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. But stay away from the Witness." Hugh had a sudden picture of Alan trying to deceive the old village historian, with his searching tongue and lust for details. "Keep clear of the Witness. The old boy would trip you up."
"Him? You mean the old one; he's dead. Made the Trip long since. The new one don't amount to nothing."
"Good. If you're careful, you'll be safe." Hugh raised his voice. "Bill! Are you ready to go down?"
"I suppose so." Ertz picked himself up and reluctantly put aside the book he had been reading _The Three Musketeers_, illustrated, one of Joe-Jim's carefully stolen library. "Say, that's a wonderful book. Hugh, is Earth really like that?"
"Of course. Doesn't it say so in the book?"
Ertz chewed his lip and thought about it. "What is a house?"
"A house? A house is a sort of a. . . a sort of a compartment."
"That's what I thought at first, but how can you ride on a compartment?"
"Huh? What do you mean?"
"Why, all through the book they keep climbing on their houses and riding away."
"Let me see that book," Joe ordered. Ertz handed it to him. Joe-Jim thumbed through it rapidly. "I see what you mean. Idiot! They ride horses, not houses."
"Well, what's a horse?"
"A horse is an animal, like a big hog, or maybe like a cow. You squat up on top of it and let it carry you along."
Ertz considered this. "It doesn't seem practical. Look, when you ride in a litter, you tell the chief porter where you want to go