In the enthusiasm of victory the renovated Penguins delivered themselves up to a dragon, more terrible than that of their fables, who, like a stork amongst frogs, devoured them for fourteen years with his insatiable beak.
Half a century after the reign of the new dragon a young Maharajah of Malay, called Djambi, desirous, like the Scythian Anacharsis, of instructing himself by travel, visited Penguinia and wrote an interesting account of his travels. I transcribe the first page of his account:
After a voyage of ninety days I landed at the vast and deserted port of the Penguins and travelled over untilled fields to their ruined capital. Surrounded by ramparts and full of barracks and arsenals it had a martial though desolate appearance. Feeble and crippled men wandered proudly through the streets, wearing old uniforms and carrying rusty weapons.
“What do you want?” I was rudely asked at the gate of the city by a soldier whose moustaches pointed to the skies.
“Sir,” I answered, “I come as an inquirer to visit this island.”
“It is not an island,” replied the soldier.
“What!” I exclaimed, “Penguin Island is not an island?”
“No, sir, it is an insula. It was formerly called an island, but for a century it has been decreed that it shall bear the name of insula. It is the only insula in the whole universe. Have you a passport?”
“Here it is.”
“Go and get it signed at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”
A lame guide who conducted me came to a pause in a vast square.
“The insula,” said he, “has given birth, as you know, to Trinco, the greatest genius of the universe, whose statue you see before you. That obelisk standing to your right commemorates Trinco’s birth; the column that rises to your left has Trinco crowned with a diadem upon its summit. You see here the triumphal arch dedicated to the glory of Trinco and his family.”
“What extraordinary feat has Trinco performed?” I asked.
“That is nothing extraordinary. We Malayans make war constantly.”
“That may be, but Trinco is the greatest warrior of all countries and all times. There never existed a greater conqueror than he. As you anchored in our port you saw to the east a volcanic island called Ampelophoria, shaped like a cone, and of small size, but renowned for its wines. And to the west a larger island which raises to the sky a long range of sharp teeth; for this reason it is called the Dog’s Jaws. It is rich in copper mines. We possessed both before Trinco’s reign and they were the boundaries of our empire. Trinco extended the Penguin dominion over the Archipelago of the Turquoises and the Green Continent, subdued the gloomy Porpoises, and planted his flag amid the icebergs of the Pole and on the burning sands of the African deserts.