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The Mystery of the Alphabet


Have you ever wondered who it was that invented the alphabet? Well, it’s something that I have been pondering over for some weeks now and I was going to put the question out to you but then I feared that you may all have conflicting opinions and that would only confuse matters. So, I opened up my mind and let the theories and various mish mash flow in. It’s amazing the quality of ideas that rush into an empty head! And it kept coming, there was loads of it, it made my head spin! “I must relax,” I thought while pouring myself a generous tot of my favourite golden liquid, three rocky ice cubes tumbled in. I sat outside in the warm sun, raised the glass to my lips and let the cold, peaty liquid play around with my taste buds. Heaven!

Gradually my mind let go and after further joyful savourings I felt my eyes go heavy and I drifted gently away.

A voice was calling in the distance, I opened my eyes and saw a path leading into a wood of old twisted oaks, I walked in. The canopy was dense and it got darker the further in I went but there was a ball of light which moved forward under the canopy showing the way. The voice was getting nearer, “Come here, come here,” it said “I am the source of all wisdom.” I walked for three days, three nights and three minutes and reached the mouth of a cave. An old man with a gnarled face and a white beard stood at the entrance. He wore a long, shiny black diamond studded cloak that sparkled and on his head he wore a yellow bowler hat.

“Ah”, he said “you’ve arrived.” Clearly this man was no fool. “I believe you have been searching for answers, remind me again, what was your question?”

“I have been wondering who invented the alphabet” I said “ I have a lot of ideas in my head, too many really, and I can’t seem to be able to sort out the wheat from the chaff.”

“Well I know nothing about wheat and chaff,” he said “that’s very much after my time, but the answer to your question is very easy. It was invented by my cousin on my mother’s side, he was born with great wisdom, just like me, and he lived in the next valley. If you’re not too tired I will take you there straight away.”

And so we walked briskly along this laburnum tunnel for two days, two hours and two minutes until we arrived at another cave but this one had a large rock in front of the entrance. He touched the rock with his index finger, a shower of sparks arced to the floor and the rock rolled slowly away, we entered and reached a large room lit with flaming torches on the wall.

“Sit down,” he said, “my cousin Mog lived here and he spent most of his time hunting for food but when he had enough stored away in the larder at the back of the cave he would go out and observe the animals, birds and fishes. In time he knew all there was to know about them. He would get back to the cave and draw these pictures on the walls. Look at this, this is a buffalo, here is a wolf and here is a sabre toothed tiger. He drew trees as well, in fact he drew everything he could until his felt tipped pen ran out.”

And then one day a stranger came, he spoke the same language but had a funny accent, his name was Gog because he came from the beautiful north. “Gosh, you’ve got different animals down here” he said, “we have a lot of elks and bears up north. What do you call your animals?”

So Mog took him into the drawing room (he had a rather posh cave) and showed Gog the drawings “Look,” he said “this one here is a sabre toothed tiger, be careful with him and this one is a buffalo, he’s made of mozzarella and this one is a wolf.” So Mog showed Gog all his drawings and named them, but Gog couldn’t remember the names.

“Why haven’t you written the names underneath them?” he asked.

“Ah”, said Mog, “the thing is I haven’t yet invented the alphabet, it’s something I’ve been meaning to do for ages but I just haven’t got round to it. Are you going to be around for a while?”

“I’m on my way to see Auntie Mag,” said Gog “but I shall be passing through again in a year and a day, or perhaps a minute after if I get held up.”

“Ok”, said Mog, who had borrowed the term from an American tourist who had recently dropped in whilst he and his wife were ‘doing’ Europe. “Tell you what, I’ll work on it while your away so call by and you may be lucky, you couldn’t lend me a felt tipped pen could you?”

So after a year and a day (there were no hold ups) Gog is back. Mog proudly takes him into the drawing room and there on the wall underneath all the drawings are the names of all the animals, fishes, birds and trees.

“And, see here,” said Mog “I’ve written all the letters that you could possibly need down here.”


Gog looks at the bottom of the wall and traces the shapes of all the letters with his fingers, turns to Mog and says.

“That’s really brilliant, I am truly amazed, you’re a very clever person and look!” he said “you’ve even sorted those letters into alphabetical order!”

“So there you are” said the old man, that’s how the alphabet was invented, and now I think you had better be heading back for home. I’m glad I could help you.”

I opened my eyes, blinked, the sun was cooler now, time to go back in, I raised myself up and there down by my feet was a bright yellow bowler hat!






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