The joy that swelled up within me on that day I first discovered the little green sprouting plant beneath my feet was matched only by the joy I felt on the following days when more of those same budding plants emerged near. Eight in total, and, curiously, they appeared to sprout along the path I walked when fetching water from the fountain to deliver to the King’s Foil. After deliberating for, what was an admittedly embarrassingly long period of time (it appears my sense of reasoning had been somewhat dulled during my lulls), I eventually came to the conclusion that it was the water dripping from the cracks in my hands that caused this sudden burst of growth; and, of course! How could it not have been? By virtue of its simplicity, the answer slipped through cracks in my mind—much like the water in my hands. As such, one would assume—and rightfully so—that continued watering of the area would encourage new and brilliant growth. And so, I spent the following ‘days’ gaily throwing water about me in the hopes of springing new life into this barren green pasture.
The King’s Foil remained in its ever-prevailing state of near-death. The green shoots, however, burgeoned. In what was seemingly a blink of the eye (if I ever could do such a thing), they shot up and grew to about six inches in height; their twin leaves fanned out until they were roughly the length and width of my hand. Engorged became the ground around in which they sprouted from. And, damp—waterlogged; bulging peat that squelched as I took steps near, trickling clear water from between the blades of grass as the sprouting leaves grew more prominent, and larger, until at the base of the stem came crowning a bulbous brown root; a harvest was due.
The excitement I felt was palpable—but my hands were mired by trepidation as I wrapped my marble-like fingers around the stem of the plant. It had become somewhat woody, thickened and stiff, yet still holding traces of its vivid green beginnings. The once stable earth had now become a mushy, waterlogged peat that gave way easily as I pulled at the stem—and from deep within the ground came birthing a large, bulbous root. It was conical in shape and roughly the length of my forearm and the width of two. I immediately took notice of the oddity of its shape and, more specifically, the four nubs of root protruding from the base of its body. At the stem of the root, it began bulbous and rounded in shape until coming to a pronged point where the root split in two; resembling that, if one were to close their eyes and squint, as of legs. Nubbly rounded ends protruded from the upper half and, just like before, very loosely resembled that of arms.
I gave it a once over—still holding it by the stem—inspecting its motley skin hued in a versicolour of oranges, browns, and reds, while brushing off clumps of deeply saturated dirt still clinging to the root. My thumb brushed over what felt like an indent of sorts, filled with compacted dirt. I began scraping away at it, and the more dirt I removed, the deeper the indent appeared to be until, to my surprise, I discovered that it was, in fact, a perfectly circular opening—a round slit no bigger than the tip of my finger. The root was hollow.
Next to it was another circular opening of the same shape and size of its neighbour, and, running horizontally just below them across the root was a long slit. I watched as this hairline gash begin to open, and grow wider, and as the two circular holes begin to close; watching as the thick rubbery skin of the root crinkle and bend around these openings at an uncanny speed; as if I was witnessing something that would normally take place over a period days or weeks unfold over in a matter of moments—and perhaps I was simply sitting there for days or weeks watching this root contort, yet I simply perceived it as brief moments in time. The two circular holes closed, and then opened. And then closed, and then opened once again. And I realised that the root was blinking—and its long horizontal slit was curved. The root was smiling; and from its smile came a gurgle; and following the gurgle came pouring out from its mouth a steady stream of clear, cold water. As I cradled the mewling root in my arms, with water trickling down the cracks of my bones, a name immediately came to mind: Inrorobunda tuberosum or, as it will be commonly referred as: Waterspud.