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THE SOUND MACHINE

 

Pre-Reading Tasks

 

T a s k 1.

a) Have a look at the way some things were invented. Match the description of the invention itself and how it was made.

1. At a wine harvest festival the inventor noticed a wine press and saw it as a way to print evenly from hundreds of individual letters. 2. Developed from the bizarre suggestion of a radio death ray for shooting down planes. 3. It was originally invented in 1891 as a way to do up boots, but was later exploited by the US Navy as a means to fasten up flying suits. An Austrian surgeon extended its use, when he sewed one into a man’s stomach so that it was instantly accessible for internal dressings! 4. This was invented by an Irish schoolmaster in New York with the intention of sinking the British Navy.   a) the submarine   b) the printing press   c) the radar d) the zip/ zipper

 

b) How do inventors come up with new ideas? What qualities are necessary to make an invention?

 

T a s k 2. Which of the following cases seems the most unusual to you?

· This man claims that the cells in his body have switched their DNA programming from death to life. Many people, especially the elderly, have paid him considerable sums of money to obtain his secret of eternal life.

· This organisation freezes its ‘patients’ immediately after clinical death in the hope that science will find a way to revitalize such people in the future and rejuvenate their bodies. The patients pay around $150,000 for this privilege.

· This person claims that he has made a machine that gives possibility to travel through time: back to the past and forward to the future.

 

Supposing what these people claim is true – what would the consequences be? Is it typical for people to consider all unconventional thinkers insane?

 

 

T a s k 3.

a ) Study the words and expressions that will help you understand the story better:

Deftly adj – skillfully, quickly

Curious, inquisitive adj – wanting to find out about things

Animated adj – lively, excited

Inanimate adj – not living

Audible adj – able to be heard

Inaudible adj – too quiet to be heard

Toinorspurlorplinuckment – words invented by the author in order to show how plants might express their feelings.

Fool around v – behave in a playful or silly way

Be up to v – to do; to be able to do something

Stitch up v – join or mend by sewing or stitching

 

b) Study the expressions that show different feelings and emotions.

Good heavens, man! My goodness! Oh, my God Great heavens! Oh hell! For God’s sake – a phrase expressing surprise or irritation. – an expression of surprise. – a phrase used to emphasise the words which follow. – an exclamation expressing great surprise or shock, used for emphasis. – an expression of annoyance or anger, used for emphasis. – an exclamation used to emphasise what is being said.

 



*****

 

THE SOUND MACHINE

(by Roald Dahl)

 

It was a warm summer evening and Klausner walked quickly through the front gate and around the side of the house and into the garden at the back. He went on down the garden until he came to a wooden shed and he unlocked the door, went inside and closed the door behind him.

The interior of the shed was an unpainted room. Against one wall, on the left, there was a long wooden workbench, and on it, among a littering of wires and batteries and small sharp tools, there stood a black box about three feet long, the shape of a child’s coffin.

Klausner moved across the room to the box. The top of the box was open, and he bent down and began to poke and peer inside it among a mass of different-coloured wires and silver tubes. He picked up a piece of paper that lay beside the box, studied it carefully, put it down, peered inside the box and started running his fingers along the wires, tugging gently at them to test the connections, glancing back at the paper, then into the box, then at the paper again checking each wire. He did this for perhaps an hour.

Then he put a hand around to the front of the box where there were three dials, and he began to twiddle them, watching at the same time the movement of the mechanism inside the box. All the while he kept speaking softly to himself, nodding his head, smiling sometimes, his hands always moving, the fingers moving swiftly, deftly, inside the box, his mouth twisting into curious shapes when a thing was delicate or difficult to do, saying, “Yes… Yes… And now this one… Yes… Yes. But is this right? Is it – where’s my diagram?... Ah, yes… Of course… Yes, yes ... That’s right… And now… Good… Good… Yes… Yes, yes, yes.” His concentration was intense; his movements were quick; there was an air of urgency about the way he worked, of breathlessness, of strong suppressed excitement.

Suddenly he beard footsteps on the gravel path outside and he straightened and turned swiftly as the door opened and a tall man came in. It was Scott. It was only Scott, the Doctor.

“Well, well, well,” the Doctor said. “So this is where you hide yourself in the evenings.”

“Hullo, Scott,” Klausner said.

“I happened to be passing,” the Doctor told him, “so I dropped in to see how you were. There was no one in the house, so I came on down here. How’s that throat of yours been behaving?”

“It’s all right. It’s fine.”

