VOYAGES OF A MILE

28/02/2020

VOYAGES OF A MILE-HIGH FILLE DE JOIE

Fiction By JUDITH JOHNSON SHERWIN

PLAYBOY April 1977

(Reproduced without permission)

Can a woman a little less than a mile high find happiness with a little white

mouse? Over and over again, through all the changes of season, I have asked

myself that question. And each day, and each year, and each new region of the

earth's anatomy gives a different answer.

When he first was brought under my father's roof, after having been washed

ashore in the detritus of some picayune maritime disaster, no more than two

inches high and quivering with such terror as only the most delicate of ivory

dolls might know, I thought him as pretty a toy as a young girl could ask. No

other child of my acquaintance could boast of having an entire miniature man of

her own, alive, to play dollhouse with. Such a perfect little ivory treasure he

was, with his torn velvet knee breeches, his wind-and-sea-tattered lace cuffs,

his outlandishly tied cravat and the ludicrous shards of a powdered wig raveling

out over the back of his jacket collar and right ear. I had never imagined such

a ridiculous costume on a male animal. The men of our country dressed--dare I

say even now, in spite of the great proofs he later gave of his manliness--in a

much more masculine fashion. And the manners, the foolish japes, that contortion

which he called making a leg, the bizarre gestures, the adorable squeaking of

that tiny voice. It was quite like having a performing dog, a monkey and a clown

all under the one powdered, bedraggled wig.

At first my mother demurred at my keeping him, since she feared that such small

vermin might very well carry lice or other pestilence smaller than themselves on

their bodies to infect us. However, when once she had satisfied herself by

inspection, much to the little thing's terror and dismay, of his cleanliness and

freedom from every kind of noisome infestation, she was content to let me play

with him for hour upon hour, the more especially as that activity kept me so

well occupied that she seldom had need to trouble herself with me. Hence it

happened that I spent my days, first teaching him some few words of command, and

then training him in the management of a bit of twisted wire, that he might

amuse me by jumping back and forth through its opening.

On occasion, it would happen that my father would bring some rude peasant or

other into my chamber, there to demand that I remove my new plaything from the

box wherein I kept him mewed and put him through the tricks he had by that time

mastered. On these occasions, not all my mother's protestations, both as to the

impropriety of my father's allowing men into his daughter's bedchamber and as to

the annoyance of being obliged to follow after these visitors with a broom,

would avail to turn my father from his purpose. Indeed, his usual response to my

mother's entreaties, a rough epithet and a clip of his hand across her mouth,

was not often lacking. Which, when I witnessed, I much marveled at the fabled

pleasures of marriage or of men's society, that might avail to lead even so

harsh a termagant as my mother into such condition as that I daily saw her

endure and forbear to challenge. And for what? For the mere pleasure of mastery

over that part of a man which they say wants no bone to stiffen it. For, were I

to be quite candid, I should have to acknowledge that with all beings other than

my father, who possessed this one means to keep her in order, my mother knew how

to return in kind all that was given her. How much more delightful appeared the

company of my enticing figurine, which might not dare to challenge me, even were

his tiny brain able to entertain such an idea.

Alas, soon enough I was forced to share him. Such crowds of hangerson, such a

gallimaufry of gawkers flocked to my father's halls to peep and marvel that my

father and I were forced to take up residence at an inn, which might better

accommodate the tramplings of the multitude than our rude cottage. In addition,

so much incensed had my mother become with the constant traffic through our

doors that she brought in a pailful of pig swill, emptied it over my father's

boots and bade him set his guests to work if this liked him not. Even at the

inn, adverse though the conditions were, I found it possible, with much exercise

of the will, to maintain that sense of proprietorship proper to the sole owner

of a rare wonder of nature. And when, after some several months, I was carried

to the great house of the ruler of our country, there to be left by my father,

where I was obliged to share my manikin with the females of my new master's

household, his wife, his daughters and his chosen ladies of pleasure, I felt too

much singled out by destiny to complain overmuch at our common ownership.

At first I had feared to be in somewhat the same position in respect to the

ladies of the household that my manikin held in respect to me; namely, an object

of ridicule, both for my ignorance of courtly ways and for the lowliness of my

origins. However, I found that so great was our shared understanding of the

peculiarities of our possession that rather than being laughed at for an

outsider, I was revered and deferred to for the greater extent of my expertise

in the ways of this unique animal. On becoming aware of the full felicities of

my position, my self-regard as much increased as did my self-assurance.

Frequently thereafter, I found myself able, by the judicious threat of a

temporary withholding of my manikin's favors, to prefer to the court many of my

female relatives. At the last, my exile had been much assuaged by the presence

of my sisters, cousins and others of my household, in various menial positions

about the environs, though I forbore to bring my mother to join in my happiness.

Truly, I might be said to be the foundation of the most part of the fortunes of

my family, which thought comforts me greatly in my present exile.

