Day 3: Dies Lunae O (Welsh: dydd Llun): Calcination

That orbed maiden, with white fire laden; whom mortals call the moon. Shelly

“You don’t reach Serendip by plotting a course for it. You have to set out in good faith for elsewhere and lose your bearings serendipitously.” John Barth

The moon is a natural satellite of Earth, with a diameter of 2,160 miles. Its gravity is 1/6 of Earth’s, and only 7 % of sunlight falling on the moon is reflected. While it may have little atmosphere or water, it influences our tides and perhaps our minds. The moon’s calendar (synodic month) is 29 ½ days long. When there are 2 full moons in a month─the 2nd one is a blue moon. The moon represents maid, mother, & crone, and higher aspects of feminine (yin) intuition and wisdom; it plays a significant role in fertility rites. The philosopher Anaxagoras was sentenced to death for dismissing the moon as nothing more than a lump of lifeless matter. The cow, goose, hare, wolf, & silver are associated with the moon, as are Artemis, Hecate, & Thoth. The Irish consider Monday the luckiest day of the week.

“Some Blue Mountain Monday” (title of poem by Patti Masterman)

The Oconaluftee River meanders through the Great Smoky Mountains much like the ancient energy lines that interlace our planet¾sometimes wide and powerful, sometimes faint and narrow. The knowledge of what these lines represent was lost or figuratively buried for centuries. In the early 1900’s, occultists, pagans, spiritually inclined seekers, and a handful of inquisitive people rediscovered old straight tracks.  They labeled these paths ‘ley’ lines, and pinpointed shrines, temples and later churches built at intersecting ley points. They attempted to tap and harness these mysterious, powerful sources of energy to help humankind evolve. Others tried to harness rays of light reaching earth from the moon. Early in the 21st century, research scientists seriously proposed building lunar powered solar disks to beam the suns energy via microwaves.

            The archaeologist and the historian strive to accomplish a similar goal—to analyze and understand lines of thoughts and threads of feelings, and indirectly influence human evolution. However, the archaeologist and historian don’t typically apply their knowledge to better humankind. That task falls to Psychiatrists and Psychologists. They help people become whole by diagnosing and treating mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders, or by tapping into and aligning a person’s 72,000 nadis, or nerve pathways. Their role, theoretically, is to help people evolve. Too often, they only succeed in helping people cope.

            Philosophers aren’t easily lumped with other disciplines. We’ve been described as people who fall in the gray area between mortals and gods (rock and film stars also find themselves on this Olympian’esque ledge). This is the realm of spirits and inbetweeners. Some philosophers only study the issue we all face—death. Most of us are concerned about life-death dichotomy. Schopenhauer, the wily German philosopher, said death was the ‘truly inspiring genius of philosophy.’

            My entire philosophy centered on solving the riddle posed by three letters of the alphabet: Y M I? I employed a reality-based methodology aided by unprovable inspired intuitions and synchronicities. Pursuit of these vague, elusive intuitions was more important than any philosophical doctrine I had read or been taught. I reasoned the purpose of understanding any doctrine was to attain comprehension and knowledge—and through knowledge—power and control over one’s destiny. It doesn’t end there. In freeing the mythos from the reality, endless incongruities are revealed. It’s maddening, though a sage once said freedom favored contradiction.

            Secrets and keys have been carefully guarded over the centuries—undisclosed information about our origins and means by which these secrets were recorded and passed forward. The alphabet is one such example. Did the Druids invent and hid the Beth-Luis-Nion alphabet from its people, or did they adapt what another culture had created? The Romans were determined to wipe out the Druid’s secret alphabet, which was also a lunar calendar and a solar map. They replaced it with a version of the 22 letter Phoenician alphabet. Romans also introduced formal literature and science to this race of magical, goddess worshipping, philosophically oriented people. At least, that’s what early stories related. Or did the Druids inherit their alphabet from a more ancient race? Through the telling, truths become vague and distorted; written translations of ancient records further distort truths.

            Life was an inscrutable paradox I vowed to understand fully. Answers to key questions would give me my own philosophical system, and secure for me a place in history. The misty, sunless Monday dawn would have offered an ideal palette for shaping that quest if there weren’t more pressing matters.

