Friends, the subject of today’s HEGBITE is rambling archivist and curator of arctic curios, Dr. J. Sidney Góngolphin. Let’s hear it for the good doctor, folks.
Góngolphin is the nearest thing to a Hegs enthusiast that you will find among the heroes, villains and plain ordinary when not ornery customers that make up the mittitur characterum of the world’s first arctic gothic horror – known to you and I as The Reeking Hegs. Góngolphin first shows up in Canto 8.
Having survived the great train disaster ( Canto 7) and a long and perilous journey as he follows the iron road alone across the ice desert our narrator finds himself on the banks of a sluggish stream. Across the way he espies a group of workers. In deed, they are the work gang detailed to bridge the river and so complete the railway. Seighton, for it is he, spends the night with them and next day continues his journey on a river ferry-boat bound, eventually, for Ugzcyk. On board he meets none other than Dr.J.Sidney Góngolphin.
” Dr. Góngolphin turned out to be a most amusing travelling companion. His erudition on all aspects of The Hegs was a joy to listen to. And with his unshakeable conviction that we were all living victims of an eternal rooting conspiracy, he proved a veritable mine of disinformation and falsehood. Everything I know today I owe to him.”
The doctor lengthily appraises Seighton of the matchless wealth of his Heg-related collection of archives and artifacts, but then events take a more sinister turn.
At Góngolphin’s behest the ferry makes a detour and then stops at what he calls an “ice-grotto”. But this is not any old ice grotto. This one contains and conceals something awe-inducingly diablongi!
“The day starts normally, full of hope. All of a sudden the world is broken into a multitude of pieces impossible to reassemble. Stepping into the cavern we were afflicted by a horrendous sight…a huge iceblock with a raging man frozen inside. Straight away I saw that it was Yick. It was too uncanny, too unreal, but might it just might…be true? It was. I went up close to study the face, closer than I had ever dared…The doctor took various measurements and paced about the ice chamber, scribbling in his notebook.”
Seemingly only a minor part of the jigsaw plot, the Doctor stuns one and all by reappearing in Canto 12, The Trial, as a witness for the prosecution. Here regard with full solemnity an extract from the trial mimeograph.
“And this was the real reason for the peoples’ excitement…?”
“No, no. The real reason was that Fume had invited Atiqtalik to be his Best Mammy Moose, and she was to ride in the King’s very own sled to the Lodge. All of Ugzcyk was agog with the news.”
“Agog and covered in something, I believe, Doctor.”
“Bunting. Yes bunting. I clearly recall that some of the heraldic devices on the Royal penantry were incorrect.”
“And that was the day Aspidisteria disappeared?” enquired the head.
“No, that was the night before!”
Want to know more? Wetted has been the whistle of curiosity? Fear not, friends, for thanks to the untiring dedication to literary excellence of Jeff B. and his cohort of fanatical librarians you can get yourself a copy of The Reeking Hegs in paperback, Ebook and/or audiobook from ANY Amazon in this here world. Here’s a sample link: