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"Poison is unreliable; most of the time, they will not touch it. On the other hand, sulfur smoke is thorough and quick. It was unfortunate it had not occurred to them before /.../
The mice felt nothing for a long time; the fumes seeped into the nest with difficulty. When the pungency penetrated their nostrils, they instinctively thrust their heads together. That was how they waited. After a couple of minutes, they dashed out headlong onto the barricaded route - only one of the females failed to move. And not out of fright or cunning: she was simply more spent than the others. She was nearing the twenty-fourth day, while the other female was in about the fifteenth day.
Her three companions underwent a strange transformation outside. At first, they circled around the box at the utmost speed; then they clambered up to the table and every shelf one after the other, all the way to the highest one, and, circling, they searched everywhere for the entrance to the nest. This circling became their sole preoccupation. And they experienced an increasingly uncontrollable force within themselves. If they collided, they instantly bit and did not release the other from between their teeth, and continued to circle, entangled. Then suddenly, almost at the same instant, they grew limp. Wherever this weariness overtook them, they tumbled over, their heads shuddering, and began to stretch out ever longer. They stretched out until they were improbably long. Then, convulsing rapidly, they fell off the shelf. Soon the door opened. Impatience about the results presses in every similar case /.../
They pictured what could have happened. They even did some calculations. The female gives birth to six to eight young twenty to twenty-one days after mating. And she gives birth five or six times a year. Thus the offspring of each approaches thirty. And at least half of the six to eight offspring are females and those again do likewise /.../ One cannot even examine it in detail, just draw it like a family tree. Then, it cannot even be drawn, only noted with abstract signs, with numbers, each of which lives and keeps on multiplying. Geometrical progression.Yes, this is it. Geometrical progression. And suddenly, as with some unexpectedly discovered jewel, they tossed this expression about. And thereupon the balance of clear conscience was also restored, and gained in refinement through irrefutable mathematics."
(from: A Report on Five Mice, 1958)

"His stories are enshrouded in a tragic aura. They offer readers the arduous but not absolutely futile labor of Sisyphus: the hope that the persistent questionings of the human condition, though not likely to lead to answers, are certain to empower them to face reality."
(Albert Tezla)



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