How we all exclaimed at the cunning tricks of our little elf, his delightful

errors, his pretty, helpless ways. How we delighted in the daily revelation of

his many areas of ignorance, the lack of breeding so characteristic of that

strange country from whence he came. Nevertheless, my companions and I took the

greatest of pains to spare his feelings. From the first day, when he lay curled

up, sleeping the sleep of exhaustion on a heap of canary feathers in a shoe box

in my great-aunt's vestibule, my aunt having remained with me as guardian of my

innocence after my father's necessary departure, we forced ourselves to giggle

silently, if at all. More often we held back our laughter and contented

ourselves with a raised eyebrow or a discreet smirk at the corner of a mouth,

behind a fan, passed seriatim around the room from one young lady to another, as

sign of our quietly shared mirth.

Not that we were entirely the slaves of his modesty. It amused us to examine,

under a strong light, the small perfections of his form. Perhaps we were too

masterfully precipitate for his timidities, but it was not a week before the

young queen's sisters, their nursemaids and I had him stripped. Although, to

prevail upon him to endure this with less than his habitual outcry, I must own

that we found it necessary to practice a small deception on him, which caused

him to believe that I and all the others were mere children, not above nine or

ten years of age, instead of the bouncing adolescents and finished young ladies

many of us were. Even this he proved unwilling to accept and pretended in the

end to be convinced by our fine words of what he well knew by our actions and

figures to be false, as a salve to his poor remains of modesty. Having thus

overborne his feeble efforts at reason, strip him we did, and much marveled at

the elegant attention to detail, the fidelity to nature the Great Maker of all

things had observed in His manufacture of this diminished replica of our

brothers. We never tired, even those of us who were already no strangers to the

arts of love, of delighting in the grace with which his minute organs had been

made. Often, indeed, my sisters and I would engage in the most savage warfare at

the chessboard, the sole prize being the privilege of stroking his delicate,

bird-fine thigh, or resting his pretty member on a forefinger, while we marveled

at the speed and sensitivity with which it, so to speak, pricked up its tiny

cars. So unthreatening a toy it was, even the youngest, the most impressionable

child would not fear to learn the mechanisms of love from observation of its shy

and shrinking features.

At first our pet was much too tender to support these public demonstrations of

his powers. He would complain, whimper, plead to be let off, cling to the little

wire hoop I had made him so long ago and beg to be allowed once more to prove

his powers upon it. Often, with no provocation but a glance or an overly bold

gesture from one of us, his poor flower would wilt away into a drooping ghost of

its former self. We would have to reassure him most patiently of our respect for

him, of our admiration for his character as well as for his person, of our

determination to preserve his bodily integrity. Sometimes our promises of care

were insufficient to cope with the desperate energy of his fears. And most

amusing it was to see this china doll of ours twist in all directions, scurry

under the queen's commode or attempt to conceal himself behind the hairs that

had fallen out of the brushes of the ladies in waiting in his frantic efforts to

avoid the necessary exhibit of his talents. But in this I cannot entirely blame

him, since my older sister did in her enthusiams tend to pinch too hard, which

caused him on more than one occasion to dread that his manhood had been bruised

beyond repair.

How many times he found himself too sore and weary to support us. At such

moments he would cover his eyes and weep, for all the world like some delicate

virgin who had been despoiled of her only treasure and cast onto the dust heap,

to hang on, a whining dependent, at the fireside of her ravishers. How many

times we attempted to reason with him, pointing out that men were, in fact,

completely different from women, that what was perhaps an insupportable agony to

a young girl, the public exhibition of her parts in action, should be a cause

for pride and the most vigorous demonstration of his skills in the male animal.

To all this, his only reply, accompanied with many sighs, tears and sniffs, had

been, "I will not be the object of your amusement." How determined he was, the

poor wanton, not to be one. How constantly he tried to deny us the sight of his

trembling male nature as it woke. And how inevitably he failed each time. The

merest stirring of the air around his member would do our turn.

In truth, I remember the first time my new master's fille de joie passed in her

attentions from the mere passive admiration of his body to a more active and

even genitally participatory enjoyment. She had but then returned from

performing her duties in the royal chamber and had thrown herself upon my couch,

pouting and sighing, to recover herself. Lying thus on her side, resting on one

elbow, her hair falling lightly over her left shoulder, she allowed our treasure

to parade up and down her slanting arm, rather as a parakeet might be sent up

and down according as the hand is raised or lowered, while breathing on him very

gently, so as not to blow him away, from as far as she could hold her head back,

her neck at an awkward and not entirely attractive angle. The little toy had

paid her its compliment of standing to attention. The idea occurred to her to

lift him and lay him to her breast, while gently rolling him from side to side,

so that his member very delicately brushed the tip of her nipple. In the course

of a few moments, her nipple pursed itself and stood up. And he, whether in fear

for his life, that she might bruise him more severely if she were left to

manipulate him at her discretion, or out of a sudden excess of weariness with

the passive pose, or for sheer loneliness and despair at ever resuming congress

with the women of his own order, cried out in a tremulous squeak, "Oh, let me do

it," and began to fret his tiny parts gently back and forth across her giant

tit.

To all our surprise, our royal master's mistress found this most piercingly

sweet, so that she began to toss and murmur and cajole him to greater efforts.