“Now I’m here I might as well have a look at it.”

“Please don’t trouble. I’m quite cured. I’m fine.”

The Doctor began to feel the tension in the room. He looked at the black box on the bench; then he looked at the man. “You’ve got your hat on,” he said.

“Oh, have I?” Klausner reached up, removed the hat and put it on the bench.

The Doctor came up closer and bent down to look into the box. “What’s this?” he said. “Making a radio?”

“No, just fooling around.”

“It’s got rather complicated looking innards.”

“Yes.” Klausner seemed tense and distracted.

“What is it?” the Doctor asked. “It’s rather a frightening-looking thing, isn’t it?”

“It’s just an idea.”

“Yes?”

“It has to do with sound, that’s all.”

“Good heavens, man! Don’t you get enough of that sort of thing all day in your work?”

“I like sound.”

“So it seems.” The Doctor went to the door, turned, and said, “Well, I won’t disturb you. Glad your throat’s not worrying you any more.” But he kept standing there looking at the box, intrigued by the remarkable complexity of its inside, curious to know what this strange patient of his was up to. “What’s it really for?” he asked. “You’ve made me inquisitive.”

Klausner looked down at the box, then at the Doctor, and he reached up and began gently to scratch the lobe of his right ear. There was a pause. The Doctor stood by the door, waiting, smiling.

“All right, I’ll tell you, if you’re interested.” There was another pause, and the Doctor could see that Klausner was having trouble about how to begin.

He was shifting from one foot to the other, tugging at the lobe of his ear, looking at his feet, and then at last, slowly, he said, “Well, it’s like this… the theory is very simple really .The human ear… you know that it can’t hear everything. There are sounds that are so low-pitched or so high-pitched that it can’t hear them.”

“Yes,” the Doctor said. “Yes.”

“Well, speaking very roughly any note so high that it has more than fifteen thousand vibrations a second – we can’t hear it. Dogs have better ears than us. You know you can buy a whistle whose note is so high-pitched that you can’t hear it at all. But a dog can hear it.”

“Yes, I’ve seen one,” the Doctor said.

“Of course you have. And up the scale, higher than the note of that whistle, there is another note – a vibration if you like, but I prefer to think of it as a note. You can’t hear that one either. And above that there is another and another rising right up the scale for ever and ever and ever, an endless succession of notes… an infinity of notes… there is a note – if only our ears could hear it – so high that it vibrates a million times a second… and another a million times as high as that… on and on, higher and higher, as far as numbers go, which is… infinity… eternity… beyond the stars.”

Klausner was becoming more animated every moment. He was a frail man, nervous and twitchy, with always moving hands. His large head inclined towards his left shoulder as though his neck were not quite strong enough to support it rigidly. His face was smooth and pale, almost white, and the pale-grey eyes that blinked and peered from behind a pair of steel spectacles were bewildered, unfocused, remote. He was a frail, nervous, twitchy little man, a moth of a man, dreamy and distracted; suddenly fluttering and animated; and now the Doctor, looking at that strange pale face and those pale-grey eyes, felt that somehow there was about this little person a quality of distance, of immense immeasurable distance, as though the mind were far away from where the body was.

The Doctor waited for him to go on. Klausner sighed and clasped his hands tightly together. “I believe,” he said, speaking more slowly now, “that there is a whole world of sound about us all the time that we cannot hear. It is possible that up there in those high-pitched inaudible regions there is a new exciting music being made, with subtle harmonies and fierce grinding discords, a music so powerful that it would drive us mad if only our ears were tuned to hear the sound of it. There maybe anything... for all we know there may – ”

“Yes,” the Doctor said. “But it’s not very probable.”

“Why not? Why not?” Klausner pointed to a fly sitting on a small roll of copper wire on the workbench. “You see that fly? What sort of noise is that fly making now? None – that one can hear. But for all we know the creature may be whistling like mad on a very high note, or barking or croaking or singing a song. It’s got a mouth, hasn’t it? It’s got a throat?”

The Doctor looked at the fly and he smiled. He was still standing by the door with his hands on the doorknob. “Well,” he said. “So you’re going to check up on that?”

“Some time ago,” Klausner said, “I made a simple instrument that proved to me the existence of many odd inaudible sounds. Often I have sat and watched the needle of my instrument recording the presence of sound vibrations in the air when I myself could hear nothing. And those are the sounds I want to listen to. I want to know where they come from and who or what is making them.”

“And that machine on the table there,” the Doctor said, “is that going to allow you to hear these noises?”

