After the return to Grasic, Baby Jane took the opportunity that Derf was in the laboratory, to examine it. In fact, it was an alga, and not a fungus. In detail, it was a new species of alga, and a member of the class of algae that are symbiotic with fungi. Therefore Frederf is a lichen.
He was a ecstatic lichen, and greedily devoured, so to speak, the works of Sophocles, Shakespeare and Dostoevski, in order to learn everything pertaining to human feelings. And he continued also to study science. Lichens do not sleep, so he could study for 24-hours a day.
One morning, however, when we entered the laboratory, he spoke to us in a worried voice, saying.
"To be or not to be. That is the question. I don't understand that. How is it possible for something that exists to not exist? In detail, what is existence?"
I suggested that Frederf should read the works of the great philosophers. First of all he read "Sophie's World" which was recently tranlated into Loglan by Leith. It is a book about the history of philosophy, by Jostein Gaarder, a Norwegian that used to teach philosophy. It is a story as well, puzzling to read, like the stories of Alice by Lewis Carroll. After that, he started reading the works of Plato, and continued with many of the works of philosophers from Aristotle to Wittgenstein.
Frederf, despite this, remained puzzled, and found no answer to existence.
"The philosophers", he said, "are wise and learned, but they know nothing. They never
express a question necessary to find any final and absolute reply."
To relax his mind, I had him read "The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy"
"Well", he said, "the computer that is a character in the story, knows the answer to everything, which is 42, but does not know the corresponding question. Alas, neither I, nor the philosophers know either the answer or the question. I, Derf and emotional crave a reply, and I, Fred, the logician crave the question."
When BabyJane and I left the laboratory in the evening, Frederf had been and was continually murmuring "To be or not to be"
That evening we had arranged a meeting with John Wayne, Grom, and Xanthippe at the White Rabbit. I discussed with John Wayne the metaphysical problem of Frederf.
"Interesting", he said, "And did you know that the Dalai Lama will be visiting Grasic soon? He is a wise Tibetan religious teacher, and will possibly be able to help Frederf. I know a member of the organization of Tibetan Buddhists that are organizing the coming visit. Probably it will be possible to take Frederf to an audience with him. I bet you five browns that he has never met any intelligent lichens. It seems he is by nature curious, and will be very interested."
"Good idea", I said, "Frederf will be able to learn meditation"
"Preferably he should talk to my father as well", Grom said, "even though he never admits that he is a shaman, he expertly helps many people who are troubled. By the way, he congratulates you on your forthcoming marriage, and says that if you wish, he would be honoured to perform the marriage"
"Happily", I said, looking at BabyJane, "And what do you think about it?"
"I would be happy, of course, if Mr. Snorrydin would marry us. I am very fond of Grom's parents" said BabyJane, squeezing my hand.
"When are you going to publish that Frederf is an intelligent lichen?" said John Wayne. The newspapers will be very interested in the Dalai Lama, and it will not be possible to meet him secretly"
"No problem", I said, "We three have been preparing a paper that will be published in the Scientific American. And we will inform the monarch and the government shortly before the magazine appears."
The following day, in the laboratory, Frederf was depressed. However, the news of the Dalai Lama cheered him up somewhat. He started right away to explore the net, to find everything written pertaining to Tibetan and Buddhist culture.
"Yes", he said, "Apparently the Dalai Lama is a wise and kind man. When he was a boy, a German that had been a prisoner of war of the English in India, and who had escaped, and succeeded in getting to Tibet, taught him western technology. Apparently he likes repairing timepieces. Certainly, I would like to meet him"
frederf spent the whole day studying Tibetan metaphysics, and softly sang 'To be, or not to be' in a cheery Casleun melody. This sufficiently relieved BabyJane and me.
BabyJane had written the prime minister of Loglandia, and informed him that she wished a visit with him about a very important discovery that would benefit Loglandia in the present international communicy, in trade and scientific development.
After a week, BabyJane received a large envelope with a large gold-coloured seal from the office of the prime minister in the Parliament Building. It was a letter to her from the Secretary of State of the Ministry of Trade, and invited her to the Parliament to exhibit the discovery. And the Secretary arranged to meet her at the Parliament Building the following Wednesday.
On Wednesday, BabyJane put on her best sober, so to speak, suit and arranged her hair neatly. We took Frederf and the computer to the Parliament in the minibus of the Archeological Institute. Frederf and the computer were placed in a handcart.
The Parliament Building of Loglandia is a large, beautiful building, located on the river bank. It has many small spires and a large dome over the parliament chamber. Its lobby is decorated with many mosaics of the history of Xias. BabyJane showed the letter to the guard. He telephoned, and then guided us and Frederf's handcart from the lobby to the Secretary's office by an elevator and several long corridors. There were many marble columns with gold-coloured sculptures, and many statues of important historical personages.
The office of the Secretary was a large well-lighted room, overlooking the river. The Secretary approached us from his wide desk, and shook our hands.
"I am grateful to you, Honorable Secretary" said BabyJane, that you have welcomed me, and allowed me to show you something completely extraordinary."
The Secretary was a tall rather young man.
"I hope I will understand it", he said, "even if I studied history at university, and not science. It seems you are a botanist, aren't you?"
"That's so", she said, "I had better introduce you to Frederf"
The Secretary seemed to be puzzled. Frederf then greeted him.
"Good morning, Honorable Secretary", he said, "I am honoured that you have received me"
The Secretary peered at the handcart, that the voice came from, and seemed even more puzzled.
He seated us, and BabyJane explained that she found the fungus in the burial cairn. She related everything that had happened at Whistle Mountain, and clarified that Frederf is an intelligent lichen. He became more and more amazed.
"The prime minister must see this", he said. He telephoned. "Fortunately he is free now, and is coming immediately from his office."
BabyJane had to explain again. The prime minister summoned several ministers, and she explained a third time.
"The Queen needs to be informed about this" said the prime minister. He telephoned immediately. "Good", he said, The Queen can receive us immediately. Let's go to the palace right now"
I put the handcart in the minibus, and we followed the prime minister's large black Bentley to the palace.
The palace was located at the edge of Grasic, on the north side of Marx Park. Ir was a not very large and rather simple house. The current monarch of Loglandia is called Queen Rose III. She is a young woman, about 30, married to an engineer, and with two children. By the entry door I saw a red pedal car and a football.
A grey-haired red-faced maidservant opened the door, and smiling broadly, curtseyed to the prime minister.
"Her Majesty is expecting you, sir, in the garden. Please go ahead."
I pushed the handcart, and followed the ministers and BabyJane. The Queen was sitting by a large tree, and looking at a small girl playing in the grass with a puppy. When Queen Rose saw us, she stood, and welcomed us.
BabyJane explained Frederf yet again, and he courteously greeted her. She clapped happily and said " A grand surprise! That is really wonderful. Alas, I understand little of science, but my husband will soon come home from work, and will be very interested in Frederf. Please let me offer all of you something to drink. Please sit in the shade."
THe maidservant brought beer and lemonade, and we all sat and chatted. The girl sat on the lap of the prime minister, who told her the story of Snow White. Queen Rose has an interest in music, so Frederf talked to her about music and Whistle Mountain.
The Queen's husband arrived home shortly thereafter, and BabyJane had to explain Frederf again. His name is James, and he was much interested and enthusiastic. He understands computers, and talked to Frederf for a long time. It was decided to organize a committee to study the best method for Loglandia to use Frederf. And also it would be necessary to give sufficient consideration to Frederf's rights, and the question "Is an intelligent lichen equal to a human?".