Cat’s CradleKurt VonnegutContents

122. The Swiss Family Robinson

They took me to what was left of Franklin Hoenikker’s house at the head of the waterfall. What remained was the cave under the waterfall, which had become a sort of igloo under a translucent, blue-white dome of ice-nine.

The ménage consisted of Frank, little Newt, and the Crosbys. They had survived in a dungeon in the palace, one far shallower and more unpleasant than the oubliette. They had moved out the moment the winds had abated, while Mona and I had stayed underground for another three days.

As it happened, they had found the miraculous taxicab waiting for them under the arch of the palace gate. They had found a can of white paint, and on the front doors of the cab Frank had painted white stars, and on the roof he had painted the letters of a granfalloon: U.S.A.

“And you left the paint under the arch,” I said.

“How did you know?” asked Crosby.

“Somebody else came along and wrote a poem.”

I did not inquire at once as to how Angela Hoenikker Conners and Philip and Julian Castle had met their ends, for I would have had to speak at once about Mona. I wasn’t ready to do that yet.

I particularly didn’t want to discuss the death of Mona since, as we rode along in the taxi, the Crosbys and little Newt seemed so inappropriately gay.

Hazel gave me a clue to the gaiety. “Wait until you see how we live. We’ve got all kinds of good things to eat. Whenever we want water, we just build a campfire and melt some. The Swiss Family Robinson—that’s what we call ourselves.”

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