*****###*****####*****

Professor Beechum chuckled and reread Willy’s Monday morning monologue. It captured the essence of several of their conversations. Shortly after she became his teaching assistant, he started encouraging her to broaden her scope of study to increase her value and ability to obtain jobs with think tanks and Fortune 100 companies. The professor also reminded her that during wars and times of hardship, among the first to be imprisoned or killed were the teachers and instructors. That was one of the many secret truths. Other truths have been exposed, like the liberal use of alcohol, drugs, germs, and religion to subjugate races and inflict illness. Other means used included polluting the land and waterways, radiation leaks, withholding pay or forcing people to buy food and medical supplies from only one source. The darling secret of the 20th century was the psychological manipulation and influencing of the mind. The professor sighed—so many dirty little secrets practiced by humankind against one another. He hoped he’d taught her well. Or would she have pursued the psychology degree anyway—because of what she’d learned about her father—and perhaps about her naine?

*****###*****####*****

It was several days before I realized these men, whose destinies became tied to mine, were themselves paradoxes—lawbreakers who’d eluded capture by shunning a society that condemned them to a harsh existence behind the walls of one of the country’s worst prisons. Initially, they shared little with me but their names. They said they were tax evaders, hiding from the IRS. I suspected there was much more to their story, and drew the truth out bit by bit. For expediency, I relate essential details I learned during my time with Rath Tarosa and Vaughn Pitkin in the pages that follow. The morning I returned from what I’ve yet to find a name for, besides wilderness trek or surreal sojourn, I did some online research and confirmed many of the details posted below.

It wasn’t true their crimes were victimless. As prisoners at one of the 10 most notorious prisons in the US, I was surprised, though not terribly shocked to learn a five state county-by-county search had failed to uncover their escape route. Because of a computer glitch, their faces didn’t appear for weeks in the grainy ‘be on the lookout for’ images fed to countless fast food/gas mart videos, and many police stations within the initial 500-mile surveillance area. Naturally blond Vaughn had reddened and slickered his hair with some beet juice Rath bought at a bodega. He also bought some cassia powder, which temporarily turned his hair grey. As luck would have it, they made their prison escape on a Monday.

            Warden Ezra Icy must have been one of America’s most pissed off men.  No one had ever eluded him, no prisoner, no employee, not even his first wife. Vaughn and Rath had escaped from a place referred to as Icy’s Inferno. Warden Icy was consumed with a hatred for lawbreakers so intense it fed on his soul like flesh eating bacteria. It devoured what little was left of his heart; it deepened lines etched into his face and coursed through the pulsing veins of his neck. It made him slam drawers and heads; scream at his clerk; and call in favors. A news write up I stumbled upon stated the warden said that when Vaughn and Rath were returned to him, he vowed to inflict every means of suffering he could—and then some.

He publically stated the only way they would escape again would be in a Government-issue pressboard box. They would beg for such accommodations. They’d become D Block residents; their new roommates would be the worst of the worst. The cell he planned to put them in would freeze their balls in winter, and fry their ass’s in summer. They would get the full bouquet of fetid urine and excrement smells wafting from and leaking through the pipes.

To enlighten me regarding the terrible reality of prison life, Rath related a conversation he’d overheard regarding Cell Block D. It was a section of the prison talked about in whispers among the immates.

            “Eighth Amendment my ass,” Ezra said to his senior officer. “Make sure they get only water and nutraloaf—uniforms and bed sheets from the bottom of the dirty laundry, and no out of cell privileges—no work details, no yard time, no library. After that hunger strike stunt by Ferguson, you can put the entire D Block on half rations for the month.”

            Vaughn and Rath were an unlikely duo. Because of, rather than in spite of their many differences, they helped each other survive. To chase away depressing thoughts about their incarceration at a prison that made Alcatraz look like a mini resort, they plotted daring prison escapes. Ironically, none of the plotting was needed. They broke out of Warden Icy’s prison without implementing a single plan. As best as I could tell, their escape happened five and a half months earlier. It was Rath’s idea to head for the Smoky National Park’s upper reaches and wait out winter there. Vaughn was concerned hiding there would be as transparent as ‘finding a cop in a donut shop.’ Rath boasted he could write a book on how to hide—in plain sight—in the wilderness—or in a crowded city. He also said he had a passing acquaintance with the Smokies, but didn’t elaborate.