“It may. Who knows? So far, I’ve had no luck. But I’ve made some changes in it and tonight I’m ready for another trial. This machine,” he said, touching it with his hands, “is designed to pick up sound vibrations that are too high-pitched for reception by the human ear, and to convert them to a scale of audible tones. I tune it in, almost like a radio.”

“How d’you mean?”

“It isn’t complicated. Say I wish to listen to the squeak of a bat. That’s a fairly high-pitched sound – about thirty thousand vibrations a second. The average human ear can’t quite hear it. Now, if there were a bat flying around this room and I tuned in to thirty thousand on my machine, I would hear the squeaking of that bat very clearly. I would even hear the correct note – F sharp, or B flat, or whatever it might be – but merely at a much 1ower pitch. Don’t you understand?”

The Doctor looked at the long, black coffin-box. “And you’re going to try it tonight?”

“Yes.”

“Well, I wish you luck.” He glanced at his watch. “My goodness!” he said, “I must fly. Good-bye. Thank you for telling me. I must call again sometime and find out what happened.” The Doctor went out and closed the door behind him.

For a while longer, Klausner fussed about with the wires in the black box; then he straightened up and in a soft excited whisper said, “Now we’ll try again… We’ll take, it out into the garden this time… and then perhaps… perhaps… the reception will be better. Lift it up now… carefully… Oh, my God, it’s heavy!” He carried the box to the door, found that he couldn’t open the door without putting it down, carried it back, put it on the bench, opened the door, and then carried it with some difficulty into the garden. He placed the box carefully on a small wooden table that stood on the lawn. He returned to the shed and fetched a pair of earphones. He plugged the wire connections from the earphones into the machine and put the earphones over his ears. The move­ments of his hands were quick and precise. He was excited, and breathed loudly and quickly through his mouth. He kept on talking to himself with little words of comfort and encouragement, as though he were afraid – afraid that the machine might not work and afraid also of what might happen if it did.

He stood there in the garden beside the wooden table, so pale, small, and thin that he looked like an ancient, consumptive, bespec­tacled child. The sun had gone down. There was no wind, no sound at all. From where he stood, he could see over a low fence into the next garden, and there was a woman walking down the garden with a flower-basket on her arm. He watched her for a while without thinking about her at all. Then he turned to the box on the table and pressed a switch on its front. He put his left hand on the volume control and his right hand on the knob that moved a needle across a large central dial, like the wavelength dial of a radio. The dial was marked with many numbers, in a series of bands, starting at 15,000 and going on up to 1,000,000.

And now he was bending forward over the machine. His head was cocked to one side in a tense, listening attitude. His right hand was beginning to turn the knob. The needle was travelling slowly across the dial, so slowly he could hardly see it move, and in the earphones he could hear a faint, spasmodic crackling.

Behind this crackling sound he could hear a distant humming tone which was the noise of the machine itself, but that was all. As he listened, he became conscious of a curious sensation, a feeling that his ears were stretching out away from his head, that each car was connected to his head by a thin stiff wire, like a tentacle, and that the wires were lengthening, that the ears were going up and up towards a secret and forbidden territory, a dangerous ultrasonic region where ears had never been before and had no right to be.

The little needle crept slowly across the dial, and suddenly he heard a shriek, a frightful piercing shriek, and he jumped and dropped his hands, catching hold of the edge of the table. He stared around him as if expecting to see the person who had shrieked. There was no one in sight except the woman in the garden next door, and it was certainly not she. She was bending down, cutting yellow roses and putting them in her basket.

Again it came – a throatless, inhuman shriek, sharp and short, very clear and cold. The note itself possessed a minor, metallic quality that he had never heard before. Klausner looked around him, searching instinctively for the source of the noise. The woman next door was the only living thing in sight. He saw her reach down; take a rose stem in the fingers of one hand and snip the stem with a pair of scissors. Again he heard the scream.

It came at the exact moment when the rose stem was cut.

At this point, the woman straightened up, put the scissors in the basket with the roses and turned to walk away.

“Mrs Saunders!” Kausner shouted, his voice shrill with excitement. “Oh, Mrs Saunders!”

And looking round, the woman saw her neighbour standing on his lawn – a fantastic, arm-waving little person with a pair of earphones on his head – calling to her in a voice so high and loud that she became alarmed.

“Cut another one! Please cut another one quickly!”

