The Toki Ponist on the Mountain main page

Piqued - A Toki Ponist Adventure
Chapter 8: Hil-bert curves

You are reading a chapter of the novel Piqued - a Toki Ponist Adventure. The novel is part of a larger universe, explore the rest here.

toki li kiwen la, o toki ko!
Toki Ponist Pu

“I’m almost seven,” the boy said.

“Seven what?”


“Oh, years? Good to know you’re six years old.”

“I’m Julian. What’s your name?”

Tipi skipped a step to think. “They call me Tipi, short for The Toki Ponist on the Mountain.”

“That’s silly.”

“You’re silly.”

“No, you’re silly.” He kicked a rock over the edge, which tumbled down the steep grassy slope. “Didn’t your mom and dad give you a name?”

“I suspect they did,” Tipi said.

“So what is it?”

“I don’t remember, but I was told it is Joakim.”

“I like Tipi.”

They followed a wooden sign with the name Gaststätte Zum Fettleibigen Knödel on it, which was the most likely hut Julian’s parents would end up at. The path lead the two into the pine forest again, which meant more challenging climbs. Julian’s small legs had more difficulty taking the tree-root steps, but he could clamber on all fours and had the energy of two raccoons. Tipi had difficulty catching up.

“Wait up,” he said. “Before you lose me too.”

Julian scowled back at Tipi. “Hurry, they might have gone home without me!”

“I’m coming, I’m coming,” Tipi huffed.

After two more signs to the Gaststätte, they exchanged the forest again for a grassy patch that served as a downhill ski slope in the winter. A long winding path worked itself up to a wooden structure. “I think it’s up there, “ he said to Julian, who lit up and picked up pace again. Tipi tried to match his speed.

He could almost see a tiny figure waiting at the top, looking down, searching for his son. Once he’d recognize Julian, he’d run down the hill and they would embrace. Julian would say he was sorry and so would his dad. His mom would be further up the hill, crying and waiting until the two would come up to her for a family hug. But the father would not let go. It would be such a delightful sight. They would thank Tipi for bringing them back their only son.

“Do you have any brothers or sisters?” Tipi asked.


They would thank Tipi for reuniting them with their only child. Tipi could use the karma points if he ever was to become enlightened again. Not much of a guru if you won’t even help a child find back his parents.

The karma points had to collect interest in the bank for a while, though. There was nobody waiting for Julian near the restaurant. There were a handful of people drinking and eating on the terrace and from all sides day-trippers stumbled to and from the hub at the hilltop. Further up, he noticed the ski lift, which was out of service during the summer months. In between, there was the playground Julian had been talking about.

Tipi unpacked two lunches from his backpack and handed one to Julian. “Here, take something to eat while you look around for your parents. I’m sure they are around somewhere.”

Tipi took his lunch, sitting in the grass. Schnitzel on a kaiser and a banana. He was halfway to his banana when a young man on a mountain bike skidded to a halt. He stepped off and let loose a unique set of curses. Then he threw the bike in the grass, looking peeved at the valley down below.

“Everything alright?” Tipi asked the man from a small distance.

“This stupid bike can’t handle it.”

“The bike looks fine to me.”

“It’s the battery, it doesn’t have the juice to get me up these slopes.”


“It’s an e-bike.” He hissed. Then he walked off to get himself a drink in the restaurant.

Why would you want an electric mountain bike? Isn’t the physical effort you put into it the whole fun? He could find appreciation for mountain biking, unlike for cycle racing and running. Those sports crave monotony and desire an almost robotic rhythm on long stretches of repetition. Mountain biking was not about the climbs or the downhills but about single rider tracks, twisting in the least efficient way from point A to B, without caring what either of those points are.

Kathy had it all backwards. The mountain is not a metaphor for tackling the challenges of life. Yes, you could see the mountain as an obstacle to overcome. And once you conquered the mountain, you flattened it, but it never stops there. Each slope reveals a smaller hill to climb. Those small hills will grow into mountains of their own. And flattening those mountains will reveal new growing hills. But it’s not the hills that are growing but your attention to them.

The distressed man with the disappointing bike was making a mountain out of a molehill. He overcame the challenge on his bike without even breaking too much of a sweat. Yet, here he is fussing about having to exert some of his own effort and not solely relying on a charged, powerful battery. His challenge is no longer the actual mountain but his beef with technology. And even if the battery had enough power, he would find something else to complain about. The mountain is not just the one peak; it is a curve with infinite length of hills upon slopes upon smaller hills upon slopes upon smaller hills. The whole thing is self-similar. Tipi couldn’t blame the man, though. Once you flatten a peak, there is no reference to distinguish the larger peak from the smaller one. Instead of conquering each peak, we should try to reconstruct and appreciate the bigger mountain that is crushed beneath our feet.

Julian returned to Tipi with an empty lunch bag. “I can’t find them, “ he said.

“Have you tried inside the restaurant? Maybe they can call your parents?”

“I don’t know their number anyway,” he said.

“Look, I’m on my way further up the mountain, so I can’t help you anymore.” Guilt crawled into spine with each painful word. “I am sure there are people near this place that can help you and take you down into the valley.”

“But they’re all strangers!”

“So was I, two hours ago,” Tipi protested, not sure why he tried to reason with a six-year-old.

Julian sat beside Tipi in the grass. The biker jogged to his bike. He put on his protective gear to prepare for his descent.

“Can’t you take this kid down with you?” Tipi said. “He’s lost his parents.”

“No!” the man answered and gestured he had bigger problems to deal with.

“See,” Julian said. “I like you.”

“Fine. Did you finish your lunch?”

“There were ducks in the pond.”

“Good, let’s go back down to my hotel, they’ll take care of you there. They won’t take care of me, but I’ll deal with that later”

“Don’t they like you?”

“They might if I could afford another night.”

“You’re silly.”

Read the next chapter