            Rath also remained silent about his cultural heritage and paternity during a time when many Americans were loud about being ‘black and proud.’ As one of the prison medics, Vaughn’s first encounter with Rath was in the infirmary. He was surprised when Rath refused pain meds after being slashed in the yard by fellow convicts that didn’t take kindly to his refusal to join their band of bros. Vaughn applied alcohol and antibiotic salve to a few minor cuts, and sewed up a nasty gash on his arm. He made small talk about his days as a college student and protestor. He said he’d treated many fellow classmates roughed up by local authorities. Vaughn asked Rath if he had any causes.

Rath stared straight ahead, unmoving, unflinching as Vaughn probed and cleaned the deep wound, then pierced subdural layers of skin with his needle. When Vaughn finished, Rath began to talk. In a monotone voice, he told Vaughn, for the record, he was spit out of the wind’s anus during a twister that flung him onto a barren piece of earth between Hopi and Zuni lands.  At age three, he said he suckled tequila at the breast of a prickly cactus. Snakes and lizards were his playmates, and occasionally—his dinner. That was his story. He had nothing to add.

Vaughn shared that he’d never been to the Southwest, but Rath’s description sounded like his mamma had an encounter with a Pecos Bill cyclone. He had read about contentious areas near the White and Ute Mountains and parts of the Grand Canyon that were sacred to the indigenous people that lived there long before the Spanish, French, or Pilgrims arrived. He casually asked Rath if he knew anything about the Indian tribes he had mentioned. He added Rath could pass as a red man as easily as a black man.

            Rath’s skin was the rich, soft color of brown mink; his dark eyes were flecked with umber and gold.  He just shrugged at Vaughn’s other questions. He said the desert sands had buffed his skin for 30 years.  He stood 6 foot, 3 inches and there was little hair on his arms and chest. He attracted women the way a magnet attracts iron shavings, but few women met his standards, according to Vaughn. It wasn’t he was picky about a woman’s race, weight, or the symmetry of her face. He was searching for a certain quality, something he couldn’t quite describe.

After a month in Icy’s Inferno, he realized his bodybuilder frame made him a marked man, a potential ‘bum chum’ cons would claim and abuse.  When they did, he’d have no choice but to slit their throats, or failing that, to slit his own.

            Vaughn had been at the Inferno almost five years when he met Rath. He was pale, with thinning blond hair, and as slight of build as Rath was muscled and dark. Through a combination of determination, previous first aid training, and timing, Vaughn landed a temporary job as caretaker/orderly of the prison’s medical infirmary. A visiting nurse and doctor came bi-monthly to deal with long-term illnesses and certain communicable diseases, serious stabbings, and injuries/sicknesses demanding hospitalization like appendicitis or skull fractures, as well as psychotic diagnoses requiring a transfer to a psychiatric hospital. Vaughn had to deal with the majority of complaints: rashes and respiratory infections, tooth extractions, botulism from bad hooch, drug overdoses, hepatitis, tuberculosis, broken bones, and soft tissue injuries.

The term infirmary was a stretch. It was a storage room near the kitchen. One end of the room held two canvas cots, separated by a shared, sun bleached orange plastic chair and three narrow wooden shelves crammed with paperbacks, linens, towels, and basic hygiene items like soap and disinfected, recycled toothbrushes and combs. At the other end, there was just enough room for a six-foot long metal utility table pushed against the wall, and a floor to ceiling stack of locked, battered metal storage cubes that contained the minimum rudimentary medical supplies required by law. The utility table served as an examining area, and the shelf beneath it held clean sheets, blankets, bandages, swabs, and some basic office supplies. An upturned milk crate held the clunky typewriter Vaughn used to type his medical reports for the doctor and warden. Above one cot hung a large, graphically illustrated basic first aid poster. Above the other bed was an oversized 12-month calendar the visiting nurse had donated. It highlighted a different type of flower for each month of the year, and always dangled crookedly despite efforts to right it.

            One evening, as Vaughn was tidying up and closing the infirmary for the evening, Rath was shoved through the door by two guards who tried their best to keep his free flowing blood off them. Vaughn was instructed to sew up a deep four-inch gash on Rath’s upper left arm and disinfect and patch numerous cuts and abrasions.  For the medical log and report, Rath said three other cons had cornered him, at the end of his shift, in a suddenly deserted laundry.  One of them waved a sharp object; the other two swung lengths of rusty chain.  Rath had an armful of sopping wet towels and the cunning and strength of a desert Puma. The pronounced vein that ran along the right side of his neck pulsed like a warning light the men failed to heed.

