Of all the names from the distant past, few shine as brightly or are as well remembered as that of the legendary explorer, Micro Polo. Rest assured, he must have been an actual person because too many stories and discoveries have been connected with his legacy. A few rare, hand-copied journals have been preserved in some of the world’s most obscure libraries documenting his remarkable life. An intrepid traveler and explorer, it is said his ambition was to take the measure of the world even if he fell off its flat edge in the process! Few individuals in recorded history have had the thirst for knowledge or have traveled so far in the name of adventure. By far, the most unusual story that has come down to us comes from Micro Polo’s last adventure. Widely believed to be a fantasy, a recent manuscript discovered in an ancient clay pot and buried for a millennia in the desert ruins of a forgotten city has resurrected the tale and its supposed veracity. This previously unknown manuscript offers the most detailed version of Micro Polo’s last voyage and is augmented by fantastical drawings scribbled onto the margins. We offer this contemporary retelling of this ancient tale for your amusement.
On a moonless and cloudy night upon the open sea…tragedy struck! Micro Polo’s sailing ship caught fire and sank on what would be his final voyage away from home. There was barely time to escape and a life raft was quickly thrown overboard. Only three scared and injured sailors including its captain, Micro Polo, climbed into this bobbing cork before the last of the fiery masts disappeared beneath the waves . During the next week, one sailor perished from his burns and another went mad from thirst and flung himself into the waters never to be seen again. This left Micro Polo alone in the raft as he drifted with the currents to points unknown. He resolved to survive and thoughts of his family back home kept him alive.
Micro Polo survived by catching unwary seabirds that landed on his craft and by collecting rainwater from passing showers. It was during the second week of his ordeal that our hero noticed a fresh change in the surrounding air. Around him floating in the water were bits and pieces of vegetation and he knew he was near land. Spying terra firm and the entrance to a large river that flowed into the sea, Micro Polo furiously paddled and reached the shore of a completely unknown world.
Upon setting his feet upon the solid ground and through parched lips, Micro Polo gave thanks to his gods and drank deeply from the fresh water of the river. His spirits were uplifted! He still had no idea whether or not he was standing on some previously uncharted island or land mass? At this joyous moment, it did not matter where he was and Micro Polo was eager to leave the confines of the tiny raft and look for help and food.
Micro Polo had not travelled very far down the sandy beach before he realized that he had arrived at someplace extraordinary. Before him laying on the coarse sand was the largest fish skeleton he had ever seen! It was a monster and Micro Polo felt lucky not to have encountered him in the water. The size of the creature’s mouth was large enough to have easily swallowed the explorer! Judging from the scales and boney plates, Micro Polo thought this behemoth resembled the common carp of his home country. Soon our hero would come upon many other large and unusual sights.
The vegetation of this new land was outstanding! It was verdant and outrageously populated with the largest blooms imaginable. There were immensely long vines and grasses as tall as trees! As he walked and explored this oversized garden, Micro Polo noticed that like the fish he found…many of the flowers of this new land resembled varieties that he was somewhat familiar with and had grown at home. Over here were giant morning glories and could this be some new type of gigantic rose mallow?
Wandering further afield, Micro Polo came upon a clearing populated by a large stand of loosestrife flowers. The purple color of the flowers was intoxicating and the explorer could not take his eyes off of the huge butterflies as large as eagles sipping nectar from the blossoms. In addition to being a riot of color, the loosestrife flowers were alive with the buzzing sounds of hundreds of insects flying around. Here Nature was undisturbed and at peace going about its business.
Micro Polo recognized the Cabbage White butterfly from his homeland, but there were many new species here and all the more remarkable for their immense scale and beauty. The insects (including some very large bumblebees) all left the traveler alone as they were preoccupied gathering nectar and pollen from the flowers. As the sun was setting, Micro Polo began to get very weary and he sought out a place to spend the night.
