Sample M01 from Robert Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1961. Pp. 250-255. A part of the XML version of the Brown Corpus2,016 words 651 (32.3%) quotes 12 symbolsM01

Used by permission of Robert A. Heinlein. 0010-1860

Robert Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1961. Pp. 250-255.

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Now that he knew himself to be self he was free to grok ever closer to his brothers , merge without let . Self's integrity was and is and ever had been . Mike stopped to cherish all his brother selves , the many threes-fulfilled on Mars , corporate and discorporate , the precious few on Earth -- the unknown powers of three on Earth that would be his to merge with and cherish now that at last long waiting he grokked and cherished himself .

Mike remained in trance ; ; there was much to grok , loose ends to puzzle over and fit into his growing -- all that he had seen and heard and been at the Archangel Foster Tabernacle ( not just cusp when he and Digby had come face to face alone ) why Bishop Senator Boone made him warily uneasy , how Miss Dawn Ardent tasted like a water brother when she was not , the smell of goodness he had incompletely grokked in the jumping up and down and wailing --

Jubal's conversations coming and going -- Jubal's words troubled him most ; ; he studied them , compared them with what he had been taught as a nestling , struggling to bridge between languages , the one he thought with and the one he was learning to think in . The word `` church '' which turned up over and over again among Jubal's words gave him knotty difficulty ; ; there was no Martian concept to match it -- unless one took `` church '' and `` worship '' and `` God '' and `` congregation '' and many other words and equated them to the totality of the only world he had known during growing-waiting then forced the concept back into English in that phrase which had been rejected ( by each differently ) by Jubal , by Mahmoud , by Digby .

`` Thou art God '' . He was closer to understanding it in English now , although it could never have the inevitability of the Martian concept it stood for . In his mind he spoke simultaneously the English sentence and the Martian word and felt closer grokking . Repeating it like a student telling himself that the jewel is in the lotus he sank into nirvana .

Before midnight he speeded his heart , resumed normal breathing , ran down his check list , uncurled and sat up . He had been weary ; ; now he felt light and gay and clear-headed , ready for the many actions he saw spreading out before him .

He felt a puppyish need for company as strong as his earlier necessity for quiet . He stepped out into the hall , was delighted to encounter a water brother . `` Hi '' ! !

`` Oh . Hello , Mike . My , you look chipper '' .

`` I feel fine ! ! Where is everybody '' ? ?

`` Asleep . Ben and Stinky went home an hour ago and people started going to bed '' .

`` Oh '' . Mike felt disappointed that Mahmoud had left ; ; he wanted to explain his new grokking .

`` I ought to be asleep , too , but I felt like a snack . Are you hungry '' ? ?

`` Sure , I'm hungry '' ! !

`` Come on , there's some cold chicken and we'll see what else '' . They went downstairs , loaded a tray lavishly . `` Let's take it outside . It's plenty warm '' .

`` A fine idea '' , Mike agreed .

`` Warm enough to swim -- real Indian summer . I'll switch on the floods '' .

`` Don't bother '' , Mike answered . `` I'll carry the tray '' . He could see in almost total darkness . Jubal said that his night-sight probably came from the conditions in which he had grown up , and Mike grokked this was true but grokked that there was more to it ; ; his foster parents had taught him to see . As for the night being warm , he would have been comfortable naked on Mount Everest but his water brothers had little tolerance for changes in temperature and pressure ; ; he was considerate of their weakness , once he learned of it . But he was looking forward to snow -- seeing for himself that each tiny crystal of the water of life was a unique individual , as he had read -- walking barefoot , rolling in it .

In the meantime he was pleased with the warm night and the still more pleasing company of his water brother .

`` Okay , take the tray . I'll switch on the underwater lights . That'll be plenty to eat by '' .

`` Fine '' . Mike liked having light up through the ripples ; ; it was a goodness , beauty . They picnicked by the pool , then lay back on the grass and looked at stars .

`` Mike , there's Mars . It is Mars , isn't it ? ? Or Antares '' ? ?

`` It is Mars '' .

`` Mike ? ? What are they doing on Mars '' ? ?

He hesitated ; ; the question was too wide for the sparse English language . `` On the side toward the horizon -- the southern hemisphere -- it is spring ; ; plants are being taught to grow '' .

`` ' Taught to grow ' '' ? ?

He hesitated . `` Larry teaches plants to grow . I have helped him . But my people -- Martians , I mean ; ; I now grok you are my people -- teach plants another way . In the other hemisphere it is growing colder and nymphs , those who stayed alive through the summer , are being brought into nests for quickening and more growing '' . He thought . `` Of the humans we left at the equator , one has discorporated and the others are sad '' .

Yes , I heard it in the news '' .

Mike had not heard it ; ; he had not known it until asked . `` They should not be sad . Mr. Booker T. W. Jones Food Technician First Class is not sad ; ; the Old Ones have cherished him '' .

`` You knew him '' ? ?

`` Yes . He had his own face , dark and beautiful . But he was homesick '' .

`` Oh , dear ! ! Mike do you ever get homesick ? ? For Mars '' ? ?

`` At first I was homesick '' , he answered . `` I was lonely always '' . He rolled toward her and took her in his arms . `` But now I am not lonely . I grok I shall never be lonely again '' .

`` Mike darling '' -- They kissed , and went on kissing .

Presently his water brother said breathlessly . `` Oh , my ! ! That was almost worse than the first time '' .

`` You are all right , my brother '' ? ?