            In the manner of the game paper, scissors, rock, Raths’ wet towels snaked out and captured the chains the men wielded, while several uppercuts to the jaw knocked both of them out temporarily.  But the sharp object welded by the third man turned out to be a carpet utility knife. It ripped effortlessly through layers of towels and through Raths’ coarse woven shirt. It opened layers of smooth brown flesh, and connected with nerves and tendons.  The remaining man circled round the equipment, which was finally silent after a day of non-stop washing and drying. A bare bulb, suspended from a frayed cord, wobbled jauntily, illuminating dim recesses of the room, where clean bed laundry was folded in canvas bins, and five gallon containers of itch provoking cheap laundry detergent stood sentry. Laundry smells mingled with the primal sweat of aggression and the sweet iron odor of blood. 

            A knuckle punch opened up a partially healed gash on Rath’s opponent’s forehead, obscuring his vision.  Rath followed the punch with several vicious, bone crunching kicks to the man’s ribs and the carpet knife fell from his hands. One of the chain wielders staggered to his feet, and lunged. Rath delivered a decisive blow to the side of the man’s head. He watched him tumble into an empty laundry cart that danced across the floor.  Rath grabbed the knife that had clattered to the floor. He wedged it between loose wooden boards that framed the row of washing machines.  It blended in perfectly. He might need it again. He walked to the gate, pushed the emergency button to summon the guard, and stood at watchful attention. He pressed a clean towel against the gaping cut on his arm. The towel soon turned red.

            When the guards arrived, Rath would only say, “They was fighting each other. I tried to break it up; they attacked me.”  All three men required immediate hospitalization. None of them would confirm any details about the fight. After a night on the cot in the infirmary, Rath got thirty days of solitary.  He said it was the closest thing to a vacation he had in years.

            Vaughn disinfected Raths’ wounds, sewed him up again, offered a few pills for the pain, and apologized for not having any antibiotic meds, just the salve. Then he did something unexpected. He thanked Rath. Those men, Vaughn revealed, as well as other cons at the Inferno, had attacked him during his first few months here, before he got the Infirmary job.

            The third man Rath had fought with, the one that had four broken ribs, a broken arm, and a serious concussion, stayed an entire week in the county hospital.  When he was brought back to Icy’s Inferno, he was placed in a holding cell overnight near the infirmary. The following day he was to be transferred to solitary for 30 days. However, when the guard came to move the man in the morning, he was dead. He had hung himself with ripped up bed sheets. If anyone knew anything different, no one was saying. Quite frankly, no one cared.

            When Rath returned from the hole, most of the cons steered clear of him. He might as well have had Jack the Giant Killer’s sash across his chest. During meals, no one sat at his end of the table. He was switched from laundry to kitchen duty, and the head cook soon realized Rath had two important skills—an ability to stretch food further and a genuine talent for making it taste better. Word went out, ‘hands off the new cook.’ There were few pleasures in prison—anyone that could make the mediocre crap they were served taste better and go farther was elevated in con status.

            Vaughn worked diligently in the infirmary. He assisted the doctor, asked questions about follow up care, and patched up endless gashes and sprained or broken bones the cons amassed fighting among themselves, or because they had irritated a guard or trustee. A quick learner, the doctor allowed Vaughn to set bones, stitch wounds, and administer a few medications and shots.

            When he could, Vaughn stashed away pills he stole from the doctor’s medical bag, and swore he’d find a way to break out of Icy’s Inferno. He did what he could to protect himself, but his slight frame was no match against fellow inmates, especially when more than one jumped him at the same time. After meeting Rath, life, however bleak it was, started looking up. When Vaughn learned his current cellmate was being paroled, he asked Icy’s first officer if Rath could be moved into his cell.

            In what seemed like another lifetime, Vaughn said he had been a Chemistry Professor at a sleepy mid-west college. He had a small following of devoted students who liked to hear about his rebellious college days. The stories he shared were soon labeled the “Creative Living Through Chemistry Capers.”

            In one escapade, Vaughn told his students he hooked up a still in the lab and produced white lightning from prune juice, potato peels, and other easy to come by edibles he took from the nursing home kitchen where he worked part-time. One day he poured a mason jar’s worth of white lightening into a punch being offered to nursing home residents, along with cake, in honor of one of the residents reaching 90. Dazed, nearly catatonic patients were suddenly full of energy and garrulous. Unfortunately, Vaughn, on duty that night, had his hands full of inebriated, impossible to control old folks. 

