For one hour of one day in every seventh year in a secluded cove
on a rugged coast in a far country there appears a simple drawing in the sand.
Any visitor who chances upon this drawing attains at once to the privilege of
seeing himself and all things as they really are. For this reason the cove has
come to be regarded with fear and loathing by the people of the district.
Long ago the period during which the drawing might appear, and
the effect of seeing it were generally known, and the meaning of its
periodicity understood, but as the years passed all that could be offered the
enquirer were theories as to why that particular cove should be held in such
dread. Professor Peter Palalda, who investigated the question, found only one
intriguing informant, an ancient gardener who said, "The stranger comes, but
says nothing." He wouldn't add a word to this.
In the very year in which I write, a scientific expedition led
by Professor Palalda went to the cove to explore the mystery of its peculiar
reputation. The three young men and one young woman set up intricate and
expensive instruments for measuring temperature, light and sound, cameras to
photograph visible events, and ingenious electronic traps to detect
At first they spent their time tending these instruments and
making detailed notes of observations in little books, but later turned
increasingly to bathing, idling and reading thrillers. The young men made
suggestions of various kinds to the young woman, who explained that she
During one hour in this particular day in this particular year
the young woman, having grown weary of swimming, was walking alone in a distant
part of the beach when she chanced to take up a stick which had been washed in
by the tide, and without a thought in her head drew in the sand an outline
which resembled an eye in a circle beside a single frond of bamboo decorated
with three delicate leaves.
"Why did you make this drawing?" said Professor Palalda,
approaching silently and suddenly.
"For no reason," the young scientist replied.
"Then it's for no reason that we must pack up and depart," the
Professor said, for he had begun to see himself and all things as they really