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.
It is said that a newly-created zombie must soon be led past its former house. As soon as this is done the zombie will forget its home. If it is not done, the zombie will remember its home and may run away.
It is said that some panthers in the islands around Teleleli have a spot on their shoulder which looks like the moon, and waxes and wanes like the moon (they do so in unison with one another, but not with the real moon). These panthers are also said to sing sweetly, and to have breath that smells of honey and the Noble Spices.
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.
Talking giraffes are valued as sailors, despite their clumsiness. They make good lookouts because their long necks allow them to see further than other folk.
The Noble Spices have the ability to purify the air, and thus drive away miasma or the so-called Miasma Elementals.
This may be done by burning the spices – creating smoke – or by boiling water in which the spices have been placed – creating steam. The smoke is more powerful, but the spices will be used up in a short time.
In a forest far from Teleleli there is a huge and dark forest, where grows a certain mushroom. Whoever eats this mushroom is poisoned, but does not die. They will lose all desire to leave the forest. All day they will be blind, and will bury themselves in the ground. At night they will come out, only to mime hunting, and later cooking and eating, non-existent animals. This activity seems to sustain their lives, since they have never been observed to die. This raises the question of whether the forest is full of an ever-growing number of them, and if not why not. These Cold People seem not to be aware of normal folk, and the animals of the forest are terrified of them.
Some believe that the sight of the sea will move a zombie to regain its will, and thus die a natural death. Others say that zombies are allergic to salt, so that the sea air will destroy them, just as a handful of salt flung on them will cause them to shrivel.
This plant, which grows wild in some forests, causes horrible mental turmoil in whoever eats it. Survivors have reported a number of symptoms: seeing visions, leaving their body and floating above it as a disembodied soul, feeling as if their skin was on fire or as if insects were crawling underneath it, and being robbed of all will. While the plant does not cause death, its effects may prove fatal in the context of travel in wild areas.
The name comes from the belief that this plant is used by bokers to make a special meal, which they give to their zombie slaves. This meal has the effect of preventing the zombie from attacking their master, which is otherwise the only desire the poor wretches have. Other ingredients of the meal are variously said to include Paste of the Spirits, embalming fluid (to arrest the process of decay) and jackal droppings. I have heard no explanation for this last ingredient, and it may indicate a real or imagined spite on the part of the boker.
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’.