            Barely 13, he’d picketed with friends at Kent State the day the National Guard gunned down four students. In college, he didn’t join a fraternity. He had a typical assortment of friends, and a fair share of girls willing to share his bed. In addition to supplying his buddies with bootleg liquor for their parties, he used his Chemistry knowledge to cook-up practical jokes—candy that painted mouths ruby red or caused his buddies to piss blue urine; white soap that turned hands black; sugar that foamed and overflowed coffee cups and glasses of ice tea; and shiny undergarments that disintegrated upon contact with moisture.

            After graduation, he accepted a job at another quiet college, and lost touch with most of his college friends. They married or moved away. Vaughn’s only sibling, a sister, nearly ten years older, lived in western Florida, near his parents. She and Vaughn had never been close. To him, she was too conventional. To her, he had been pampered and indulged growing up, and didn’t show proper respect or gratitude to their parents. When they died, his sister inherited their house and furnishings. Vaughn received a small amount of cash and a pristine Ford Mustang. He thought the division of his parent’s property fair. They’d paid for his education, which bought him freedom from the simple, predictable life his sister lived.

            I surmised Vaughn convinced himself he was ready to assume the yoke of responsibility, raise a family, and pass on his father’s name when his hair started to thin. Somehow, the right woman never materialized. Vaughn said he concentrated on making tenure, and took up mountain climbing as a serious hobby. He also considered earning another degree, in Geology. Rocks became his new passion.

            One early lock down night at the Inferno, Vaughn recounted to Rath the event he’d been a part of, which got him arrested and incarcerated. A few students asked him if it was possible to build a bomb. Not only was it possible, it was easy, he told them. Unknown to him, according to his trial testimony, these students were part of a radical group. They took Vaughn’s recipe and built a bomb that blew up the head office of a mining company in Montana. It was irrelevant the mining company had been exploiting its employees for decades. Six employees died in the blast; three more were seriously injured.

            Only one of his former students was caught. During the trial, the student proudly named Vaughn as the man who made the bomb and directed the logistics that enabled them to blow up the mine’s onsite office. At his sentencing, no amount of reasoning could convince the judge it was a teacher’s duty to instruct, and that’s was all he’d done. He had no knowledge of what the students planned to do with what he’d told them. Ironically, Vaughn learned that you could now download the recipe for building any number of bombs. So why was he here—serving 15-20 years minimum?

            That was the story he related to Rath, who never offered much about his own past or the arrest that landed him at the Inferno. He appreciated Vaughn’s skill with a needle, and his quick talking to get him transferred to Vaugh’s cell. Slowly, during the months that followed, Vaughn disclosed other details about his life, and prodded Rath to reveal what had brought him to this Calcutta’esque hole.

            Rath’s usual response was being a bona fide killer was all anyone needed to know. He encouraged Vaughn to bulk up “his puny form” by lifting weights. Vaughn slipped a few high ranking inmates some meds now and then, and with Rath as his roommate, he felt relatively safe. One night, a few months later, right before lights out, Rath finished re-reading a well-thumbed book. In one of his rare talkative moments, he told Vaughn “if I ever get free of this place, I’m going to high country and stay there─away from people, away from rules.”

            “You’re going to break out of here and get high? I didn’t know you indulged.  I’ve given the subject some thought too—breaking out, I mean.  Once I’m liberated, I’m putting maximum distance between me and Icy’s ass—Mexico for starters, then I’ll keep heading south, to Argentina or Boliva. I took Spanish in high school.”

            “I mean high country, like what this author was talking about.” Rath banged his hand on the book, then drew a triangle in the air. “Spaces free of technology, unpatrolled land where you make your own laws, freedom to jus be.” Rath lowered his voice, and continued. “Air that ain’t tainted—clearness, so you see all the stars, live right, and thinks like the ancient folk.”

            “Yeah, mountains, I think you have something there. Did I mention I’m a mountain climber—fairly agile—and fast?” Vaughn jumped off the upper bunk, perched the toe of his foot at the edge of his roommate’s bed, and spread his arms. Rath’s back was pressed against the concrete wall; he waited for Vaughn to continue.

