In any case, when for my fifth birthday I was given a Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs scrapbook, I began filling it not with pasted pictures but my dictated -- and unedited! -- stories. The very first of those stories (the scrapbook still exists) was about a pilot whose plane crashed on a tiny desert island, a barren place whose sole inhabitant was a brown cow with yellow spots. The cow had survived by learning to gastronomically process sand. In time, it taught the pilot to eat sand, as well, and they lived there together, man and bovine, in friendship and good health.
What meaning can we take from this first attempt at literature? That fortune favors those who improvise? That we humans have much to learn from animals? That we should insist on joy in spite of everything? The fact that the pilot didn’t rather quickly butcher the cow and commence cooking it up (thereby insuring his starvation when the meat ran out), was that an object lesson in sustainability; a prophetic fable intended to encourage future generations to seek alternatives to the greedy, thoughtless consumption that one day would threaten to suicide the planet? You’d have had to ask little Tommy Rotten -- and he wasn’t talking.
From Tibetan Peach Pie by Tom Robbins. Copyright 2014 Tom Robbins. Excerpted by permission of Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.