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Gammelnok in Andalucia - Chapter 5: The Mystery of the Crop Circles  
Chapter 5: The Mystery of the Crop Circles... Home | Print this page | More Stories
 
It was mid July and the summer was hotting up.

Butterflies were playfully chasing each other, spiralling ever upwards in the sunshine, floating like flowers without stems. Bumblebees so heavy on pollen, they bent the flowers nearly to breaking point were buzzing in and out of everywhere. Blackbirds and Thrushes sang their heart out to anyone who cared to listen. In the sky, House Martins performed their aerial ballet with a grace that made you feel, the show was put on just for you.

Gammelnok had explored a fair bit of his new home, and was now on friendly terms with most of the regular visitors.

Two things bothered him though. Firstly nearly every night there was a faint rumble beneath his feet, as if someone or something was digging into the hill at the back of the garden.

Secondly, he had the distinct feeling the GreyFaces were planning something. They had been unusually nice to him recently which in itself was unusual, but they had also been far more active, running and jumping all over the place.

Then one day towards the end of July the air was full of one message only: "Herr ZigZag is on holiday, Herr ZigZag is on Holiday."

The message went from mouth to beak to snout, was left on sharp corners all over the area, and renewed as soon as it was read. There was a feeling of freedom, of being able to do mischief without consequence. This was the best time of the year.

...and the GreyFaces were getting ready for their Annual Crop Circle outing. The word was passed whenever they came within chattering distance: "There is going to be a Crop Party. Tell others. We must add up to 500,000,000, or it will not work."

For half a moon now, the word had been secretly repeated, added, subtracted and multiplied. With Herr ZigZag on holiday, they were finally able to move.

Gammelnok had been relaxing by the pond in the still night air, when suddenly a crowd of GreyFaces jumped over the fence, ran straight past him, up to Level 6 and through the tunnel at Level 7 into the outside world.

Fully awake now, he gathered his Handsack, walking stick and compass and hurried after the last Squirrel.

Squeezing through the tunnel was quite difficult, but eventually he got through.

Stray squirrels were still running towards the woods at the back, so he headed of in that direction as fast as his short legs could carry him.

The white moon was shining, and it was now shortly after midnight. Gammelnok reached the woods, hurried along winding paths, until finally totally out of breath, he stopped and stared.

Below him a grassy bank lead to a corn field stretching for miles. He could make out thousands of squirrels milling around at the edge. And there were more arriving all the time.

They came from all directions, in their hundreds, moving swiftly in the bright white moonlight. A light wind was blowing from the Southeast making just enough noise to cover their movements.

"OK, listen up everyone. We have an important function to perform here tonight," 266409 who was in charge tonight, was used to directing large crowds. "We are carrying on a tradition that goes back to the days when our forefathers were single digits. We must make a perfect circle, as large as possible and then leave without a trace. You know the drill, so let's get started."

They scuttled between the rows of corn, without leaving a trace, until the exact middle of the giant wheat field had been reached. Here they sat down and waited in silence.

With 266409 positioning himself where he was, the other GreyFaces linked forepaws in a long straight line. Then with 266409 walking on the spot, the one to his left moved slowly forward, the one on his right backwards. The next ones moved slightly faster, until the very last ones on the very end were moving as fast as they could. Slowly the spoke of the Wheel moved, with 266409 as a firm Anchor in the middle.

Three times round they went, flattening the corn in front of them, until not a straw was out of place.

"Stop!" 266409 was getting dizzy. "Well done all."

"Can't we do something different next year?" 475053 had jumped over to 266409. "I have heard of Numbers making squares, rectangles and all sorts of weird and wonderful designs. I'm bored with Circles."

"Not while I'm in charge, we don't," 266409 said gruffly. "Although on second thoughts, you don't get dizzy making squares; I'll think about it. But now it is time to split. Of you go all. We will get together again before next harvest. Do be careful not to trample any corn on your way out."

Within minutes they were on their way, and once outside the cornfield, it was business as usual, chattering away, chasing each other up trees, across branches and flying through the air, catching hold of twigs at the very last moment. Safely home at last, in the large oak tree behind the gardens, our squirrels curled up and went to sleep, dreaming of peanuts, sweet corn and sunflower seeds.

Gammelnok also made his way home, slower this time. It suddenly occurred to him that he had just witnessed something that would baffle the world tomorrow.

Reaching his chair by the pond, he settled down for a day of snoozing. Just before he dropped off, he wondered at how quiet it was. No rumbling below his feet.

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