Chris Martin

The Great Macropod Exodus

This story is particularly dear to me, and I felt it strongly deserved to be told; as such, I have attempted to put forth my best articulation of the tale.

The agéd Prophet hunched begrudgingly over his walking pole, peering out at distant Tasman Sea. His rugged appearance was that of a warrior torn by battle, and this Prophet had regrettedly endured many; but his eyes revealed no such fatigue, staring stolidly, displaying only his fierce determination. Something popped in his neck as he turned to behold his followers camping in the valley below: the noble Marsüpian Clan, fearful now as they crouched huddled in groups around small fires. Perhaps their freedom, the leader ruminated, will have come at too great a price. Three days had passed since their escape, and already their packs were beginning to run bereft of crustacea. Three suns had risen since the Departure, and the setting of each ushered in a harsher nightfall. Great winds blew in off the waters to the east, bitter cold jets of frosty dusk air which penetrated the very souls of the hapless Marsüpians.

They had thus far managed to ward off the advances of the Tasmænian Imperial Guard, for these were largely ceremonial appointments, having little combat experience and lacking competent leadership. And as the Marsüpians’ strength steadily waned, the Đingo Tribes, fierce mercinaries from the North, drew ever closer to join the Tasmænians in the final assault. The Prophet, dwelling not on the approaching fanged terror, directed his gaze again eastward— towards the sea— to the final hope of salvation. From the valley, bucks, does, and joeys looked up to the Prophet with diminishing faith. Not one of them could swim.

The horn sounded early before dawn, and the weary travelers marched seaward once more, with the dogs of war nearing in pursuit. Dark golden Arrawa soared in wide circles above the procession, their sharp eyes foreseeing the carnage which was certain to ensue. These aviators waited patiently from the skies, casting shadow upon the earth by the oceans’s edge; there, finally, the Marsüpian Clan gathered, and boomers prepared to make their final stand.

Mere kilometers away, the attackers charged. All eyes directed to the west, none noticed the Prophet stepping into the water. His face remained unchanged, his focus unwavering. A gust of wind carrying the scent of Đingo ruffled his dampened cloak as he drew his staff and dipped it steadily into the water. Air and sea swirled about the staff, and the enchanter nearly smiled. Grasping the implement firmly in both paws, he lifted it up and brought it down swiftly once more— to the sound of a small and disappointing splash, upon which he removed the staff from the water. “Mmh,” the Prophet grunted.


Biting into the small, impaled cray, he pulled it adeptly from the base of his staff. Some began to take notice as the Prophet chewed, then stabbed once more deep into the sandy banks of the Tasman Sea. The surface shuddered, the water withdrew, and the waves, possessed, all crashed away from where the Prophet had struck. He beckoned the Clan to follow, and hopped down to the ocean-bottom path that was to lead the kangaroos home to New Zealand.

I write about Haskell and related topics; you can find my works online on Type Classes and in print from The Joy of Haskell.