THE MYTH OF ICHABOD
There once was a huge boulder, perched precariously, on the
edge of a cliff. For hundreds of years this boulder was there,
rocking and swaying, but always keeping its balance just perfectly.
But one year, there happened to be a sever windstorm; severe enough
it was, to topple the boulder from its majectic height and dash it
to the bottom cf the cliff, far far below. Needless to say, the
boulder was smashed into many pieces. Where it hit, the ground was
covered with a carpet of pebbles--some small and some large--but
pebbles and pebbles and more pebbles for as far as you could walk
in an hour.
One day, after all this, a young man by the name of Ichabod
happened on the area. Being a fellow of keen mind and observational
powers, naturally he was quite astounded to see so many stones
scattered so closely on the ground. Now, Ichabod was very much
interested in the nature of things, and he spent the whole afternoon
looking at pebbles, and measuring the size of pebbles, and feeling
the weight of pebbles, and just pondering about pebbles in general.
He spent the night there, not wanting to lose this miraculous
find, and awoke the next morning full of enthusiasm. He spent
many days on his carpet of stones.
Eventually he noticed a very strange thing. There were three
rather large stones on the carpet and they formed a triangle--
almost (but not quite) equilateral. He was amazed. Looking further
he found four very white stones that were arranged in a lopsided
square. Then he saw that by disregarding one white stone and
thinking of that grey stone a foot over instead, it was a perfect
square! And if you chose this stone, and that stone, and that one,
and that one and that one you have a pentagon as large as the tri-
angle. And here a small hexagon. And there a square partially
inside of the hexagon. And a decagon. And two triangles inter-
locked. And a circle. And a smaller circle within the circle.
And a triangle within that which has a red stone, a grey stone and
a white stone.
Ichabod spent many hours finding many designs that became
more and more complicated as his powers of observation grew with
practice. Then he began to log his designs in a large leather
book; and as he counted designs and described them, the pages
began to fill as the sun continued to return.
He had begun his second ledger when a friend came by. His
friend was a poet and also interested in the nature of things.
"My friend," cried Ichabod, "come quickly! I have discovered
the most wonderous thing in the universe." The poet hurried over
to him, quite anxious to see what it was.
Ichabod showed him the carpet of stones...but the poet only
laughed and said "It's nothing but scattered rocks!"
"But look," said Ichabod, 'see this triangle and that [square]
and that and that." And he proceeded to show his friend the