« Good news from the European National Lottery Foundation | Main | Notes for a Successful Transformation »

The Knitted Octopus and the Book

by Alex Dally MacFarlane

“Book,” said the knitted octopus, reaching a white and teal-striped limb over the hard cover, “will you not accompany me to the postcards leaning against the wall, so we can admire forest-lined lakes and red spiralling staircases together?”

After a pause, the attractively illustrated book said, “Very well.”


They jumped from the hi-fi speaker on which they sat, they crossed the desk side-by-side, and the small journey made with the book made a smile crease the knitted octopus’ face under its black bead eyes.

From atop a letter handwritten on green paper and bordered with cartoons, they looked at the postcards.

“Those are very fine red staircases,” the book said after a time.

“Yes,” said the knitted octopus, its smile un-creasing.

“It is nice to be away from the chatter of the vitamins.”


The knitted octopus glanced at its companion and wished the book would find better words than this empty commentary. Perhaps it will, when I offer it more than postcard-views.

“Book, I have something I would like to say.”


“I want to go exploring. Off the edge of the desk is a vast sweep of wood, where there are more constructions. There are corners that might hide secrets. I will take the cables lying across the desk and fashion a ladder, and use it to descend. And then... exploration!”

The book remained silent.

“And book, I... I have enjoyed our journeys to the other end of the desk, where jewellery and paper make a landscape that changes from day to day. I would like it very much if you were to accompany me in my journey.”

“I see.” Then, before the knitted octopus could think of a reply: “The world is not just full of lakes and staircase. There are dangers. I know this, from the stories inside me.”

Quietly the knitted octopus said, “Wouldn’t you like to see some of the wonders?”

“I would rather not be eaten.” Worry edged its voice like glue binding.

“I see.”


But on the morning when the knitted octopus lowered its ladder of cables, the book shuffled across the desk and said, “The vitamins are awfully loud. And dull too.”

“You are coming?”

“I have never been very good at finding the right thing to say to those whose company I particularly enjoy. Perhaps on this journey, I shall. Are you ready to descend?”

Post a comment