Mrs Saunders had always believed her neighbour to be a rather peculiar person; now it seemed that he had gone completely crazy. She wondered whether he should run into the house and fetch her husband. No, she thought. No, he’s harmless. I’ll just humour him. “Certainly, Mr Klausner, if you like,” she said. She took her scissors from the basket and snipped another rose.

Again Klausner heard that frightful, throatless shriek in the earphones; again it came at the exact moment the rose stem was cut. He took off the earphones and ran to the fence that separated the two gardens. “All right,” he said “That’s enough. No more. Please, no more.”

The woman stood there, a yellow rose in one hand, clippers in the other, looking at him.

“I’m going to tell you something, Mrs Saunders,” he said, “some­thing that you won’t believe.” He put his hands on top of the fence and peered at her intently through his thick spectacles. “You have, this evening, cut a basketful of rose. You have with a sharp pair of scissors cut through the stems of living things, and each rose that you cut screamed in the most terrible way. Did you know that, Mrs Saunders?”

“No,” she said. “I certainly didn’t know that.”

“It happens to be true,” he said. He was breathing rather rapidly, but he was trying to control his excitement. “I heard them shrieking. Each time you cut one, I heard the cry of pain. A very high-pitched sound, approximately one hundred and thirty-two thousand vibra­tions a second. You couldn’t possibly have heard it yourself. But I heard it.”

“Did you really, Mr Klausner?” She decided she would make a dash for the house in about five seconds.

“You might say,” he went on, “that a rose bush has no nervous system to feel with, no throat to cry with. You’d be right. It hasn’t. Not like ours, anyway. But how do you know, Mrs Saunders” – and here he leaned far over the fence and spoke in a fierce whisper – “how do you know that a rose bush doesn’t feel as much pain when someone cuts its stem in two as you would feel if someone cut your wrist off with garden shears? How do you know that? It’s alive, isn’t it?”

“Yes, Mr Klausner. Oh, yes – and good night.” Quickly she turned and ran up the garden to her house. Klausner went back to the table. He put on the earphones and stood for a while listening. He could still hear the faint crackling sound and the humming noise of the machine, but nothing more. He bent down and took hold of a small white daisy growing on the lawn. He took it between thumb and forefinger and slowly pulled it upward and sideways until the stem broke.

From the moment that he started pulling to the moment when the stem broke, he heard – he distinctly heard in the earphones – a faint high-pitched cry, curiously inanimate. He took another daisy and did it again. Once more he heard the cry, but he wasn’t sure now that it expressed pain. No, it wasn’t pain; it was surprise. Or was it? It didn’t really express any of the feelings or emotions known to a human being. It was just a cry, a neutral, stony cry – a single emotionless note, expressing nothing. It had been the same with the roses. He had been wrong in calling it a cry of pain. A flower probably didn’t feel pain. It felt something else which we didn’t know about – something called toin or spurl or plinuckment, or anything you like.

He stood up and removed the earphones. It was getting dark and he could see pricks of light shining in the windows of the houses all around him. Carefully he picked up the black box from the table, carried it into the shed and put it on the workbench. Then he went out, locked the door behind him and walked up to the house.

The next morning Klausner was up as soon as it was light. He dressed and went straight to the shed. He picked up the machine and carried it outside, clasping it to his chest with both hands, walking unsteadily under its weight. He went past the house, out through the front gate, and across the road to the park. There he paused and looked around him; then he went on until he came to a large tree, a beech tree, and he placed the machine on the ground close to the trunk of the tree. Quickly he went back to the house and got an axe from the coal cellar and carried it across the road into the park. He put the axe on the ground beside the tree. Then he looked around him again, peering nervously through his thick glasses in every direction. There was no one about. It was six in the morning.

He put the earphones on his head and switched on the machine. He listened for a moment to the faint familiar humming sound; then he picked up the axe, took a stance with his legs wide apart and swung the axe as hard as he could at the base of the tree trunk. The blade cut deep into the wood and stuck there, and at the instant of impact he heard a most extraordinary noise in the earphones. It was a new noise, unlike any he had heard before – a harsh, noteless, enormous noise, a growling, low-pitched, screaming sound, not quick and short like the noise of the roses, but drawn out like a sob lasting for fully a minute, loudest at the moment when the axe struck, fading gradually fainter and fainter until it was gone.

