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Case 144


As Djishin left the Temple of the White Iron Sky to return home, a hand fell on his shoulder. “Brother,” said a monk in white robes, “I see by your habit you are from the Temple of the Morning Brass Gong.”

“To deny this would be to speak a falsehood,” said Djishin.

“I have heard that it is a cruel place, where the foolish are corrected with humiliation and injury, if not outright execution,” said the monk.

“To deny this would be to speak a falsehood,” said Djishin, “yet to affirm it would also be so.”

“I do not see,” said the monk.

“A temple’s greatness lies in the stories told of it,” said Djishin, “Thus our scribe will sometimes revise our annals to make the tales therein more... memorable.”

“Then your most sacred Event Log is not to be trusted?” asked the monk in astonishment.

“Null,” answered Djishin calmly, as master Kaimu had taught him. “You may trust the annals to be faithful to the spirit of the events which occurred, rather than the specifics of those events.”

The monk spat on the ground at Djishin’s feet. “Your words have all the convoluted logic of one who still codes in procedures. How could you come here hoping to grasp the fundamentals of provably correct algorithms, when you cannot even distinguish true from false?”

Quick as an eyeblink, Djishin broke a branch from a tree and struck the white-robed monk across the stomach. Djishin continued to pummel the speechless monk, yelling as each blow fell:

"In Perl, underline is understood!
In Perl, underline is understood!"

Terrified, the monk ran from Djishin, nearly knocking over an old nun as he sped up the tower steps and vanished through its doors.

“What purpose has this violence?” demanded the nun of Djishin.

“I wished for your monk to learn the Perl $_ mnemonic, and to never forget it,” said Djishin.

“But we do not use Perl here,” said the nun.

“That is why I chose it,” said Djishin. “From now on, whenever he tells the story of the mad visitor who answered his question with the limb of a tree, he will quote the strange words I shouted. And when he understands why he still knows them, he will grasp the algorithm of the scribe of the Morning Brass Gong.”