Perhaps, in the performance of her duties, she had found too slight a degree of

gratification, or perhaps the mere powerlessness of this little toy, chancing to

climb on her so soon after her submission to one who held all power over her,

caused her to experience a renewal of her fires. A moment, toward the climax, he

wilted, and whimpered with terror at her tempestuous heavings, being convinced,

no doubt, that he would be thrown off her to a distance of 50 yards or crushed

between her breasts in the throes of any earthquake of passion. So vilely did

his imagination paint to him the dangers of his situation that the convulsion of

his fear caused him to lose control of his functions, and he deposited on her

broad breast even such sign its it parakeet or a canary, might leave of its

terror and anguish. Keen was his embarrassment, loud his lamentation, at the

humiliation to which his fear had brought him. Nonetheless, with many tender

expressions of her regard, taking him in her hand and stroking him, assuring him

that there was neither offense nor bad odor in the droppings of so tiny a fowl

as he, while flicking off the offending powder with her fingernail, the

fortunate lady at length prevailed upon him to continue his exertions.

On her assurances that she would try not to toss him, he resumed his labors,

scurrying like a little insect from one twin pinnacle to the other, until at

last she was shaken by so fearful an upheaval that he was forced to embrace the

mountain in order not to slide off, and in that embrace his body paid its

minute, milky tribute to her. Nor were we at all insensible of the tremendous

courage, almost indomitable, of that small flagstaff of his, that in the very

ecstasy of terror yet found the means to stiffen itself and plunge, triumphant,

into the embrace of its fate. Some of us questioned whether he might not be so

far a lover of his own sufferings as to be capable of arousal only under the

spur of terror or of pain. Even as we debated this, expressing, all the while,

as quietly as we might, our admiration for the heroism of his endeavors, our

soldier of fortune collapsed, whining and spent, under the shadow of that

monstrous breast. Later, when we had deposited him in his nest to recover, my

cousin asked the fortunate lady what the transaction had felt like. The lady

replied, "It tickled, rather like a mouse's tiny paws skittering around on me.

Really, I think it was more the idea than anything else that brought me off. He

was so helpless, so cute, so much at my mercy for all I cared to do." And

therein was she not far wrong.

After that, the others were not slow to offer their flanks and nipples for him

to scale. Lest his timorous scruples might cause him to demur at being toyed

with amorously be a group of young women of the royal household, we had all

resolved to continue in our deception of him. Thus he was enabled to persist in

the belief, supported in part by the pressure of his increasing desires, that

what he had to do with was no more than a group of huge children and innocents.

So it was as wonders of the natural world that he attempted us, not as women.

Gradually, as he found himself in less danger of crushing while he maintained a

more mobile role for himself, thus keeping for the most part out of our fingers,

our soldier permitted his explorations to range farther afield, a heroic ascent

of the ear of one, using nail parings for pitons, a perilous exploration, armed

with rope and tough boots, of the navel of another. On occasion, one or another

of us might be honored to feel the delicate brush of his tongue, as he tasted

the salt of our bodies, the strong and intoxicating liquors of our sweat, for he

made shift, like any wise explorer, to live off the country.

To me, without any doubt, belongs the glory of his defloration. How well I

remember the splendors of that day. I had stretched myself out, belly up, on my

royal mistress' bed, and lifted up my skirts so that he might the better climb

me, being in too much haste to remove my bodice or stays. How great was my

delight, my astonishment, when I felt the tentative footsteps, the tiny rolling

of his body on mine, the delicate brushing of his bravest part, descend not

alone past my belly and flanks but with much backtracking and occasional pauses

to recuperate, slip down into the folds of jungle below. At first he struggled

up and out almost immediately, hauling himself hand over hand along a rope of

woven hair that had been anchored to my left knee, as he protested that the

atmosphere of those moist and heated places was like to overcome him. Gradually,

however, by much coaxing and promising of extra treats with his afternoon tea,

in particular the fine crumbs of a sort of social tea biscuit that he especially

savored, he was persuaded to venture himself again in those cavernous swells and

ditches. And he deserves credit for his courage. More than once on that and

subsequent explorations, he was in mortal danger of being squeezed out like a

lemon by the excited closing of those thighs that so delighted in him. At the

last, it took two of my lady's serving-women, and my mother's cousin, holding

onto my feet with might and main, to keep me from damaging him in the throes of

my ecstasy, as he skittered and tickled me into my moment.

How well I remember the sharpness of his heels, rather like the teeth of a comb

gently fretting me, when he climbed onto the rosy bud between the folds and did

a sort of gentle jig thereon. I could not see his wig fall off, and his hair

toss out wildly on all sides of his face, as the rhythm of his dance became more

hurried, nor could I see when he flung himself down upon that blushing

prominence to brush his minuscule rod against me there, but I understood from my

great-aunt, who reported to me every action of his exciting progress, that this

last was the sole burden of his endeavors, at that moment of moments when what I

felt was only the most delicate displacing of a hair. And, strange to say, it

was the delicacy, the timidity, the restraint, the almost nonexistence of this

amorous tickling that excited me to greater pleasures than the most determined

and hardy assault might have brought on. For I remembered too well what sounds

of struggle and harsh effort used to resound from the bed of my parents when

similarly engaged. More than this, I remembered the look of my royal master's

filles de joie when they returned from the amatory arena, either bruised within

or still unslaked, and reflecting, no doubt, that whatever the outcome, it had

been brought to term not by their efforts and the performance of their sole will

but by the powers, indulged or withheld, of another. So I was well pleased to

endure so slight a sensation, so tenuous a hint of connection, that whatever the

outcome, it might be imputed more to the effort and to the workings of my

powerful imagination than to whatever bodily congress might here pretend to take

place. In all truth, that dancing pinprick was but the factual anchor to the

world, the pretext upon which my will was focused, that allowed what followed

its natural appearance of event. Although, of course, from his point of view,

the exploit doubtless took all his strength to produce even that slight

suggestion of sensation upon which my mind took its full liberty to act.

