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Kadmudia Gouache.

(Excerpted from The River, or The Honour of Wopsle by Garcia Worm.)

"The mudflats known as Kadmudia Gouache lie between the source of the West Drosophila River and the source of the East Drosophila and along and around and down the banks of the Fly in that area; and it is by far the wettest, muddiest, brownest piece of land in the country. Gravedirt is not deeper nor richer than the mud of Kadmudia Gouache; and not more inclined to drown people either, for there are places here where an uncareful traveller can slip once and disappear forever.

Mostly though, the mudflats are haunted by local people who flit sure-footed across the top of the mud, gathering plants and shellfish and beetles and frogs and edible flies and weeds to use in their cooking. Crabs live in the mud in deep, water-filled holes, and what a lot of hugger-mugger we saw the people go through before they got them out! The pragmatic determination of a local woman, standing bent legged over the top of a hole, dragging up handfuls of wet dirt and flinging it away behind her so that her companion might have a broader opening through which to spear their crab, is not an easy sight to forget.

The mud is shaded by dense, low-set trees which stand only slightly taller than a person. Their trunks begin two feet above the soil; and those two feet of air are filled with a bisection, a trisection, a swarming multitude of roots, rising out of the mud like a collection of wooden spiders and supporting the more noble part of each tree at a drunken angle. These roots are sometimes infested with thick, transparent worms, which are hacked from their hiding places by the locals and eaten raw. These people lived in the village of Damp Ignite, and we thought them as mudbound as any group of crab-eating human beings could be, but now we hear of another group who live in trees on the uttermost fringes of the mud-plain. The Damp Ignitians call that faraway settlement Mud-bum."