Presentation of this planet and its moons, including ring and creatures
- Chapter 6 -
Presentation of this planet and its moons, including ring and creatures
For example, your field crops such as grains, wheat, barley, etc., do not grow on Saturn. But in place of these there is a much more cultivated species of grain which somewhat resembles your corn, but this plant grows twenty to thirty times taller than corn on earth. Its leaves are often anywhere from 12 to 21 feet long and 5 to 8-3/4 feet wide. These leaves have a completely sky-blue color. The edges are approximately 9 inches wide, trimmed with a light carmine-red, whereas the center, which is also 9 inches wide but tapering off to 1 inch towards the tip of the leaf, is greenish-golden. The stem of this plant is as thick at the bottom as a fully-grown oak on earth, and has a dark lusterless polished golden color, becoming lighter as you proceed higher up the stem. The corolla, which often has branches that spread 6 to 9 feet, looks like a chandelier with the most brilliant, beautifully cut crystals. The reason for this appearance is because everything on Saturn is on a considerably larger scale. Should you view the corn blossom through a good microscope, you will notice almost the same kind of luster, which otherwise looks just like a whitish pollen.
On a larger scale, the fruit of this plant resembles a corncob, though not in taste and usage. On Saturn the fruit is the best tasting delicacy and can be compared in this respect to a pineapple. When this fruit is ripe, the individual grains can easily be removed and eaten immediately; they are not floury; instead they are juicy, like grapes on earth. The weight of one of these berries, in accordance with earth measurements, is usually between two and three pounds. One cob often holds anywhere from 300 to 500 berries and one single plant produces 20 to 30 such cobs; this will give you an idea of how rich such a harvest can be.
But where do the inhabitants store such a harvest? You have learned about the good containers which the funnel tree provides. That is where the berries are stored, as well as the pressed-out juice from the berries. The fruit grows four times in one year and is extremely healthy and strengthening. The juice invigorates the hearts of the inhabitants of Saturn just as much as, if not more than, the grape and its strengthening nectar on earth.
Once the fruit has been harvested, the plant is left in the fields until dry; then the Saturnites drive their large draft and pack animals onto these fields where they eat the leaves, and the stems remain unharmed. Then the inhabitants cut these stems with a special saw. They make big piles all over the fields and they ignite these piles; this gives the soil the necessary nutrients for the growth and future cultivation of plants.
If this fruit is to thrive, the soil must be moist. But since it very seldom rains and since there is no dew in this moderate climate, as elsewhere all over the entire planet wherever the moderate climate is predominant, and since springs are not plentiful in the countryside, what can the inhabitants do? How do they irrigate such fields? These fields usually cover an area of 30 to 40 square geographic miles. Behold, I, the Creator, solved this problem with another plant which takes care of the irrigation. This plant is planted amongst these useful plants.
This plant is called the flowing barrel, and it has a great resemblance to the common gourd on earth, but on Saturn these gourds reach such a size and height that even a Saturnite has difficulty looking past them. The plant itself often grows several thousand fathoms far and wide on the ground and is 6 feet thick. It proceeds from its root, having hundreds of shoots in all directions. The leaves resemble those of the pumpkin plant on earth, but they are several hundred times larger and the color is not green but violet-blue in its entirety. These leaves have markings like silvery-white stars which cover the entire leaf. The stem of the leaf is 12 to 18 feet long, round, and several fathoms in diameter. The inside of the stem is hollow; in the walls of the stem there are many thousands of tubes in the direction of the leaf; they nourish the leaf with a sweet juice; part of this liquid drips from the many pores on the underside of the tips of the leaf to the ground below and moistens the soil in this manner like a steady light rain. However, the main irrigation function of the plant is accomplished by its actual fruit. As soon as this fruit is half-ripe, at night it opens its pores on the surface, and also little tubes that protrude on the surface for this particular purpose, through which a sweet clear liquid is forced and spreads like a fountain, and the soil receives in this manner a regular and sufficient irrigation every night.
Now the question might arise: From whence does the fruit attain this water? The answer is that this plant is a true artesian water-well driller; it drives its roots far and deep downwards until it somewhere finds a subterranean well. There it draws the water it has found upwards with the greatest diligence and then conducts it through the best water pipes, completely purified, into all directions of its outer and fast growing and extending area.
Do the inhabitants of Saturn use this fruit for any purpose other than the irrigation of the fields? Yes, they use this fruit when it has fully ripened. They cut it lengthwise right through the middle. The seeds and flesh of the gourd are removed; the seeds are kept and used for future planting and the flesh of the gourd is used for feeding the cows, sheep, and goats on Saturn. The skin or peel of the gourd, which is 6 feet thick, is dried, through which it attains a great firmness. Once it is completely dry, the bottom half of this fruit is commonly used as a kind of water vehicle, whereas the top half, which is porous and has many tubes, is used in the most simple manner as a kind of wagon.