Of all the immense delights of that first day, nothing struck Micro Polo with more awe than the size of these trees. The roots alone were thicker around than a man’s body. The captain in him noted that a single one of these gigantic trees would provide enough lumber to build a single new ship. For now, he would be happy to take shelter for the night under its huge and leafy canopy. He found a nice safe space protected by interlocking roots and decided to settle down for the evening.
To pad the ground for sleeping purposes, Micro Polo gathered the immense yellow leaves that were lying around the tree. There was an intoxicating spicy smell from sleeping upon a bed of leaves and our intrepid explorer barely registered the distant thunder storm that was approaching before falling asleep. Micro Polo was so fatigued by the excitement of the day that the brief but intense rain showers were not acknowledged at that time. The explorer later recalled that this was the most restful night of sleep he had ever had.
The following morning was wet from dew and the previous night’s rain. Micro Polo decided to get up at first light and further explore this unbelievable landscape. He found some greens that were palatable and had breakfast. Later he crossed over an area that was rocky and had large deposits of driftwood bleaching in the sun. Thus far, he had seen nothing that made him think that he wasn’t the only person walking this land…but that was about to change.
Tangled up in the driftwood were certain outsized objects that looked like common household items that had been carelessly thrown aside. Micro Polo came upon a large black sandal that was as long as his body! There were other fragments whose purposes and materials he did not recognize. Not far from this discovery, he came upon this find.
Micro Polo recognized this an implement for cleaning one’s teeth, but on a gargantuan scale! For the first time since arriving on these shores, the explorer began to fear and have doubts. It was now clear that a race of giants also inhabited this land!
Micro Polo decided to return back to the area where he first landed. Along the way, he passed by what he previously thought were the possible ruins of some kind of stone fortification only to learn upon closer inspection that it was the remains of someone’s old camp fire. There were immense charred logs within the stone ring. Our explorer decided to hasten his step back to the raft. He had no desire to see what type or kind of “man” could work on this scale! Micro Polo was also determined not to become either this race of giants next pet or worse yet…a meal. He had seen enough and was ready to take his chances upon the sea again.
All manner of bizarre thoughts crossed over Micro Polo’s mind. Had he in fact landed on some fantastic island or continent of giants? Or, was it possible that by some unknown method or means that his very being had been shrunk down in size rendering him diminutive? Could prolonged exposure to the elements while on the raft have this effect upon him? Regardless, if he were to return home he would need proof of his latest and perhaps greatest discovery. Thinking quickly, Micro Polo tore off a length of morning glory vine with blossoms and threw it across his shoulders. He would take this plant specimen home with him or perish in the process.
When the great explorer reached the spot where he thought he left his raft…it was nowhere to be seen! The rain storm from last night had swelled the volume of the river and the raft, left unsecured, simply drifted off. Micro Polo was in a panic and searched up and down the riverbank, but the black craft that bore him to safety once before had simply vanished.
As the story continues, many hours and several miles or kilometers later…Micro Polo came upon an artifact partially buried in the sand that would save him. It had been shaped by the giants and had probably served as a bowl or at least it looked like one. Being a resourceful individual, Micro Polo had the great idea to use this bowl as his getaway vessel. He gathered up some provisions for the journey, wrapped the now wilting morning glory vine around his body and launched himself back upon the waters. He would trust that whatever mysterious forces brought him here would also return him home again.
Micro Polo was discovered adrift after several weeks by a passing merchant ship and he was taken back to his homeland. The sailors that found him reported that he was speaking gibberish and hallucinating badly. All his provisions were gone along with the morning glory vine which he had eaten when nothing else edible presented itself. He kept telling anybody who would listen about this fantastic land of giants he had discovered, but nobody believed him. Those with a kind heart and ear just let him go on with his crazy story. Eventually, Micro Polo’s health returned to him with his family’s care, however, his days of great discoveries were over. The famed explorer spent the rest of his life chronicling his adventures in his notebooks and navigating the known world through hand drawn maps and charts spread out upon his library’s wooden table. In the many years that passed, nobody else came across Micro Polo’s land of giants…however, people had a devil of a time explaining where that odd bowl-like boat came from?