and bridges. But after all, in any
war there must be casualties on both sides."
Lao said: "Earth will be an extraordinary spectacle for a few days."
Narodny said: "It's going to be an extraordinarily uncomfortable Earth for
a few days, and without doubt many will die and many more go mad. But is
there any other way?"
There was no answer. He said; "Bring in the two robots." They brought them
Narodny said: "Robots—were there ever any of you who could
They answered: "What is poetize?" Narodny laughed: "Never mind. Have you
ever sung—made music—painted? Have you ever— dreamed?"
One robot said with cold irony: "Dreamed? No—for we do not sleep. We
leave all that to men. It is why we have conquered them."
Narodny said, almost gently: "Not yet, robot. Have you ever— danced?
No? It is an art you are about to learn."
The unheard note began, droned up and through the tempest and away and
back again. And up and down—and up and down, though not so loudly as
before. And suddenly the feet of the robots began to move, to shuffle. Their
leg-joints bent; their bodies swayed. The note seemed to move now here and
now there about the chamber, they always following it, grotesquely. Like huge
metal marionettes, they followed it. The music ended in the crashing note.
And it was as though every vibrating atom of the robot bodies had met some
irresistible obstruction. Their bodies quivered and from their voice
mechanisms came a shriek that was a hideous blend of machine and life. Once
more the drone, and once more and once more and again the abrupt stop. There
was a brittle crackling all over the conical heads, all over the bodies. The
star-shaped splinterings appeared. Once again the drone—but the two
robots stood, unresponding. For through the complicated mechanisms which
under their carapaces animated them were similar splinterings.
The robots were dead!
Narodny said: "By tomorrow we can amplify the sonor to make it effective
in a 3000-mile circle. We will use the upper cavern, of course. Equally of
course, it means we must take the ship out again. In three days, Marinoff,
you should be able to cover the other continents. See to it that the ship is
completely proof against the vibrations. To work. We must act quickly—
before the robots can discover how to neutralize them."
It was exactly at noon next day that over all North America a deep
unexplainable droning was heard. It seemed to come not only from deep within
earth, but from every side. It mounted rapidly through a tempest of tingling
crystalline notes into a shrill piping and was gone... then back it rushed
from piping to the drone... then up and out and down... again and again. And
over all North America the hordes of robots stopped in whatever they were
doing. Stopped... and then began to dance. They danced in the airships and
scores of those ships crashed before the human crews could gain control. They
danced by the thousands in the streets of the cities—in grotesque
rigadoons, in bizarre sarabands, with shuffle and hop, and jig the robots
danced while the people fled in panic and hundreds of them were crushed and
died in those panics. In the great factories, and in the tunnels of the lower
cities, and in the mines—everywhere the sound was heard—and it
was heard everywhere—the robots danced... to the piping of Narodny, the
last great poet... the last great musician.
And then came the crashing note—and over all the country the dance
halted. And began again... and ceased... and began again...
Until at last the streets, the lower tunnels of the lower levels, the
mines, the factories, the homes, were littered with metal bodies shot through
and through with star-shaped splinterings.
In the cities the people cowered, not knowing what blow was to fall upon
them... or milled about in fear-maddened crowds, and many more died...
Then suddenly the dreadful droning, the shattering tempest, the
intolerable high piping ended. And everywhere the people fell, sleeping among
the dead robots, as though they never had been strung to the point of
breaking, sapped of strength and abruptly relaxed.
As though it had vanished, America was deaf to cables, to all
communication beyond the gigantic circle of sound.
But that midnight over all Europe the drone sounded and Europe's robots
began their dance of death... and when it had ended a strange and silent
rocket ship that had hovered high above the stratosphere sped almost with the
speed of light and hovered over Asia—and next day Africa heard the
drone while the natives answered it with their tom-toms—then South
America heard it and last of all far-off Australia... and everywhere terror
trapped the peoples and panic and madness took their toll...
Until of all that animate metal horde that had tethered Earth and humanity
there were a few scant hundreds left—escaped from the death dance
through some variant in their constitution. And, awakening from that swift
sleep, all over Earth those who had feared and hated the robots and their
slavery rose against those who had fostered the metal domination, and blasted
the robot factories to dust.
Again the hill above the caverns opened, the strange torpedo ship blinked
into sight like a ghost, as silently as a ghost floated into the hill and the
rocks closed behind it.
Narodny and the others stood before the gigantic television screen,
shifting upon it images of city after city, country after country, over all
Earth's surface. Lao, the Chinese, said: "Many men died, but many are left.
They may not understand—but to them it was worth it."
Narodny mused: "It drives home the lesson, what man does not pay for, he
values little. Our friends aloft will have little opposition now I
He shook his head, doubtfully, "But I still do not like that Wrongness of
Space. I do not want my music spoiled again by him, Lao. Shall we hurl the
Moon out of the universe, Lao?"
Lao laughed: "And what then would you do for moon-music?"
Narodny said: "True. Well, let us see what men can do. There is always
The difficulties which beset humanity did not interest the poet Narodny.
While the world governments were reorganized—factories turned out space
ships for Earth's fleet—men were trained in handling these
ships—supplies were gathered—weapons were perfected— and
when the message from Luna, outlining the course to be followed and setting
the starting date, arrived, the space fleet of Earth was ready to leave.
Narodny watched the ships take off. He shook his head, doubtfully. But
soon harmonies were swelling through the great cavern of the orchards and
nymphs and fauns dancing under the fragrant blossoming trees—and the
world was again forgotten by Narodny.