At last he resolved to venture into my center and, having signaled to my holders

to yank my legs yet farther apart, he walked into the opening of my body, lying

down when the ceiling of the tunnel grew too low and proceeding as far as he

might first on knees and belly and then with a kind of swimming motion, nose to

the ground. You can imagine my passing great delight. Surely, never any woman in

history held a whole, adult man alive in the great cavern of her body, at the

moment of his joy and hers. True, we almost lost him then, for he passed out

from the heat and let go the end of rope he held to assure his return passage.

We feared lest he prove impossible to retrieve. But a determined effort at

expulsion, under the instruction of the most experienced elderly midwife in the

apartments, and a moment of digital exploration, very hesitantly pursued, so as

not to risk damage to our brave minnow, produced the prize, and we drew him out,

soaked and unconscious, and restored him with a few drops of raspberry sherbet.

Later, when he and I were on much more open terms with each other, I asked him

what that first great experience had been like for him. He said, with that

ridiculous aping of courtesy I so loved in him, "My dear, I cannot hold that

voyage out to others for its sensual beauties, although I wish that I could. But

as a scientific event, as an unparalleled fulfillment of a man's wildest dreams,

as the most exact satisfaction imaginable of one's very natural and, in general,

ungratified curiosity, this was an experience I would not have denied myself for

a year of quieter pleasures. To walk alive into a female body, and thence to be

drawn out again... it certainly overshadows fox hunting as a sport."

Of course, now that I had been so distinguished among all women, my companions

could not omit to experience the same sweet explorations. Our poppet was forced

to repeat his great journey into the heart of darkness with every woman in the

house. Eventually, we wearied of having to hold each other's thighs in order to

make sure of his safety, and so devised a sort of sling to hold each willing

victim, so that those of us who no longer took delight in the spectacle of a

female body, thighs spread, gaping, heaving itself to completion at the prodding

of an invisible mate, might go about our business without having to fear we were

denying a sister her rightful joys.

But now the time approached when our delight began to wilt, when hemost

wretchedly in a corner behind the powder box and refused to emerge, claiming

that he was, at last, played out. Much we dreaded lest we had not in our

enthusiasm for the sport caused him irremediably to overextend himself. For a

while, we allowed him to languish in peace. But after more than enough time had

passed to put him on his feet again, it became my task to use both threats and

chastisement, to which end I employed a whip made of one of the lesser hairs

from the queen's nurse maid's field of Venus. Most tender I was, and careful of

my poppet, so that the fear of chastisement, and the most delicate reminders of

its forcefulness, might prevail upon our only joy more than the very fact of

pain or injury. For we did desire him to continue in a form of loving bondage,

not to resent and struggle against our decrees. And therein were we true to the

very nature of the beast, for it is grained into male creatures that they do

love their servitude best when spurred with fear and trembling.

We prevailed. Our mouse was persuaded to become a man again. Quaking, wringing

his hands, uttering many peevish complaints, the miniature conqueror of all our

affections returned to the worship of his mistresses. How tremendous it felt to

submit once more to the desperate tickling of the tiny feather that was his

manhood. How titillating the thought that it lay in my power alone to spoil that

weak divining rod forever or to spare it for yet another sounding of my body.

For among the many joys of my commerce with him, surely the most subtle and

persuasive was this, that after the fearful explorer had found out the mouth of

my river and had beat his way with boots and machete through the tangled copses

at the head of the delta into the main strait, or channel, it was impossible to

perceive by any sense known to woman the ejaculation of his seed, although he

assured me most religiously that he had not withheld it. Herein, in spite of all

my vigor, I was forced to be at his mercy for the full assurance of my womanly

powers. For he had it in his control, by dint of the very invisibility of his

responses, to persuade me that I had failed to delight him or that I had

triumphed over his weaker will and carried him to pleasure once again. More than

this, it was in his sole power to deceive me whenever he chose, to pretend to

delights and transports that might have been quite foreign to his knowledge,

with a mere twitch of his body to deceive my most anxiously hovering and

passionate attentiveness to his unseen and unfelt needs. How many times he found

it necessary to assure me, on bended knees, of my efficacy as a mistress. How

many times I forced myself in plain foolish fondness to believe. Indeed, though

he was often repelled by the physical surroundings that held him so terribly to

their purpose, we all believed that our homunculus remained too much the slave

of his scientific passions ever to deny his tribute to the continents he

explored. It was the mere idea of penetration into the seat of our mystery and

our rule, he assured me more than once, that overcame the determined asceticism

of his body. Such a wealth of observation of the interior actions of the female

body in the moment for which it was made has surely never been granted to the

most objective and intrepid of investigators, and my mouseling was deeply

sensible of the honor fortune had done him.

