Text-only page from part i of Planetarium

The text-only versions of pages in Planetarium are provided to make it easy for you to print a puzzle, without having problems with background colour or graphics. Note that there may be essential parts of the puzzle in illustrations and other parts of Planetarium which are not included on this page.

Tripod the Three-legged Cat:

Lose a limb and everyone you meet loses their focus. It works as surely for cats as it does for humans. Strangely, what should have been a cat becomes superseded by an event — “what happened?”  The cat knows how offensive this is: sometimes, he would like to preempt the people whom he meets by widening his eyes in ill-concealed distaste, and asking “what happened to you?”  But he doesn’t do any such thing. He’s only a cat (albeit the one favoured by the girl), and an idle one at that, so generally he spends his time being subjected to passive verbs — stroked, fed, carried — or else conserving his passive energy, sleeping. And in that sleep, he mostly dreams of a number whose length in letters matches its value, stride for stride.

But that missing leg continues to itch in your mind: so, yes, something did happen, and your insensitive curiousity will be rewarded to know that it was a little horrible, a little violent. Although the details will not be given outright here — or, indeed, anywhere else in Planetarium — you might in time come to learn how this cat came to be one paw short of the full quadruped; and why, if you want to keep your own limb count even, you would do well not to trail a leg over the side of a boat, or into a pond or pool, or even — if only the dangers had been clearer! — an innocent-looking goldfish bowl.

The number in the cat’s dreams is the keynumber for part ix

Planetarium is presented by Beholder: www.beholder.uk
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