Klausner stared in horror at the place where the blade of the axe had sunk into the woodflesh of the tree; then gently he took the axe handle, worked the blade loose and threw the thing to the ground. With his fingers he touched the gash that the axe had made in the wood, touching the edges of the gash, trying to press them together to close the wound, and he kept saying, “Tree… oh, tree… I am sorry… I am sorry… but it will heal… it will heal fine…”

For a while he stood there with his hands upon the trunk of the great tree; then suddenly he turned away and hurried off out of the park, across the road, through the front gate and back into his house. He went to the telephone, consulted the book, dialled a number and waited. He held the receiver tightly in his left hand and tapped the table impatiently with his right. He heard the telephone buzzing at the other end, and then the click of a lifted receiver and a man’s voice, a sleepy voice, saying: “Hullo. Yes.”

“Dr Scott?” he said.

“Yes. Speaking.”

“Dr Scott. You must come at once – quickly, please.”

“Who is it speaking?”

“Klausner here, and you remember what I told you last night about my experience with sound, and how I hoped I might –”

“Yes, yes, of course, but what’s the matter? Are you ill?”

“No, I’m not ill, but –”

“It’s half-past six in the morning,” the Doctor said, “and you call me but you are not ill.”

“Please come. Come quickly. I want someone to hear it. It’s driving me mad! I can’t believe it…”

The Doctor heard the frantic, almost hysterical note in the man’s voice, the same note he was used to hearing in the voices of people who called up and said, “There’s been an accident. Come quickly.” He said slowly, “You really want me to get out of bed and come over now?”

“Yes, now. At once, please.”

“All right, then – I’ll come.”

Klausner sat down beside the telephone and waited. He tried to remember what the shriek of the tree had sounded like, but he couldn’t. He could remember only that it had been enormous and frightful and that it had made him feel sick with horror. He tried to imagine what sort of noise a human would make if he had to stand anchored to the ground while someone deliberately swung a small sharp thing at his leg so that the blade cut in deep and wedged itself in the cut. Same sort of noise perhaps? No. Quite different. The noise of the tree was worse than any known human noise because of that frightening, toneless, throatless quality. He began to wonder about other living things, and he thought immediately of a field of wheat standing up straight and yellow and alive, with the mower going through it, cutting the stems, five hundred stems a second, every second. Oh, my God, what would that noise be like? Five hundred wheat plants screaming together and every second another five hundred being cut and screaming and – no, he thought, I do not want to go to a wheat field with my machine. I would never eat bread after that. But what about potatoes and cabbages and carrots and onions? And what about apples? Ah, no. Apples are all right. They fall off naturally when they are ripe. Apples are all right if you let them fall off instead of tearing them from the tree branch. But not vegetables. Not a potato for example. A potato would surely shriek; so would a carrot and an onion and a cabbage…

He heard the click on the front-gate latch and he jumped up and went out and saw the tall Doctor coming down the patch, little black bag in hand.

“Well,” the Doctor said. “Well, what’s all the trouble?”

“Come with me, Doctor, I want you to hear it. I called you because you’re the only one I’ve told. It’s over the road in the park. Will you come now?”

The Doctor looked at him. He seemed calmer now. There was no sign of madness or hysteria; he was merely disturbed and excited.

They went across the road into the park and Klausner led the way to the great beech tree at the foot of which stood the long black coffin-box of the machine – and the axe.

“Why did you bring it out here?” the Doctor asked.

“I wanted a tree. There aren’t any big trees in the garden.”

“And why the axe?”

“You’ll see in a moment. But now please put on these earphones and listen. Listen carefully and tell me afterwards precisely what you hear. I want to make quite sure…”

The Doctor smiled and took the earphones and put them over his ears.

Klausner bent down and flicked the switch on the panel of the machine; then he picked up the axe and took his stance with his legs apart, ready to swing. For a moment he paused.

“Can you hear anything?” he said to the Doctor.

“Can I what?”

“Can you hear anything?”

“Just a humming noise.”

Klausner stood there with the axe in his hands trying to bring himself to swing, but the thought of the noise that the tree would make made him pause.

“What are you waiting for?” the Doctor asked.

“Nothing,” Klausner answered, and then lifted the axe and swung it at the tree, and as he swung, he thought he felt, he could swear he felt a movement of the ground on which he stood. He felt a slight shifting of the earth beneath his feet as though the roots of the tree were moving underneath the soil, but it was too late to check the blow and the axe blade struck the tree and wedged deep into the wood. At that moment, high overhead, there was the cracking sound of wood splintering and the swishing sound of leaves brushing against other leaves and they both looked up and the Doctor cried, “Watch out! Run, man! Quickly, run!”