At length he wearied of his confinement in the cause of science to such an

extent that no chastisement and no threat of lasting damage was sufficient to

arouse him from his torpor. By this time, my companions had also tired of toying

with him and, less the creatures of their imaginations than I, had gone on to

amusements more befitting the size and temper of their appetites. I alone was

left to mourn the loss of his dear attributes. Desperate, I brought him out from

his nest behind the powder puffs.

"What can I do to make my little man wake again?" I asked him.

He shook his head, with the most heartbreakingly inaudible sigh, and the

seed-pearl tears embellished his ivory cheeks. After a while, when I had not

ceased to cajole and adjure him to reveal to me the secret of his true desires,

he told me, with fear and regret, and the most delicate, timid shrinking aside

of his whole body, that nothing would delight him or recall him to the prospect

of life in the wretched vale of his torments, but that he be placed in a small

cockle or boat, given a string of dried and salted provisions and a skin of

fresh water and set free to drift with the winds until such time as fate might

bring him to his home again. In vain I pleaded. In vain I demonstrated to him

the dangers of his course, the unlikelihood of his ever arriving on his

country's shores when he had no slightest inkling of what direction should claim

his boat, the fearful uncertainties of his thus venturing out from under the

protection of my shadow. In vain I reasoned. His weeping and whimpering would

not cease, though at times it became so choked up within him that I feared never

to hear the chirping of that cherished voice again. Finally, my heart almost

softened with pity, I cast for some last argument that might prove tenacious

enough to hold him to me.

"But what shall I do for a flute," I whispered, "when my little music man is

gone?"

"You may get yourself an instrument more equal to you," the heartless darling

replied.

"What?" I cried. "Give myself over to some gross creature that might hold me in

bondage? That might enforce me to pleasure him when I'd no mind for the act?

That might command the opening and closing of my channels? That could not be

thrust out or overwhelmed when once he'd gained entrance? To do thus, for a

moment's mere tickling pleasure? Surely you jest. Why, there's not a sane woman

in all the world would so surrender herself, except she were made mad with

lust."

He flushed, whether with shame or anger I know not. "I have surrendered myself

in such wise, until my memories choke me. Is it not harsh and unfeeling in you

to be so brutal in your mastery, so adamant against giving it up, when you see

nought but such simple justice will do me comfort?"

Here our further converse went as all such domestic quarrels do. He reproached

me that I had ravished him; I pointed out that I had but done to him what in his

inmost heart he did desire and that, when done, it had much pleasured him. He

assured me that he might in no wise continue as the toy or poppet of his mate; I

chided him for a foolish chuck that knew not its own nature, for it was the

nature of man ever to continue in bondage to his lusts, and for what else was he

made but so to serve and nourish us? He desired me to have done with so using

him and find another; I demanded of him who should swim the straits of my body,

who brush his fine feather against the points of my breasts?

"For what instrument shall I finger, what song wake from silence, when this pipe

that sounds my deepest resonances is gone?" quoth I. "How shall you live without

me to protect you, to comfort you when your flag is down, to raise your spirits?

If I may not have one weaker than myself to shelter, my little songbird, what

manner of paltry thing am I? What creature shall I defend from the greed of my

sisters, from the territorial imperative of their lusts, when my vulnerable

mouseling is reft from me?"

Amid many sighs and tears fetched deep from his slender body, he informed me

that never again would he serve me in that manner, neither as object of my

protective passions nor as the gilded instrument of my desires. I was almost

ready to crush him from pure pique. In that dread moment, he saw the full extent

of his danger and implored me to stay my hand. "Though I can no longer bring

myself to swive you," he whispered, "and truly, lady, I'd have you believe it

lies not in me, I'd engage there to be no shortage of men in my proud though

puny nation who might revel in such a chance to show their mettle. Picture to

yourself, my dearest monstress, not one little man like me but a whole nation of

homunculi to feed that mouth of yours. True it is that to do that journey more

than once is not for every man. But I dare be sworn there is no man alive under

my country's skies who would not count himself favored of fortune to try it

once. Why, I'd wager you a pickle against a barrel of herring that we might

travel around the country fairs with a great tent and a sling such as we use in

these apartments to hold your legs. I would hazard a barnyard of cocks I could

get at least five quid apiece to let them at you."

My heart's joy at such a prospect passed all containing. You must remember,

gentle reader, that I was but a foolish girl and knew not the world. I almost

crushed him in my transports then and there. Some childish scruples I

entertained to leave my home and my nation. For I feared to travel with none but

him I had ravished for my guide, through lands where my youth and inexperience

might not suffice to protect him. And I did find myself also sensible of some

mild reluctance to forfeit, for so amazing a prospect as this he had discovered

to me, the likelihood of ever knowing the embraces of a man whose arms might

encompass more of me than my little finger. Yet the more I reflected on those

powers that the wiser of my sex surrender when they subject themselves to the

tender embraces of such as my father or my lord the king, the more I determined

to remain well pleased to do without such surrenders. For how might the combat

of an equal marriage bed compare with such sweet combat as I knew? Or how

measure the proving of my will, the testing of my mettle, the demonstration to

myself of my perfect self-control that I caused myself to undergo each moment of

not crushing him, against such paltry testing as would ensue were I to measure

myself against one so much my equal that I stood in no peril of ending his

manhood with each act of congress? So, in the end, I weighed the amorous

embraces of a putative nation of pygmies against those of my own race and

preferred the former. It was a choice I have never regretted, not through all

the profound erotic reverses that have since befallen me.

