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The Blue Tower   By: (1927-2000)

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As the vastly advanced guardians of mankind, the Belphins knew how to make a lesson stick but whom?

Illustrated by DICK FRANCIS

Transcriber's Note: This etext was produced from Galaxy, February, 1958. Extensive research did not reveal any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.

Minor typographical errors have been corrected without note.

Ludovick Eversole sat in the golden sunshine outside his house, writing a poem as he watched the street flow gently past him. There were very few people on it, for he lived in a slow part of town, and those who went in for travel generally preferred streets where the pace was quicker.

Moreover, on a sultry spring afternoon like this one, there would be few people wandering abroad. Most would be lying on sun kissed white beaches or in sun drenched parks, or, for those who did not fancy being either kissed or drenched by the sun, basking in the comfort of their own air conditioned villas.

Some would, like Ludovick, be writing poems; others composing symphonies; still others painting pictures. Those who were without creative talent or the inclination to indulge it would be relaxing their well kept golden bodies in whatever surroundings they had chosen to spend this particular one of the perfect days that stretched in an unbroken line before every member of the human race from the cradle to the crematorium.

Only the Belphins were much in evidence. Only the Belphins had duties to perform. Only the Belphins worked.

Ludovick stretched his own well kept golden body and rejoiced in the knowing that he was a man and not a Belphin. Immediately afterward, he was sorry for the heartless thought. Didn't the Belphins work only to serve humanity? How ungrateful, then, it was to gloat over them! Besides, he comforted himself, probably, if the truth were known, the Belphins liked to work. He hailed a passing Belphin for assurance on this point.

Courteous, like all members of his species, the creature leaped from the street and listened attentively to the young man's question. "We Belphins have but one like and one dislike," he replied. "We like what is right and we dislike what is wrong."

"But how can you tell what is right and what is wrong?" Ludovick persisted.

"We know ," the Belphin said, gazing reverently across the city to the blue spire of the tower where The Belphin of Belphins dwelt, in constant communication with every member of his race at all times, or so they said. "That is why we were placed in charge of humanity. Someday you, too, may advance to the point where you know , and we shall return whence we came."

"But who placed you in charge," Ludovick asked, "and whence did you come?" Fearing he might seem motivated by vulgar curiosity, he explained, "I am doing research for an epic poem."

A lifetime spent under their gentle guardianship had made Ludovick able to interpret the expression that flitted across this Belphin's frontispiece as a sad, sweet smile.

"We come from beyond the stars," he said. Ludovick already knew that; he had hoped for something a little more specific. "We were placed in power by those who had the right. And the power through which we rule is the power of love! Be happy!"

And with that conventional farewell (which also served as a greeting), he stepped onto the sidewalk and was borne off. Ludovick looked after him pensively for a moment, then shrugged. Why should the Belphins surrender their secrets to gratify the idle curiosity of a poet?

Ludovick packed his portable scriptwriter in its case and went to call on the girl next door, whom he loved with a deep and intermittently requited passion.

As he passed between the tall columns leading into the Flockhart courtyard, he noted with regret that there were quite a number of Corisande's relatives present, lying about sunning themselves and sipping beverages which probably touched the legal limit of intoxicatability... Continue reading book >>

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