The Doctor had ripped off the earphones and was running away fast, but Klausner stood spellbound, staring up at the great branch, sixty feet long at least, that was bending slowly downward, breaking and crackling and splintering at its thickest point, where it joined the main trunk of the tree. The branch came crashing down and Klausner leapt aside just in time. It fell upon the machine and smashed it into pieces.

“Great heavens!” shouted the Doctor as he came running back. “That was a near one! I thought it had got you!”

Klausner was staring at the tree. His large head was leaning to one side and upon his smooth white face there was a tense, horrified expression. Slowly he walked up to the tree and gently he prised the blade loose from the trunk.

“Did you hear it?” he said, turning to the Doctor. His voice was barely audible.

The Doctor was still out of breath from running and the excite­ment. “Hear what?”

“In the earphones. Did you hear anything when the axe struck?” The Doctor began to rub the back of his neck. “Well,” he said, “as a matter of fact…” He paused and frowned and bit his lower lip. “No, I’m not sure. I couldn’t be sure. I don’t suppose I had the earphones on for more than a second after the axe struck.”

“Yes, yes, but what did you hear?”

“I don’t know,” the Doctor said. “I don’t know what I heard. Probably the noise of the branch breaking.” He was speaking rapidly, rather irritably.

“What did it sound like?” Klausner leaned forward slightly, staring hard at the Doctor. “Exactly what did it sound like?”

“Oh hell!” the Doctor said, “I really don’t know. I was more interested in getting out of the way. Let’s leave it.”

“Dr Scott, what-did-it-sound-like?”

“For God’s sake, how could I tell, what with half the tree falling on me and having to run for my life?” The Doctor certainly seemed nervous. Klausner had sensed it now. He stood quite still, staring at the Doctor and for fully half a minute he didn’t speak. The Doctor moved his feet, shrugged his shoulders and half turned to go. “Well,” he said, “we’d better get back.”

“Look,” said the little man, and now his smooth white face became suddenly suffused with colour. “Look,” he said, “you stitch this up.” He pointed to the last gash that the axe had made in the tree trunk. “You stitch this up quickly.”

“Don’t be silly,” the Doctor said.

“You do as I say. Stitch it up.” Klausner was gripping the axe handle and he spoke softly, in a curious, almost a threatening tone.

“Don’t be silly,” the Doctor said. “I can’t stitch through wood. Come on. Let’s get back.”

“So you can’t stitch through wood?”

“No, of course not.”

“Have you got any iodine in your bag?”

“What if I have?”

“Then paint the cut with iodine. It’ll sting, but that can’t be helped.”

“Now look,” the Doctor said, and again he turned as if to go. “Let’s not be ridiculous. Let’s get back to the house and then…”

Paint-the-cut-with-iodine.”

The Doctor hesitated. He saw Klausner’s hands tightening on the handle of the axe. He decided that his only alternative was to run away fast, and he certainly wasn’t going to do that.

“All right,” he said. “I’ll paint it with iodine.”

He got his black bag which was lying on the grass about ten yards away, opened it and took out a bottle of iodine and some cotton wool. He went up to the tree trunk, uncorked the bottle, tipped some of the iodine on to the cotton wool, bent down and began to dab it into the cut. He kept one eye on Klausner who was standing motionless with the axe in his hands, watching him.

“Make sure you get it right in.”

“Yes,” the Doctor said

“Now do the other one – the one just above it!”

The Doctor did as he was told.

“There you are,” he said. “It’s done.”

He straightened up and surveyed his work in a very serious manner. “That should do nicely.”

Klausner came closer and gravely examined the two wounds.

“Yes,” he said, nodding his huge head slowly up and down. “Yes, that will do nicely.” He stepped back a pace. “You’ll come and look at them again tomorrow?”

“Oh, yes,” the Doctor said. “Of course.”

“And put some more iodine on?”

“If necessary, yes.”

“Thank you, Doctor,” Klausner said, and he nodded his head again and he dropped the axe and all at once he smiled, a wild, excited smile, and quickly the Doctor went over to him and gently he took him by the arm and he said, “Come on, we must go now,” and suddenly they were walking away, the two of them, walking silently, rather hurriedly across the park, over the road, back to the house.

*****

 

Discuss the following ideas.

Ø Does the story end too quickly? Do you want it to continue?

Ø Do you believe that the world around us (like trees, flowers) is really ‘alive’?

Ø Do we really need to hear all these sounds Klausner wants to hear? Are there inventions which should be banned because they are too dangerous?

Ø Suggest a different title for the story which refers to Klausner rather than to the sound machine.

 


Date: 2015-02-28; view: 15605


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