Beyond the Farthest Star

Part I: Adventure on Poloda


Edgar Rice Burroughs

WE HAD ATTENDED a party at Diamond Head; and after dinner, comfortable on hikiee and easy-chairs on the lanai, we fell to talking about the legends and superstitions of the ancient Hawaiians. There were a number of old-timers there, several with a mixture of Hawaiian and American blood, and we were the only malihinis—happy to be there, and happy to listen.

Most Hawaiian legends are rather childish, though often amusing; but many of their superstitions are grim and sinister—and they are not confined to ancient Hawaiians, either. You couldn’t get a modern kane or wahine with a drop of Hawaiian blood in his veins to touch the bones or relics still often found in hidden burial caves in the mountains. They seem to feel the same way about kahunas, and that it is just as easy to be polite to a kahuna as not—and much safer.

I am not superstitious, and I don’t believe in ghosts; so what I heard that evening didn’t have any other effect on me than to entertain me. It couldn’t have been connected in any way with what happened later that night, for I scarcely gave it a thought after we left the home of our friends; and I really don’t know why I have mentioned it at all, except that it has to do with strange happenings; and what happened later that night certainly falls into that category.

We had come home quite early; and I was in bed by eleven o’clock; but I couldn’t sleep, and so I got up about midnight, thinking I would work a little on the outline of a new story I had in mind.

I sat in front of my typewriter just staring at the keyboard, trying to recall a vagrant idea that I had thought pretty clever at the time, but which now eluded me. I stared so long and so steadily that the keys commenced to blur and run together.

A nice white sheet of paper peeped shyly out from the underneath side of the platen, a virgin sheet of paper as yet undefiled by the hand of man. My hands were clasped over that portion of my anatomy where I once had a waistline; they were several inches from the keyboard when the thing happened—the keys commenced to depress themselves with bewildering rapidity, and one neat line of type after another appeared upon that virgin paper, still undefiled by the hand of man; but who was defiling it? Or what?

I blinked my eyes and shook my head, convinced that I had fallen asleep at the typewriter; but I hadn’t—somebody, or something, was typing a message there, and typing it faster than any human hands ever typed. I am passing it on just as I first saw it, but I can’t guarantee that it will come to you just as it was typed that night, for it must pass through the hands of editors; and an editor would edit the word of God.

Beyond the Farthest Star - Contents    |     Chapter One

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