            “Man, I’ve scaled the Snow Dome, and scrambled up a few sizable hills in the Rockies, on the Canadian side. Now—how we going climb out of here?”

            A guard passed by and shined his light in the cell next to theirs. Vaughn leaned in close to Rath, “Huey’s probably stroking his madam. Not an inch of privacy in the damn joint. So when are we shaking free?”  They spoke in low tones about a few ideas. Vaughn confided he had a secret stash of pills. Rath disclosed there was stuff in the kitchen—drain cleaner, cans of pepper, and heavy glass jars that could be made into weapons to overpower the guards. Rath knew where he could get hold of a ‘sticking’ knife too. They fell asleep dreaming about effortlessly scaling tall, unguarded prison walls, only to fall into moats full of snapping crocodiles and slithering serpents. Both men knew they would never sleep easily until they were free of this prison.

            Their opportunity to escape came less than a week later. Through a series of incredible scheduling mistakes, including two guards calling in sick, a substitute guard showing up an hour late, the arrival of the trash collection truck on the wrong day, and a mysterious kitchen grease fire, both Vaughn and Rath were able to slip through the service doors at the back of the kitchen at the end of the evening shift. They climbed into the trash truck, fashioned temporary suits out of 30 gallon plastic trash bags, and hid among a week’s worth of bagged garbage.

             The two men rode out of Warden Icy’s prison under cover of darkness and jumped from the truck about 20 miles down the road. They exchanged their prison rags for slightly damp, freshly laundered athletic jogging suits pulled off back yard clotheslines, and used an outdoor hose to give each other a quick, chilly sitz bath. Rath scattered the shredded remnants of their uniforms in several dumpsters at the back of greasy fast food joints a mile down the road. For good measure, they dumped a coffee can of old, lumpy white paint over the garbage. Between them, they had $140 in cash. Vaughn had sold pills to inmates and a few guards. Rath wouldn’t say where his money came from.

Posing as fitness trainers, they hitched a ride with a group of drunk Shriner’s headed south to their annual meeting in Myrtle Beach. It wasn’t until a much delayed 1 am bed check the guards realized three inmates weren’t in their cells. Two guards had been injured helping to put out the kitchen fire, and one inmate was dead. By then, Rath and Vaughn were three states away, bound for the Tennessee/North Carolina border and the Smoky Mountains.

*****###*****####*****

Lieutenant Frankel had slipped a hand written police report between pages of the manuscript. It detailed the phone calls he’d made on two occasions to Warden Icy’s office. Both times he’d been told all other prisoners were accounted for. No other prisoner had ever escaped during Warden Icy’s eleven year tenure. The rest of the sheet described the steps Frankel had taken to research the crimes the men had allegedly committed. He did find information about the bombing in Montana, but few details about what landed Rath in prison. He planned to drive to Chicago, where Rath had been arrested and tried, in the near future, and had ordered a background check on several building companies that had been cited for OSHA violations.

Professor Beechum stroked his chin and tugged on his ear lob, a nervous habit he’d acquired during his college years. These men seemed to have uncanny luck. Was it serendipitous that Wilhelmina and these men encountered each other in a 522,000 acre forest? He recalled a disagreement they had about the science of luck versus serendipity. While he initially dismissed both, and most of his students agreed there was no such thing, she was able to provide examples of amazing scientific breakthroughs, or as she called it ‘lucky insights leading to amazing innovations.’ She argued it was a skill that can be honed; it was essential to our evolution. Examples included the invention of post it notes, quinine, Velcro, the microwave, and penicillin’s discovery. This life saving find occurred when scientist Alexander Fleming sneezed into a petri dish and destroyed bacteria samples being studied. He won the Nobel prize in 1945. Fleming remarked he only found what nature made, what he wasn’t looking for. Coincidently, Nobel was the accidental inventor of dynamite.

The professor sat back in his chair. That same night, at a gathering in the local pub, between sips of stout and forkfuls of Shepherd’s Pie, she regaled them with stories about the Three Princes of Serendip, aka Sri Lanka. The princes’ father hired a group of specialized scholars to teach his sons, and then sent them into the world where they had many adventures and fortuitous, accidental encounters. They became skilled in detection and adept in solving mysteries. Horace Walpole read about the princes tales and coined the term serendipity in 1754. Aloud he asked, ‘just what did you find that you weren’t looking for Wilhelmina; what indeed?’

end Part 1 of Chapter 3, to be continued…