A hole is drilled in the middle of both walls, and through these holes a strong and well-prepared axle is placed, and at each end a wheel is mounted. Another hole is drilled in the front through which a tow bar is placed leading to the axle where it is secured with a nail, and a crossbeam is mounted at the front of the tow bar. In this manner the wagon is almost ready for use, except for the wheels. These wheels do not have to be fashioned by human hands; they are fashioned by the art of nature, namely from this same plant. Nothing more is required other than the perfectly rounded stem of this gourd from which the wheels are cut off with a saw; they measure usually from 18 to 24 feet in diameter, and some of these wheels have a diameter of 30 to 36 feet.
This kind of wagon is only used as a lighter vehicle; of course the Saturnites have much heavier and larger wagons, which they artfully build out of wood, and just like yours on earth, they are diligently outfitted with pliant and sturdy metal fittings. This metal somewhat resembles your iron; however, it is purer, longer lasting, and does not rust. It always retains a luster like gold on the surface. The color of this metal is like platinum, which is a mixture of pure gold and pure iron. On earth a chemist would hardly succeed, following chemical procedures, in preparing or producing such a mixture.
No one on earth has ever heard of such a plant; and there is no plant on earth which resembles it in the slightest, for the socalled "walking leaf" of South America is actually an animal rather than a plant. The plant on Saturn which we are discussing is an actual walking plant, even though it moves from place to place like an animal. The motive force lies in its root, which has The form of a misshapen human foot, though of course it does not have any developed toes or a heel or anything else resembling part of a human foot. The whole thing is 60 feet long, a root stock bent in a right angle which has a large number of roots on all sides which catch like tentacles and suction roots. These roots cling everywhere, like the tendrils of a vine though with one difference: these roots only remain in one place as long as they can find sufficient nourishment. Once they have taken all the moisture out of the ground, they extricate themselves from the soil and stretch farther out forward and move along the ground until they find another moist place. There they diligently drill into the ground and entwine the moist layers of earth and other herbs and grasses. Through this entwining they draw the entire plant with them. Through the activity of the foot roots, a plant of this kind travels quite a number of geographic miles in the course of a year, in accordance with earthly measurements.
What does this plant actually look like? The plant has a stem that is 24 to 30 feet in height, and the branches and twigs begin to grow from this stem at a height of 6 feet from the ground. Some of these branches grow downward in all directions to the ground and, in this manner, they support the plant from toppling over. These branches are usually bare of leaves; only the ones that grow upwards in multifarious curvatures from the stem produce leaves, blossoms and fruit. To some extent, this plant also resembles your grape vines, though the leaves are considerably larger and of a light blue color and their undersides are covered with little red warts. The fruit resembles the species of grapes which you call Gaisdutte, except that the color is not blue but as yellow as an orange and partly translucent, like green grapes. There is also a difference in the size of these grape berries. Most of them produce one liter of pure juice, and one cluster usually contains 50 to 100 berries and most plants produce from ten to twenty of these clusters. The taste of this fruit is similar to that of muscatel grapes when they are completely ripe.
This is the most peculiar plant on Saturn! It has a great advantage because it does not require any cultivation or labor. This plant looks after its own needs, so that amongst the inhabitants of this planet there will be no disputes about property rights regarding this very popular plant if it should happen to enter a neighbor's property (property rights are strictly enforced on Saturn). For this reason the inhabitants grow this plant mostly in the center of their property or around the rain trees. When this plant is grown around the rain trees it remains there and does not move, because the roots are sufficiently supplied with nourishment. And should these plants be forced to move for one reason or another, they will not enter a neighbor's property right away because it would be difficult, on account of the distance, to cross over from the center of such a property to a neighbor's property. As I mentioned before, these properties are often double the size of some countries on earth.
The juice of these berries is used by the Saturnites for the same purpose as you would do on earth. This juice is of course much stronger than the juice which I mentioned before, nor is it kept in the same containers as the other juice; rather, it is stored in a container which is a fruit bottle especially suitable for this kind of juice; it also somewhat resembles the gourd bottle. However, this fruit bottle is considerably larger than the usual wine barrels (the so-called Heidelberg wine barrels). Once such a gourd bottle is fully grown, it can easily contain one thousand of your pails. These fruit bottles are extremely solid. The walls have a thickness of 3 to 6 feet. Once these containers are completely cleaned out, which is done by a Saturn animal, it is ready for use.