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Athropolis: Iceberg - the Story of the Throps and the Squallhoots. Copyright 1994-2002 Athropolis Productions Limited.
Chapter 10 - The Work Begins
The workers carved a propeller from the strongest
ice taken from the deepest part of the ice quarry.
(Click picture to see it full size)

The story has links to GLOSSARY and DICTIONARY, PICTURES and SONGS.
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READING ALOUD TIME: About 14 Minutes
DICTIONARY: "Double-click" any unlinked word in the story and a new window will open with the definition from Merriam-Webster's Student Electronic Dictionary at Word Central.
A reminder of what happened in the LAST CHAPTER...
Athropolis was a beehive of activity, both above and below the waterline. Every Throp and Squallhoot worked as hard and as fast as they could - not an easy task amid the falling and crumbling ice and the puddles that seemed to be forming in every little dip and hollow.

The ice was melting faster and faster and there were signs of destruction everywhere. Everything made of ice seemed to be cracked, chipped, or melting into strange and unusual shapes.

But, there was still some hard ice left - now that the Throps could get to it. They began to carve the great propeller from a block of the strongest and oldest ice, taken, with the help of the Squallhoots, from an ice quarry deep in the centre of Athropolis. Hammers and chisels followed Ludi's plans and tore into the ice. Chips and splinters flew everywhere.

The "junk", gathered from the sea over the centuries, now had a useful and important purpose. It was passed up from the caverns by the Squallhoots and carried away by the Throps. Slowly and surely, the bits and pieces of old things became new things. The treadmill to drive the great ice propeller began to take shape, and sail canvas from old sailing ships was sewn into new sails to fly from the battlements. Even the flags of ancient explorers flapped in the wind once again - continuing their voyages of discovery after many years of slumber.

Toot scampered about the ice. He was happy that everyone was working together, but he was also very worried. "Oh, will there be enough time? Quickly, everyone! Work as fast as you can!" He called and shouted to everyone he met. "Don't stop - not even for a moment!"

Ludi leaned out of
his laboratory window.
Ludi leaned out of his laboratory window. Such activity! Bodies scurrying back and forth, to and fro, up and down! He could see Crystal talking to the General. She was very excited about something, and he could see that the General was listening carefully. But then the General scowled, folded his arms and shook his head from side to side. Crystal, looking very disappointed, walked away. I wonder what that was all about, Ludi thought.

Chisel in hand, he returned to work, chipping more plans and calculations into every available clear space of ice. Almost every flat surface was covered with drawings, diagrams and formulas. He was running out of room, but how could he erase anything when it was too warm to paint on another coat of ice?

Ludi's big plan was magnificent!

The tunnel would open into the ocean underneath the waterline, and after much careful measuring and calculating, the digging had begun. Although the enthusiasm of the Throps was very high, they would soon have to stop digging. The light reflecting through the ancient ice was beginning to dim as the tunnel plunged deeper and deeper and it was becoming very hard to see for anyone who went blind in the dark.

Deep in the ice, the Squallhoots were also busy. Their tunneling skills were put to good use and crews of Squallhoots worked both down to the water, and upward to meet the Throps. Their journey through the ice was a longer one as most of the iceberg was hidden underwater.

In their underground workshops, the Squallhoots had almost completed the shaft to drive the great propeller. When completed, the long hard ice sections would be linked together in a connecting process known only to the Squallhoots. The propeller would be attached to the end, and then both the propeller and the shaft would be fed through the tunnel into the sea.

"Sing along!"
The ice in the centre of Athropolis was still very hard and strong, so there was no danger if the Squallhoots sang. If you listened carefully, you could hear the songs drift up through the passageways.
Play the song NOW!
"Ka Me, Ka Thee"


Ka me, ka thee. Hand in hand.
Ka me, ka thee. We understand.
With a little help we'll save this land,
So come along and lend a hand.

Everyone was busy and Sara was one of the busiest. The Throps quickly recognized her good sense and, arms loaded with materials from the caverns, they called out to her for direction.

"Sara! Where do we take this?"

"More wood! GREAT! Take it to the General!" she answered, her shyness now gone. "And canvas! That's just what we need for the sails! It goes in the castle - to the sewing department!"

"Okay, Sara. We knew YOU'D know - you're so smart!" The Throps smiled and toddled quickly on their way. "Bye!"

Sara thought for a moment. Smart? "Maybe I AM smart. Maybe I just didn't think so," she said to herself.

Kevin ran "a million miles" passing messages back and forth while the Throps and Squallhoots, otherwise separated from one another, worked on with great speed. Even Snort and Toot were getting along just fine, exchanging pieces of mind. Much progress was made as the work never stopped - the Throps could work all day and the Squallhoots could work all night.

And they all did their jobs very well. The Squallhoots could already see faint light reflecting through the ice at the top end of their tunnel, and if they stopped for a moment - but only for a moment - they could hear the Throps on the other side, working towards them. All was going according to plan. The tunnel would soon be complete.

Ka me, ka thee.
I help you, and you help me.
We can do it all together if we try.

The castle was all but deserted. The hallways were quiet - except for the distant sounds of busy Throps that drifted up from the ice outside the walls. Almost everyone was outside working.

Just down the hallway from Ludi's laboratory, a hooded head peeked around the corner. The head was followed by a body in a bulky coat, and the body tip-toed down the passageway - past the laboratory - past the repair shop - to the armory. A peek through the doorway, and ZIP - it quickly disappeared inside.

There it was! The flare gun! A gloved hand snatched it from the table!

The body slunk back to the doorway, peeked up and down the hallway, and scampered away - the ill-gotten booty hidden beneath the bulky coat.

To last half of Chapter 10

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