Long past midnight of a certain day, I carried him down to the sea in my breast

pocket, well padded and strapped to a wooden spoon for his protection in the

event of our separation. Once at the shore, I stripped, save for a fillet about

my hair, in the top of which he nested with his spoon, like the man in the

crow's-nest of a whaler. Two days and two nights I swam, guided only by his sad

remnants of navigational knowledge, while we frightened away the shipping,

causing more than one pilot to believe that he had sighted a giant white whale.

In the end, by pure serendipity, we reached the shores of Ireland, in the very

dead of night, and the natives all fast in their hovels most fortunately

drinking themselves seven seas over into their poteen.

There my pilot directed me to swim up the mouth of a small rivulet that bore the

name Liffey. When we were far enough inland, we crawled ashore, obliterating

some 100 or so hovels in our progress. As my small protector later heard, the

surviving natives took themselves to have been plagued by a great slug or a

giant snail heaved up from the bed of the river. In much dread, they forbore to

go near that part of the country until my prolonged inactivity had caused them

to forget the worst of their fears. The more quickly to bring about this lulling

of their nervous alarms, I lay by quietly near a huge lake that my crawling had

hollowed out that it might collect the waters of the mountains, while my manikin

went about laying hands on the materials we should need. For it grew plain that,

given the terror of the populace, we must forgo our first plan of going about

the countryside challenging any that would to mount me. Both my protector and,

at the last, after some argument, my better reason became convinced that the

fright of these insects would so overmaster them that none would ever dare

approach me closer than half a mile, unless compelled, which distance did not

permit erotic contact.

Since it was not possible for my small master to drive the whole countryside

before him like sheep into my womb, we must find some greater persuasion than

his oratorical or bodily force. This seeing, we agreed that in order to lull

their puny fears, I should suffer myself to be so bound that I might, to their

little wits that had known neither measure nor experience of me, appear both

helpless and harmless. Much at first I protested at this apparent limiting of my

freedom. Should I, that had fled my native land and the embraces of my natural

mates for fear of even the most minute surrender of my perfect self-sufficiency,

now suffer my very person to be contained within coarse bonds? My protector here

caused me to understand, by much urging and reasoning, that the bonds would of

necessity be less real than apparent, and the loss of liberty likewise. For

there existed nowhere in the country such strong cord as might suffice to hold

me in truth. All that was necessary or possible was to find some tissue that

might have in it enough of the appearance of tensile strength to create in these

creatures' minds the illusion of restraint. Once they were well convinced that I

was held fast, beyond all ability of my strength to break free and crush them,

they might mount me as they list, free to amuse themselves in the delusions both

of my helplessness and of their absolute power over me. This, the while I

remained fully at liberty to amuse myself in the firm knowledge that it was in

me the absolute power lay. For it rested in my sole will to break my hairthin

bonds and crack their skulls like so many walnuts, and to pick out the meats

thereof, whenever it should so please me.

It was thus that my Lemuel and I took up our strange life together, he as the

impresario, I as the star, of Little Lem's Mountain Peep Show. Great delight I

drew in those days from the mere appearance of bodily passivity and from the

activity of the will required to maintain it. For often my pleasures in their

swarmings into my interior were so keen that I might hardly keep from clapping

shut the door and mewing them up in me till they drowned. For that very fear,

the most part of them dared not venture as my Lemuel had, but remained on the

woody hillocks around my nether mouth, or perched astride the rosy mount that

there protruded, rapping with their slender crops against its top. Some chanced

thence to be toppled, when the inevitable spasm shook that red-tipped hill, into

the gulf that yawned at its foot, but were soon extracted by their fellows. And

sometimes as many as a dozen of them danced or rolled or bestrode that part at a

clip.

At first the cryer of my talents took great care to release my bonds once every

three nights that I might stretch my limbs and restore the circulation. But

after some months, lulled by my appearance of harmlessness, the villagers came

back. They rebuilt their hovels in the shadows of my flanks and thighs. Children

came to clamber in the underbrush of my armpits, goats to scale the wooded

cliffs of my skull and to leap from crag to crag over my brows. Too long I

delayed, fearing lest I damage so many thousands of these vermin beyond recall.

For I had begun to follow the daily drama of their lives, and in so doing was

grown too pitiful of their petty weaknesses to crush them. Truth to tell, what

wrong we are hardy to commit on an unsuspecting environment when we know

ourselves to be strangers, just passing through. We cannot bring ourselves to

attempt once the acquaintance has become so close that they have grown into our

very pores, as these poor fleas and microbes had grown into mine. So in my

gentleness I forbore to stir lest I unseat them, and found at last to my shock

that my muscles, through long disuse, had grown so slack that they might no

longer suffice to free me unaided.

On this reversal of my fair fortunes, I begged my sweet Lemuel to warn the

villagers that they might remove themselves from my loins and belly. But he,

fearing both the ruin of his fortunes and the loss of his life, refused, since

he foresaw that in their anger at thus being evicted they might turn, not on me

that had been their fertile soil, but on the landlord that did let it to them.

