Diary of Starken, Nov. 7, 1805

by Roderick T. Long

[written age 12, on 17 March 1976, in Idaho Falls; we were assigned to write a diary entry as though by a member of the Lewis & Clark expedition, so I wrote this.]

Oh, help. They’ve loaded me onto their foolish boat, now, and they’re about to shove off. They’re putting all manner of cumbersome packages around me, so that I can hardly move. The man with the Blue Jacket tried to tie a rope around my neck, too, but I wouldn’t let him. In fact, I protested most violently. When Blue Jacket got up off the floor, he informed me that I was the most evil creature on earth, a devil in the guise of a horse, using words which are mostly unprintable. I thought he was going to hit me, but the man in the Green Cap stopped him.

Green Cap was the only man on the expedition who liked me, except for Lewis and Clark, whom I called Brown Jacket and Black Boots. Of course, they all thought of me as a dumb animal, but they were kind, which was more than I could say for Blue Jacket. After all, I didn’t ask to come along on this crazy expedition in the first place. And I never could figure out what they hoped to find.

The fog had not lifted, and we could just barely make out the other rafts in the expedition – three in front and two behind.

Green Cap says we should soon reach the O Shun, whatever that is. He keeps patting me me behind the ears and saying, “We’ll soon reach the O Shun, old boy! We’ll soon reach the O Shun.” However, since he thinks I am only a dumb animal, he does not bother to tell me what the O Shun is. All I can gather from what he and Black Boots said a few days ago is that there is a great deal of water there – which leads me to believe it is a place, not a person, as I first assumed.

One hour later –

We just may be reaching Green Cap’s O Shun. We stopped at an Indian village a half-hour ago and the natives seemed to think the O Shun was nearby. The river up ahead is too thin to travel so we’ve abandoned the rafts and are proceeding on foot. When I first got to dry land, I wanted to roll on the ground, but Blue Jacket informed me most emphatically that this action would be less than desirable, so I refrained.

After we had walked for a long time, I heard a roaring, which sounded like a lion I heard once in a zoo. Of course, I wasn’t in the zoo, since animals aren’t allowed in the zoo unless they’re in cages, and then they aren’t allowed to come out. But I was just riding past the zoo when the lion roared. I knew it was a lion because my rider said so.

Green Cap became very excited when he heard the roaring. He said it must be the Cee. I knew the Cee was another word for the O Shun, so I hurried up to the top of the cliff.

When I got to the top of the cliff, I was astonished. Stretching out before me was a desert of water. There was no land anywhere to be seen. It was not like a lake, because instead of the water resting peacefully on the shore, it went in and out, breaking on the shore in spires of spray. On the rocks it shot up a full three yards or my name isn’t Starken!

The men all shouted with joy, “the O Shun!” and ran down to the beach. I did not know why they wanted to go down to the water, since my nose told me it was salt water, and not good for anything. But they did not drink from the Desert of Water. They merely danced around madly on the beach, shouting, “The O Shun! The waves! The Cee Gulz!” and doing cartwheels and somersaults. I will never understand humans!


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