- A Child's Cyclopedia of Wonders and Things to Do
The creatures cling to the singing walls of their caves.
In that way, they eat the songs of Mercury.
The caves of Mercury are cozily warm in their depths.
The walls of the caves in their depths are phosphorescent. They give a jonquil-yellow light.
The creatures in the caves are translucent. When they cling to the walls, light from the phosphorescent walls comes right through them. The yellow light from the walls, however, is turned, when passed through the bodies of the creatures, to a vivid aquamarine."
(K. Vonnegut, The Sirens of Titan)
Remember when you were still a little kid trying to hide beneath tables and in caves on the shore during summer breaks. Remember how the White Rabbit falling inside the trunk of the tree in Alice in Wonderland inspired you. Don't say you would not be scared by the idea of being stuck in some speleologic site in Sri Lanka. Maybe unknown creatures still live hidden in them, after all. Think about it : would you live a peaceful life underground, in a house dug in the rocks ?
It is a way of life you would have to get used to if you were spending your days in a troglodytic house.
But what is a Troglodyte? For some people it is a small bird and for some others it is a reptilian humanoid killer. Maybe you have read the Persian Letters of Montesquieu and are already familiar with this fictional tribe. Ancient Greek and Roman geographers described the Troglodytes as a population living in the desert near the African side of the Red Sea.
Even if Troglodytes seem to exist only in our dreams, you can visit real Troglodytic houses and let go your imagination in several authentic villages in the North-Western part of France. Originally the Troglodytic shelters were built as hiding places or stables for farm animals. However little by little, the Troglodytic houses started spreading as the inhabitants added new rooms for their growing families. They are now cute and welcoming habitations to spend some time and feel closer to our Earth.
If you are still a bit scared, I promise it has been a very long time since we have seen a reptile-like troglodyte creature in this area : it is now your turn to roam freely around their subterranean paradises!