Listen to “War is Me!” recite this episode.
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he storm front rolled away, laying the sun bare and the sky clear. Alice precipitously picked her way down the Inclined Plane toward the vast flat expanse extending every way in the distance.
In spite of all the odd detours (the door in the tree marked “Private”, the Black Queen’s cocktail, the tea party, the bar sheep, the floating egg, and StratasFear), she hoped at last to reach the Green Queen’s Golf Association in time for Tee-Off.
But, in the stubble at the foot of the slope sat an incredible Mushroom, barring her way.
The Mushroom was big as a horse, and, its brood of hundreds upon hundreds of Littler Mushrooms, for a hundred feet in front of her, traversed the whole edge where the field met the steep angle of the Inclined Plane.
Just as Alice was wondering how to get over these Mushrooms to the field that led to the golf course without treading on their heads, a dreadful wailing throbbed in her ears. It came from the Big Mushroom.
Believing it in distress, Alice tiptoed niminy-piminy amongst the minefield of Little Mushrooms, exploding none, until she almost reached the Big one. It was definitely not a Morel.
Over the whole surface of its mammoth Mushroom head, a horrid face protruded. The slit of its mouth fitfully shaped a sporadic cry beneath its grey mustache. Moist eyes glimmered and blinked. Each blink squeezed a round coin-like tear down its Mushroom cheek and onto the soil, where littler Mushrooms, bathed in the Big one’s heartbreaking tears, were bursting up from underground.
Alice’s sympathy for the mammoth Mushroom’s grief was undiminished in spite of its ugliness.
The nostrils of an immense nose flared and contracted as the colicky Mushroom gulped and hollered, “War is Me!” “War is Me!” “War is Me!”
“You mean, ‘Woe is me!’,” corrected Alice, but not unsympathetically … expecting the Fungus, on hearing her, to ask for help.
“Murder!” cried the Mushroom, startling Alice, who jumped back as it cried again, “Murder!” and began to laugh, hysterically.
Inspecting the ground at her heels, Alice was relieved to see she had not stepped on any of the Mushroom’s young … “Not guilty,” pleaded Alice, “I swear! I didn’t burst a-one!”
But the Mushroom continued to cry, “War is me! War is me!”
Alice felt as though the ground she stood on swirled in a circle. She nearly swooned as the light fell and dark smoke rose about her. On a black horizon, fires burned and streets were alight, churches fell to ashes, schools were in flames; as neighbourhoods incinerated, homes fell to rubble.
She must be hallucinating, for again, the ground swirled, and the scene altered. Curving out of a dark tunnel onto a dark field pocked with shovels and trenches came a long parade of boxes, draped in red flags and blue flags … and again the ground turned under her feet.
Horrified, Alice groped for consciousness, a deep survival instinct warning that she must wake up, she must escape!
“How awful!” shouted Alice.
The Mushroom laughed again.
Then, “Kill!” “Kill!” “Kill!”, cried the Mammoth Mushroom.
Terrified, Alice stopped her ears with her palms and ran pell-mell away from the Mad Mushroom, exiting the minefield without exploding a single mushroom cap.
Then, as Alice ran onto the field, a voice called out.
It was not the voice of the Mushroom.
“Wait! Come back!” summoned the voice.
– 30 –
The episode, ““War is Me!”: The Mushroom in Referendumland”, was inspired by a German fairy tale.
Interpretation of “War is Me!”: The Mushroom in Referendumland.
UPDATED: 7 August 2018. 16 January 2022