And just as our Tribes were poised to rush against each other, as their numbers increased and resources dwindled, and storms grew more violent and more prolonged – finally the planet Beelzabaloola reached down and made contact. It had always intended to do this, if the need got great; and the time had finally arrived.
An arrangement was made (though humanity was not told about it, for humanity would have argued,) that each person who was really in need would be whisked up to Beelzabaloola, and there given a particular cure: for a hundred days and nights, in Earth-time, he or she would be held gently in the embrace of a satiny and loving Giantess; a motherly being who carried none of the faults of earthly mothers, and many more virtues. These Giantesses numbered only one hundred, and they sat amidst huge foliage in a warm and fragrant land, where they rested all day on gargantuan leaf-mats and hugged whomsoever came along – be it creature (for there were many splendid beasts and birds there too) or stray traveller from another place.
While these Giantesses hugged, they beamed; and the hugged one felt as if the Giantess was loving particularly him, or her, and no-one else; that the vast honey-colored Beneficence could see the soul of the creature that lay in her massive arms, and looked kindly on it, and felt that it was an excellent soul altogether.
And then, at evening, the hugged creature was loosed to go to the clear cool lake nearby, and drink, or swim; or hike about on trails that led here and there under the trees. And then in the shade a feast was served, of the fine fruits and vegetables that grew nearby; and flowers too; sweet and many and shaped like whatever would make you laugh before you ate it.
And in the night, the hugged could return for more if they liked, or could choose to lie alone on a mat in the warm forest and sleep. And, next day, the hugging commenced again.
As these cures went on, people relaxed out of all recognition. Their flesh seemed to come away from their bones; their faces lost whatever tensings and grimaces they had worn, and smoothed out like a babe’s. A sort of hum seemed to enter their bodies, and all processes proceeded upon that hum; time seemed to dissolve away, and a music was heard, though very faintly, in the ears – as if it came from very far away, and very close by, at once, and made the very heart tender and touched with awe.
And after a hundred days of this the person was healed – his very bones had remembered his joy in being, his connection to all things. He was goofy and grinning – he could not stop himself even if he’d tried – and he was then, all at once, returned to Earth to stay, until his time was up there too.
And, of course, his return was a very different thing than his departure. He now glowed goodness on his family, and sat outside a lot, in the back garden, just gazing at the plants; and often did not go to work at all.
There was now a mandate upon the Planet Beelzabaloola, to bring there each soul who needed this medicine; and they were many. And so the oldest ones were taken first, for they might not have so long there more, and it would be best if they took with them their cure, so that their next steps would be lovelier, and clearer, and more calm. After them, then, would come the leaders – from every nation without exception; for their need was great.
But there were only a hundred giantesses, and so many feeble, confused, tired-out old folks! And then so many leaders and aspiring leaders, men who lusted after boss-hood, who badly needed marinating in the nectars of the Giantesses’ emanations. What could be done?
There had to be a way to adjust the different timings of the two planets, so that a hundred days on one would be very different than a hundred days on the other; so that in a breath or a whisker of Earth-time, a hundred Beelzabaloola days could occur, much to the good of all.
The idea was put forth, there on Beelzabaloola, that if children were also brought, their expanded sense s could perhaps help the ancient ones, with their compressed hours and years, to adjust backwards a little bit. And so this was tried; for each ancient one in the arms of a Giantess, a child played nearby. Some help was given by this – the elder relaxed more quickly, and the children throve and played enthusiastically. But still a great discrepancy remained.
And so animals were also brought – a cat, a donkey, a dog – whose sense of time is mysterious; and sometimes a Giantess might be cuddling an Ancient, a small child, and a cat, and perhaps a lemur too, all at once; with room for more. And this was very pleasant for all concerned; though the cats often preferred to sit on the Giantess’s shoulder, and gaze upon all about it, and purr; and the lemur might loop his tail about an overhanging branch, and do acrobatics, just to keep things lively.
But the Planet Earth was wobbling towards warfare in so many places that the people and animals that were being returned to it full of benevolence and good cheer were nothing compared to the general ire. And so the planet Beelzabaloola thought and thought about things…and it was a knotty problem indeed.
They solved it – oh yes indeed, they solved it – as we know. For when we look out from our open houses into the forest, the brightest of birds have come back to us; and our labours are gentle, and enough to feed us; but we no longer wrestle and hustle towards hard-edged things and volcanically-cratered dooms. And we have got the habit of hugging; and on our warm planet it has not left us, in all these hundreds of years.
But how did time get fixed, so that each one who needed the cure, could receive it? And all could breathe and beam again?
Nobody knows exactly – perhaps that sort of thing is a bit beyond us, still – but I have been told that it had something to do with a piano (just an analogy mind you, for there were no pianos on Beelzabaloola;) and the space between the keys.