Chapter 3 - The Village Council
Fear swept through the crowd. Everyone started talking at the same time. Some Ubbles ran off to their homes; others just stood there in shock.
Chief Fable held up his arms. “Stop panicking! Let's get the village council together and consult Orable, the oracle. He’ll know what to do.” He sent a couple of the Ubbles to call the rest of the council members, and set out to the village triangle.
When they reached the village triangle, they saw that Sternia, the Policemistress, and Gardenia, the doctor, were already seated at the Council Tree. The Council Tree was a humongous bandaani tree growing in the center of the village triangle. The villagers had carved the roots of the bandaani tree into a council platform when Scrabble village was first established. Gorble followed Chief Fable onto the platform and sat down on his seat. It was hard as always. The seats too were carved from the bandaani roots.
Womble, the philosopher, the fifth and oldest member of the council, parked his pedaler next to the platform and came up the steps. The council was complete. Most of the villagers had now gathered around the Council Tree.
Chief Fable brought the meeting to order. “Council members, and Ubbles of Scrabble village, if the prophecy is true, the end of the world has begun. We need to stay calm...”
“Stay calm?” interrupted Bauble, the jeweler. “How can we stay calm when the whole world is coming to an end? We’re all going to die!”
“Death! It is coming!” said Wobble, the watchmaker, ominously. A shiver ran through the crowd. The sun did not seem so warm anymore.
“Stop! We’re not dead yet. Get a hold of yourselves!” said Chief Fable. He saw Babble, the translator, walking Orable towards the Council Tree. “Let's consult Orable. He’ll tell us what to do.”
Orable was the oldest and the wisest Ubble in the village, almost a hundred years old. He had a white beard that swept the ground around him and a hunch that bent him almost in half. He knew more about Ubbles, Scrabble village, and Donutland than anyone else. Some even believed that he could predict the future. Babble helped Orable walk up to the steps of the platform. Orable sat down on a fat root at the base of the Council Tree, squinting at the Chief.
Chief Fable said, “Your Goodness, God's Golfball has come down from Tee Hill. Is the prophecy true? Is this the end of the world?”
Orable leaned forward, speaking slowly in a soft quavering voice. “God loves bananas dipped in pinkberry sauce. Come for a picnic at ChockLemon Lake. The yellow rainbow tripped Torble. Tranzable wants Grobniks. Blrrthz. Garbleeeths. Pharshandle. Rmmmm, Nnnnnn, Zzzzzz.”
Orable was asleep.
“What did he say?” Chief Fable asked Babble. Babble was the official translator of the village. He knew over twelve languages. He was the only Ubble who understood what Orable said.
Babble thought for a nimit, deliberating Orable's words and translated, “The end of the world has begun. Orable said that we should all go home, get our families together, and prepare for the final sleep.”
So, it was true! Chief Fable took in the curving streets radiating from the village triangle, the sparkling sunholes glittering on either sides, the vibrant colors of plants overflowing the yards, and the outline of the Golf Hills sharply delineating the clear orange skies. It was far too nice a day for the world to end.
The anxious faces of the Ubbles gathered around the Council Tree were looking at Chief Fable, waiting for him to speak, waiting for his confirmation.
Chief Fable sighed, “It is done! Orable, our oracle has spoken. Go home and settle your affairs. May you all sleep without dreams!”
“Stop!” someone shouted. Gorble and the rest of the council turned towards the voice. It was Zorble the Ironcutter. He walked up to the Council Tree dragging two ubblets by their ears. “It’s not the end of the world yet. It’s a prank by these two imps. They brought down God's Golfball! Xyzab, son of Bumble, and Seria, daughter of Treble.”
The first thing that Chief Fable felt was relief. So God was not playing golf yet. It was just a prank! Someone shouted, “Hullah!” The crowd laughed nervously. The day was brighter. The second feeling that traveled through Chief Fable was rage as he turned red and then purple. His anger barely veiled, he said softly, “What did they do?”
Zorble said, “I was up on Tee Hill cutting iron when I heard a crashing sound. I looked up to see God's Golfball rolling down towards me. I dived out of its path and I just escaped by the tooth of a nant, I tell you. When I got up, what do I see? These two rascals running down the path like the wind. I immediately knew they’d been up to something. I grabbed them both by the neck and scared the truth out of them.”
He paused, looking sharply at Xyzab. “Go ahead. Go on. Now tell the council what you did.”
Xyzab winced, “It was an accident.”
Chief Fable exploded. “An accident? All of history had not been able to even budge God's Golfball till now. You managed to bring it right down to the village. So, pray, tell me, how did this accident happen?”
Xyzab explained how Professor Improbable's class on torque led to their experiments. “Your Goodness, I didn't think that God's Golfball would roll off Tee Hill. I didn't mean to destroy anything. Honest! It was an accident.”
Chief Fable shook his head as he said, “Xyzab, your prank destroyed my study. It almost killed me. And do you have any idea how many trees and bushes were crushed today?”
“I am really, really sorry, your Goodness. I will be very careful in the future. I won't play any more pranks,” said Xyzab.
“That's what he said last week when he let my Droogles loose. He should be punished!” said Liable, the Droogle master.
“Yesh! Yesh!” chimed in Dumble, the shoemaker, “That's what he said when he broke my shop window the week before.”
Chief Fable said, “Xyzab, this is the third time you have been brought in front of the council. Your pranks are getting more dangerous each time. The whole village is tired of your antics. You aren’t a little ubblet anymore. You will be an Ubble soon. You need to be punished.”
Chief Fable paused for a moment, thinking. Turning towards Womble, the council member, he said, “Council member Womble, you are Xyzab's granduncle. I don't know what punishment will bring him to his senses. I leave it up to you to decide what should be done.”
Womble nodded wearily, accepting his burden. He rose from his seat and said gravely, “It is with a heavy heart that I have to agree with Chief Fable. Xyzab is becoming more than naughty. He is almost a menace to the village. He has taken the comforts of the village for granted. Everything is a game for him. Everything is a potential prank. It may be that we haven't been strict enough with him. The time for simple punishments is past.”
He stopped and scratched his beard. “There is only one thing to do.”
Looking at Xyzab, he pronounced, “Xyzab, son of my nephew Bumble, you are hereby exiled from Scrabble village at daylight tomorrow. You are not to come back until you have learned to be more responsible.”
© Copyright 2013-2016. Azim Ozakil. All rights reserved.