Don’t-care-at-all is a cheerless castle on a bleak and windswept moor. It is home to the Despair Bears, talking bears whose message of not caring has attracted disciples among the talking animals of Teleleli. The most notable devotee, or ‘Despair Bear Cousin’, is the talking horse Edgar Allan Pony.
The inhabitants of this island are gigantic, bodiless nipples. They are terribly fierce, and desire to conquer all other islands. Fortunately they are divided between two would-be leaders, Nipoleon Grownapart and Alexander the Teat.
Various writers have suggested that ancient humans were contacted, or even created, by more advanced beings from another planet. It seems to me that such theories are more plausible if one substitutes the proposed alien with a visitor from the lands around Teleleli.
Babylonian myth tells of Oannes, who taught the human race writing, the arts and science. Oannes is said to have lived in the Persian Gulf, rising from the water during the day to instruct ancient humans.
The creature is described as having the body of a fish but underneath the figure of a man. This may mean that ‘he’ literally appeared as a hybrid of human and fish, like mermaids and mermen. But these creatures have little interest in learning, let alone teaching others. The reversed mer-folk, who have the upper parts of fish and the lower parts of humans, are more intellectual. But they would have great difficulty communicating with humans, being unable to speak or, due to their lack of arms, to gesture (they communicate amongst themselves by laying eggs of various types, the combinations of which are the ‘letters’ of their language). It may also refer to a human who came out of a ‘fish’ which was really a submarine. Finally, it may mean that the creature appeared to be a fish, but could communicate and reason, thus being human ‘underneath’.
A magnetic hill is a rare phenomenon found in rural areas. They are hills on which an object left to roll freely will roll uphill, instead of downwards as is usual.
Some scholars suggest that large, magnetic planets lie in the part of the Celestial Realm directly above such hills. Others say that the hills are home to the ghosts of those who broke their necks in rolling down the hill, and thus push objects uphill to prevent further tragedies.
Our own world, and the world where lies Teleleli, may be considered as analagous to the Old and New Worlds. After the Ice Age, the people of the Americas and of the Old World were for the most part separated by uncrossable ocean, and history proceeded with nearly as little interaction as if the two land masses were located on different planets. Yet, to continue the analogy, we know that the rare explorer – usually accidentally rather than by design – found their way from one world to another, and there was even the relatively long conflict represented by the Viking colony of Vinland.
William T. Anderson, known as ‘Bloody Bill’, was the most pitiless and bloodthirsty of the Confederate guerillas in the American Civil War.
He was hunted down and killed in battle in 1864. Instantly, so it seemed to him, he found himself on a desolate plain which he later learned was the Abysmal Plain. Anderson believed that he had gone to Hell. Indeed he continues to hold this belief, stating that he sees no reason why the Almightly should not remove the memories of all the other condemned souls, but leave his intact so as to torment him further.
He is now the leader of a group of outlaws, no more merciful than the men he led on Earth, who hide in the Abysmal Plain and terrorise surrounding areas.
Iram of the Pillars is a city in Arabia which Allah is said to have caused to sink into the Earth because of the great wickedness of its people.
Certain disquieting rumours from the desert suggest to me that the city may have risen again, in the world where Teleleli lies.
The inhabitants of this island are the size of humans, and look like humans, but they are flat silhouettes made of paper. All fire is forbidden on the island, even so much as a pipe. They are best-known for the boats they make, which are made from a single piece of paper, and can be folded up and carried in a pocket.
The Jeweled City is said to be the name of the city far to the west, where the sun goes at the end of every day. It is said that all the buildings of the city are made of precious stones, but that the city is surrounded by a plain stone wall. The colours of sunset are said to be caused when the gates of the city open to let in the sun.
Eunuchs are largely unknown in Teleleli, save as refugees from other lands, since they are a product of strong and united governments or churches, and indeed only those which have grown old in power and wickedness, and no such thing is found in the city. The exception to this rule is certain men who choose to castrate themselves and serve a god who is neither male nor female. But they do not call themselves eunuchs.
Eunuchs are valued because they are said to lack ambition, since they cannot have children who they wish to find positions for, nor wives to urge them to greater efforts, nor women they wish to impress. Thus, it is said, they may make good advisors, and also may be entrusted with tasks such as trimming the king’s beard or preparing his food. For if an empire is of sufficient antiquity to produce eunuchs, it is certain that the ruler must constantly guard against assassination.
Those eunuchs who come to Teleleli may make their living as singers, since eunuchs may sing low like men or high like women. Further, if they were castrated before puberty their voices may retain the clear tone of a boy.