Cat’s CradleKurt VonnegutContents

94. The Highest Mountain

So I became betrothed at dawn to the most beautiful woman in the world. And I agreed to become the next President of San Lorenzo.

“Papa” wasn’t dead yet, and it was Frank’s feeling that I should get “Papa’s” blessing, if possible. So, as Borasisi, the sun, came up, Frank and I drove to “Papa’s” castle in a Jeep we commandeered from the troops guarding the next President.

Mona stayed at Frank’s. I kissed her sacredly, and she went to sacred sleep.

Over the mountains Frank and I went, through groves of wild coffee trees, with the flamboyant sunrise on our right.

It was in the sunrise that the cetacean majesty of the highest mountain on the island, of Mount McCabe, made itself known to me. It was a fearful hump, a blue whale, with one queer stone plug on its back for a peak. In scale with a whale, the plug might have been the stump of a snapped harpoon, and it seemed so unrelated to the rest of the mountain that I asked Frank if it had been built by men.

He told me that it was a natural formation. Moreover, he declared that no man, as far as he knew, had ever been to the top of Mount McCabe.

“It doesn’t look very tough to climb,” I commented. Save for the plug at the top, the mountain presented inclines no more forbidding than courthouse steps. And the plug itself, from a distance at any rate, seemed conveniently laced with ramps and ledges.

“Is it sacred or something?” I asked.

“Maybe it was once. But not since Bokonon.”

“Then why hasn’t anybody climbed it?”

“Nobody’s felt like it yet.”

“Maybe I’ll climb it.”

“Go ahead. Nobody’s stopping you.”

We rode in silence.

“What is sacred to Bokononists?” I asked after a while.

“Not even God, as near as I can tell.”


“Just one thing.”

I made some guesses. “The ocean? The sun?”

“Man,” said Frank. “That’s all. Just man.”

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