`` Yes . Yes indeed . Kiss me again '' .

A long time later , by cosmic clock , she said , `` Mike ? ? Is that -- I mean , ' Do you know ' '' --

`` I know . It is for growing closer . Now we grow closer '' .

`` Well I've been ready a long time -- goodness , we all have , but never mind , dear ; ; turn just a little . I'll help '' .

As they merged , grokking together , Mike said softly and triumphantly : `` Thou art God '' .

Her answer was not in words . Then , as their grokking made them ever closer and Mike felt himself almost ready to discorporate her voice called him back : `` Oh ! ! Oh ! ! Thou art God '' ! !

`` We grok God '' .

25 .

On Mars humans were building pressure domes for the male and female party that would arrive by next ship . This went faster than scheduled as the Martians were helpful . Part of the time saved was spent on a preliminary estimate for a long-distance plan to free bound oxygen in the sands of Mars to make the planet more friendly to future human generations .

The Old Ones neither helped nor hindered this plan ; ; time was not yet . Their meditations were approaching a violent cusp that would shape Martian art for many millennia . On Earth elections continued and a very advanced poet published a limited edition of verse consisting entirely of punctuation marks and spaces ; ; Time magazine reviewed it and suggested that the Federation Assembly Daily Record should be translated into the medium .

A colossal campaign opened to sell more sexual organs of plants and Mrs. Joseph ( `` Shadow of Greatness '' ) Douglas was quoted as saying : `` I would no more sit down without flowers on my table than without serviettes '' . A Tibetan swami from Palermo , Sicily , announced in Beverly Hills a newly discovered , ancient yoga discipline for ripple breathing which increased both pranha and cosmic attraction between sexes . His chelas were required to assume the matsyendra posture dressed in hand-woven diapers while he read aloud from Rig-Veda and an assistant guru examined their purses in another room -- nothing was stolen ; ; the purpose was less immediate .

The President of the United States proclaimed the first Sunday in November as `` National Grandmothers' Day '' and urged America to say it with flowers . A funeral parlor chain was indicted for price-cutting . Fosterite bishops , after secret conclave , announced the Church's second Major Miracle : Supreme Bishop Digby had been translated bodily to Heaven and spot-promoted to Archangel , ranking with-but-after Archangel Foster . The glorious news had been held up pending Heavenly confirmation of the elevation of a new Supreme Bishop , Huey Short -- a candidate accepted by the Boone faction after lots had been cast repeatedly .

L'Unita and Hoy published identical denunciations of Short's elevation , l'Osservatore Romano and the Christian Science Monitor ignored it , Times of India snickered at it , and the Manchester Guardian simply reported it -- the Fosterites in England were few but extremely militant .

Digby was not pleased with his promotion . The Man from Mars had interrupted him with his work half finished -- and that stupid jackass Short was certain to louse it up . Foster listened with angelic patience until Digby ran down , then said , `` Listen , junior , you're an angel now -- so forget it . Eternity is no time for recriminations . You too were a stupid jackass until you poisoned me . Afterwards you did well enough . Now that Short is Supreme Bishop he'll do all right , he can't help it . Same as with the Popes . Some of them were warts until they got promoted . Check with one of them , go ahead -- there's no professional jealousy here '' .

Digby calmed down , but made one request .

Foster shook his halo . `` You can't touch him . You shouldn't have tried to . Oh , you can submit a requisition for a miracle if you want to make a fool of yourself . But , I'm telling you , it'll be turned down -- you don't understand the System yet . The Martians have their own setup , different from ours , and as long as they need him , we can't touch him . They run their show their way -- the Universe has variety , something for everybody -- a fact you field workers often miss '' .

`` You mean this punk can brush me aside and I've got to hold still for it '' ? ?

`` I held still for the same thing , didn't I ? ? I'm helping you now , am I not ? ? Now look , there's work to be done and lots of it . The Boss wants performance , not gripes . If you need a Day off to calm down , duck over to the Muslim Paradise and take it . Otherwise , straighten your halo , square your wings , and dig in . The sooner you act like an angel the quicker you'll feel angelic . Get Happy , junior '' ! !

Digby heaved a deep ethereal sigh . `` Okay , I'm Happy . Where do I start '' ? ?

Jubal did not hear of Digby's disappearance when it was announced , and , when he did , while he had a fleeting suspicion , he dismissed it ; ; if Mike had had a finger in it , he had gotten away with it -- and what happened to supreme bishops worried Jubal not at all as long as he wasn't bothered .

His household had gone through an upset . Jubal deduced what had happened but did not know with whom -- and didn't want to inquire . Mike was of legal age and presumed able to defend himself in the clinches . Anyhow , it was high time the boy was salted .

Jubal couldn't reconstruct the crime from the way the girls behaved because patterns kept shifting -- ABC vs D , then BCD vs A or AB vs CD , or AD vs CB , through all ways that four women can gang up on each other .

This continued most of the week following that ill-starred trip to church , during which period Mike stayed in his room and usually in a trance so deep that Jubal would have pronounced him dead had he not seen it before . Jubal would not have minded it if service had not gone to pieces . The girls seemed to spend half their time tiptoeing in `` to see if Mike was all right '' and they were too preoccupied to cook , much less be secretaries . Even rock-steady Anne -- Hell , Anne was the worst ! ! Absent-minded , subject to unexplained tears Jubal would have bet his life that if Anne were to witness the Second Coming , she would memorize date , time , personae , events , and barometric pressure without batting her calm blue eyes .