فصل 02

مجموعه: کتاب های متوسط / کتاب: 2001 - اودیسه فضایی / فصل 2

کتاب های متوسط

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فصل 02

توضیح مختصر

  • زمان مطالعه 5 دقیقه
  • سطح ساده

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CHAPTER TWO

The New Rock

Late that night Moon-Watcher suddenly woke up. He sat up in the darkness of the cave, looking out into the night, and fear entered his soul. He had never heard a sound like this in his life. The big cats approached in silence, except perhaps for the occasional breaking of a stick or a fall of earth. But this was a continuous crashing noise that grew steadily louder. Even the elephants did not make as much noise as this.

Then he heard a sound which he could not understand, because it had never been heard before in the history of the world. It was the sound of metal hitting stone.


Moon-Watcher saw the New Rock when he led the group down to the river in the first light of morning. He had almost forgotten his fear during the night, and did not connect this strange thing with it.

It was three times his height, but when he reached out his hands to each side, it was not as wide. When he walked round and looked at it from the side, it was quite thin. And he could see right through it. In fact, he only knew it was there when the sunlight flashed on its edges. He put out his hand and touched its cold surface.

It was a rock, of course, and it had grown during the night. He knew of small round plants that grew during the night and looked a little like rocks. These tasted good, so Moon-Watcher put out his tongue and tasted the new rock. A few seconds were enough to make him understand that this thing was not food. So he continued on his way to the river and soon forgot all about it.

In the last light of day, as the group climbed back towards the caves, the sound began. It was low and continuous. It came from the new rock, and they all stopped to listen. Then they turned and, like sleep-walkers, began to move towards the rock. They sat in a circle round the strange thing as the darkness came down and a light grew inside it.

The noise grew louder and lights began to flash and move, making patterns that changed all the time. The man-apes watched, their mouths open, not knowing that the thing was examining their minds.

Suddenly one of them stood up. He picked up a piece of grass and tried to tie it into a knot. His eyes were wide with terror as he struggled to make his fingers do what they had never done before. He failed. The broken pieces of grass fell to the ground and he froze into stillness again.

Another man-ape began to move. This one was younger and after some time it succeeded. On the planet Earth the first knot had been tied.

Others did stranger things. Some held their hands out and tried to touch their fingertips together. Some were made to stare at patterns in the rock, watching lines which became thinner and thinner until they could not be seen.

Moon-Watcher stood and picked up a stone. Now on the new rock was a series of circles, each one smaller than the next. The smallest one was black inside. Obeying the instructions in his brain, he threw the stone. He had never done this before, and he missed by some distance.

Try again, said the command. He found another stone and threw. It hit the edge of the rock and made a ringing sound. His third throw hit the circles, only centimeters from the central black one. A strong feeling of pleasure passed through his body.

One by one, every member of the group was tested and then allowed to feel either pleasure or pain. Then the light in the rock died away. Shaking their heads, the man-apes got up and began to walk along the path that led to their caves. They did not look back at the strange light that was showing them the way to their homes - and to an unknown future, perhaps even to the stars.

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