Some several seasons, therefore, I abode in this species of Irish paralysis, the

natural habitat of every worm or rabbit that wished to crawl on or into me. At

the length, so encrusted with dirt and bushes I became, and so grieved at my ill

state, that I found that even the penetration of my marginalia by the smallest

and purest little boy virgin no longer sufficed to ignite my womanly passions.

Much troubled in my mind, I bespoke my small master gently and sadly, with so

deep a sigh that several dozen goats were dislodged from my rocky bosom and sent

hurtling groundward. "You must understand, my dearest," said I, "that the

certainty of dominance is become an erotic necessity for me. Helpless and

atrophied as I find my powers here, I am no longer able to summon up any desire

for these explorations of my body. You must therefore excuse me from further

endurance of them."

"Why, as for that," quoth my master, "if you cannot desire them, you must submit

to them without desire. But you, who have so thoroughly approved how far desire

is a function of the mind, cannot here refuse to set your mind to desiring, for

your own comfort, that bondage which you must endure, will you or nil you.

Therefore cease to repine, and turn your will to rejoicing, for events have so

worked out your life that false feigning and mere shows of weakness are no

longer required of you. That passivity which was once part of the hypocritical

shows women are prone to is now grown most real."

Thus did he respond to my entreaties. Much anguished grew my mind when I saw how

ungenerous this, my fair lord, had grown to me who had of my own free will put

all I had, my self, my mind, my freedom, into his keeping, for no cause but love

and pity and mutual joy. So shaken as I was by a fit of weeping, I turned my

head to one side and began to thrash from side to side, howling, roaring and

flinging myself about in my grief. Thus it befell that what I would never have

found the strength to do through action of my will, grief and pain gave both

energy and blindness to accomplish. Heedless of all consequences, my great body

tossed the whole tribe of lice free of me. On seeing what I was about, my little

Lemuel, who had taken refuge in some manner of mousehole, poked his head up out

of the rocks that hid its entrance and besought me what I was thinking of, so to

imperil him in this wise.

"Faith," I said, "I've given over thinking of you. I'll go home to my mother and

father, let them rant how they will. I have been a fille de joie long enough."

Thereupon, I shook him off and swam the whole way back in less than a day and a

half, so frenzied was I to be gone from those parts. I have understood, from

later conversations, that as soon as I was well away he let publish a most false

and misleading account of his voyage to our land, making much of his affairs

with royalty and omitting all mention of our love, of my escape with him, of his

long use of me and of the great disaster that destroyed a whole portion of his

country during my departure from its tattered inner regions. And no sooner had I

departed than the wandering fever took him, for sore he missed me once I was

clean gone, and he also was off on voyage. We did not chance to meet again for

many a year.

It is not my purpose to describe my return to my own home, nor my reunion with

my father and mother and great-aunt, nor their berating of me both for the free

life I had led and for my ill provision for their old age in having let go that

treasure fortune had granted us which might have sufficed to keep us all in

comfortable idleness. Much I protested that having once given up my

self-determination I knew too well the price paid ever to have kept the tiny

author of all my misfortunes in sequestration from his. Let it be enough to tell

you, gentle reader, that in the end I married, surrendering no more of my

liberty to that indignity, and no less, than I had to the illusory bonds of my

beloved Lemuel. The pleasures of marriage with an equal were not, as I had

feared, less than those I had known, but they were not more. For a while there

was some slight novelty in toying with an instrument I need not fear to crush,

one that I might take in my lips or even fret with my tongue with no ill

consequence. This novelty wore off in the space of a year, as I came to

understand that my mate was no true equal for me, having been given the

overlordship both by custom and by the inabi1ity of his sexual nature to awake

except by proof of that overlordship. For it lay not in him to consider his

member a flute, a feather, a toy, nor any other delicate thing, but his need was

to use it only as rod or scepter. Often I laughed in my heart to hear him cajole

me that I should be not affeared of its great size and tremendous aspect, for it

would do me no hurt. "What, that small thing," I thought in my heart. "Why, what

manner of mote distorts your sight, that you think it so huge an object? Were it

the length of a shovel handle I'd have cause to fear." But I said nought of

this, understanding that it knew not how to stand up at all unless to flattery.

And I bore children, and was bound further in love by them, and made less myself

each year I owned their mastery.

It so chanced that when the youngest of my babies had attained the age of seven

years, I grew weary of this tender bondage also, for their voices were always to

be heard calling me, which I well loved, and their arms always felt entangling

me, which likewise I loved, and my husband was also either always absent,

leaving me to them, or always present, entangling me in the heaviness of his

many needs, so that there was no clear way of pleasing me. So on a day I shook

off all this weight of human ties, much more lightly than I had shaken off those

almost imaginary bonds Lemuel had bound me with, and set myself to voyage once

again. And so returned, past a number of ships which did let fly harpoons at me

and went down bubbling, the greatest of which left one sole survivor clinging to

a cask in the foam, to the mouth of the Liffey once more. After dragging myself

ashore, blotting out a new encrustation of farms which had grown up during the

generations of my absence, I made my way to the great lake, where I had lain so

many years, which still bore the outlines of my form, although much blurred with

algae and weeds. There, in a cave on the bank of the inlet of my little finger,

I found a madman dwelling, encrusted all in vines and excrement, snorting and

whinnying like a stallion. My beloved, even like me, had returned from the last

of his voyages.

Gently I lifted this wretched lover of mine and laid him to my breast, unmindful

of the powder of droppings that fell from his hind parts, since to my nostrils

such tiny specks were clean through very insignificance. Great happiness I had

to hold him so, and he great happiness to be held, for he had known no such

generous passion as mine in his later travels. Nor had I known any bonds so

little onerous as his, which carried no weight of responsibility to them. Much

did he struggle, in gratitude for my continued affections, to bestow on me the

habitual and tangible sign of his high regard. Most gently I submitted to the

renewal of those attentions which I no longer desired, lest my cruel turning

away of such external marks of affection might afflict the inner man. At length

I understood, as he did also, that time and ill-health had taken so great a toll

of his powers, that all his will might not avail to raise that pitiful soldier

of his to attention. Tenderly I scooped him off the underside of my left breast,

where he lay shuddering and exhausted, and raised him to a level with my eyes.

"Dearest," I said, so choked with my compassion for him that I might hardly

speak. "What can you be thinking of? That was not what I returned to you for. My

poor chicken. Not what I loved in you at all. Let us be easy with each other."

Then, whether for mortification at having this great gift he'd thought to give

me so little desired, or for relief at no longer needing or knowing how to give

it, he wept, and I might have wept also, but for my fear of overwhelming him in

my tears. With the most tender and cherishing of smiles, I laid my sweetheart

down on a nest of leaves, where he abode weeping and looking up at me, and I

blinking away my tears, in a perfect balance of love and grief, looking down at

him, for the space of a sennight.

Thus my tenderness cured him of his madness, as his cured me of my freedom, and

we resumed the entanglements of our life together, neither knowing who was in

the right, if either of us might be. He hired a crier to do his showing of me,

so that he might be freed to record his knowledge and hatred of the world, the

while my patience earned his bread for him. And we found that now, when we were

forever freed from the mere sexual tie both by the inability of either of us to

desire it, and by the eagerness of those tiny insects, his poor countrymen, to

venture me, our closeness grew all the more, until at the last we need not ever

speak, nor be awake at the same moment, nor even in the same part of the

country, but dwelt always together in that great country of our deep regard, and

of memory, and of the pursuit of perfect knowledge.

At the last we were defeated by a disparity neither of us had foreseen. For even

as my body, being so much the greater and stronger of the two, required more

space and provender for its sustenance, so it also required a greater voyage in

time to go the same route to senility and death. After no more than a year, I

saw my beloved poppet droop away beyond repair, not the mere withering of the

sexual parts, for it was long since I had availed myself of those, but of the

whole man. One night, smiling sweetly upon me, he lay down in my armpit, curled

up in the nest of down there like a kitten against its mother's furred flanks,

or like an ant in the hill alive, with its fellows, where the deep humming of

their business might lull it asleep. In the morning he did not stir, for all my

calling. What an exile was there, far from my love, too far ever to join with

him again, though he lay in my armpit like a flower under a weed.

Long years I kept him planted in me, until his soft parts that had so delighted

me wore to powder, and until the bones grew bare as pins. Then I knotted the

greatest of them, the thighs and the pelvis, into a brooch that I might wear

upon my bosom, and so wore him next to my heart for the time left me. Nor did I

ever think to arise and go now, when there was no further need for me to support

him, for I was bound forever to the scenes of our great love. Many revolutions

of the heavens his bones lay upon me, and I content with them. Yet I lost them

forever, no more than a month ago, when I chanced to forget myself and stretch

to relieve my stiffness of limb. And in my stretching and sighing, I heard my

jewel fall, and his small bones crunch under my side before I might stop myself.

So old as I am, I count myself the more fortunate in the days of this, the third

tiny overlord to hawk my attractions, in that I am so huge to the sight of these

dull insects that they do not even realize they are topping a mountain of some

centuries of their years, and a good 95 of the world's years as my body measures

them. Were I in my own country, no man but would avoid me as a foul hag. Here I

am still one of the wonders of the physical world. Even now I lament that tide

that draws me near death. Why must our years have so quick an ending; I am but

at the beginning of my road.

It occurs to me that I have taken but little advantage of my freedom. How much

there is that I have not known. I would be born next time round as a tiny doll,

as tiny to a man as my Lemuel was to me, when he first began to do his hitch

with Glumdalclitch. And then I shall climb the bodies of these men, flick their

great ear lobes and the corners of their mountainous mouths with my needle of a

tongue, crawl onto their giant male parts like a melting worm, tunnel myself

into them like some small parasite of the sun. And when the spasm strikes those

parts of theirs as it strikes all things, then shall I expire in that great

flood of milk like a mote of dust drowned in heaven's fierce light. Surely, in

that as-yet-unknown world, as surely as the sun swallows up all things and

expels them again, I shall be the first woman to walk into the body of a man.

For the sake of that great science of love in which we perish, it is not enough

to hold still and forgive and be known. It is time for me to take a journey into

knowledge.

 

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