The lesson 'The Book That Saved the Earth' was written by 'Claire Boiko'. The play is set in a museum of ancient history, as previously stated in the play's setting. The play's presenter, a historian, welcomes everyone to her department — curiosities of the good old, far-off twentieth century. A projector was set up in front of her on a table.
Before the historian began the play, she began by giving an overview of it. "The twentieth century was commonly referred to as the Era of the Book," she began her introduction. She stated this because books were given such high priority at the time, and books were referred for all specifics and queries such as when, where, and how to do many things, like how we search the internet now for all unknown topics. There were books about everything back then, from anteaters to Zulus, which answered many of the questions that had been raised by people. 'Zulu' refers to tribes in South Africa, and 'anteaters' refers to mammals that eat ants or termites. They sketched, educated, punctuated, and even embellished their work as people relied only on books for all their references, education, doubt clarifications etc.
After lecturing on the importance of books, the historian turned the subject by emphasising the significance of one particular book. The historian presented a detailed summary of the play's narrative, highlighting a book that rescued the Earth from being conquered by Mars. And in the year 2040, this invasion was planned on Earth, but children were not aware of such invasion details.
The historian went on to say that it was unfortunate that the children of the historian's period were unaware of the alien attack or the name of the book that saved the Earth. Is it because it wasn't a very noteworthy or important book, such as an encyclopedia, a book about rockets and missiles, or a secret space file?
She then switched on the projector, which she referred to as a historiscope, attempting to engage the audience with the show. The stage show had then begun.
The spotlight was shifted to Think-Tank, a character from the drama. He was a Martian Alien who was seated on a box with his arms folded. The alien, in contrast to the people on Earth, had a large egg-shaped head and was dressed in a robe with stars and circles on it. Noodle, his trainee, was standing next to him. There was also a wooden frame with some words on it.
Following the introduction of the characters, the play begins with a conversation between the Martians. Noodle, Think-Tank's apprentice, began the play by addressing him as the most powerful, intelligent creature in the universe and asking if he had any orders that needed to be carried out. Instead of being pleased with his assistant's praise, Think-Tank became furious and told Noodle that he did not greet him properly.
Think-Tank's ruling mindset is depicted in the lines above. His name, 'Think-Tank,' also suggests that he was a clever character. Let us see whether it's true or not in the subsequent sessions.
Noodle realised his error after hearing Think-Tank's angered words and addressed him as "Great and Mighty Think-Tank, Ruler of Mars and his two moons, the most powerful and intellectual creature in the universe." He then requested orders from Think-Tank.
Think-Tank was pleased to hear Noodle's greeting and stated his wish to communicate with his crew members who were about to reach Earth, which he described as a ridiculous and tiny planet. He asked Noodle what the name of that planet was. Noodle then recognised Think-Tank was referring to 'Earth' and told him so.
It has now been shown that Mars was ruled over by Think-Tank in the twenty-fifth century. And that, as a powerful person, he sought to extend his authority by conquering alien planets.
The planet Earth was deemed insignificant by Think-Tank, and he ordered Noodle to get him his mirror so that he could consult with it.
The above lines illustrate the author's imaginary vision of how the twentieth century would be filled with technology so that a mirror could be consulted for taking decisions.
Noodle handed Think-Tank a mirror as he instructed when Think-Tank asked the mirror as to who was the more intelligent in the land. The mirror told Think-Tank that he was the most intelligent creature on the planet. However, Think-Tank was dissatisfied after listening to the mirror because the mirror took a long time to respond to Think-Tank's query. This caused Think-Tank to be angry and so warned the mirror to reply quickly the next time.
Think-Tank then looked in the mirror and informed himself that Martians are more attractive than Earthlings with small heads.
According to Think-Tank, a person who exercises their brain regularly will have their heads expanded with more knowledge. And it was with this in mind that he advised Noodle to exercise his intellect regularly, which Noodle accepted.
Think-Tank then commanded the Noodle to contact a space probe to attack and conquer Earth before his meal. Noodle modified switchboard levers as soon as Think-Tank placed the order. As the stage's curtains opened, electronic buzzes and beeps were heard.
Scene 2 of the play began after scene 1 was completed, and it was set up in Mars Space Control and the Centerville Public Library. Centerville is the county headquarters and largest city located in Iowa.
After the curtain was opened, new characters Captain Omega, Lieutenant Iota, and Sergeant Oop, appeared on stage. Captain Omega continued opening and closing the catalogue drawers in the library, which held a list of the library's numerous books. He was perplexed because he had no idea what those catalogues were for. Lieutenant Iota, on the other hand, was counting the books on the bookcase. Sergeant oop, on the other hand, was closing and opening the book, shaking and shifting the pages without knowing what it was. All three of them did not have any clue that it was a library. Noodle then informed Think-Tank that he would investigate the location further.
Think-Tank then wore his large goggles and examined the place the crew reached. The Martian  crew appeared to have arrived in Earth space. And Think-Tank was happy about it.
Two things can be inferred from the previous lines. To begin with, these lines show that Martians did not have a reading habit or were not accustomed to reading communication. Second, it's possible that the author wanted to emphasise that the Martians were so advanced in technology that they didn't use books and instead relied on technical devices.
Noodle attempted to call the crew for an update after noticing they had arrived on Earth. To begin with, Noodle inquired about their landing spot, to which Captain Omega responded that he, Lieutenant Iota, and Sergeant Oop had arrived safely on Earth. However, they had no idea what to make of the location, which appeared to be in the shape of a square.
Lieutenant Iota, like the rest of the crew, had no idea where they had landed. In addition, he stated that they come across about 2000 odd stuff in that square-shaped location.
The Mars crew eventually ended up at a library, as mentioned in the scene 2 setup, but they had no idea what a library was, which will be revealed in the upcoming section. And 'books' was the strange thing they were talking about inside the library.
Not only Omega and Iota, but Oop, who had travelled to seven galaxies, had no idea what those weird objects (books) were. But he had a feeling that those unusual objects (books) were hats. He then opened the book and placed it on his head, claiming that it must be one of men's clothes or accessories. Since none of the three crew members could figure out what those unusual things (books) were, Omega bowed his head to Think-Tank and asked him to explain what they were and where they had landed on Earth.
Think-Tank did not hesitate to respond to Omega, telling him to hold that weird thing (book) and show it to Think-Tank so that he could see it well and tell them what it was. After viewing the book, Think-Tank told Omega that it was a refreshment because the creatures on Earth, according to him, were usually busy eating.
After listening to Think-Tank, Omega conveyed his reply to Iota and Oop that they were in a refreshment stand, to which Oop replied that the creatures on Earth had a strange diet. Oop's reply here reflects his analytic skills.
Think-Tank confirmed that the name of the strange thing (book) was 'Sandwich', to which all the other two crew members except Oop agreed and murmured among themselves that it was 'A Sandwich'. He also told them that sandwiches are the main staple of the Earth's diet.
Think-Tank also justified them by explaining that there were two slices of bread (when a book is divided into two parts while opening them) and that in between was the filling, to which Omega replied, "correct". These lines prove to be an example of Think-Tank's act of convincing his crew members. Moreover, the above sentences demonstrate the idiocy of Think-Tank and the crew members, except Oop, as they did not raise any questions and accepted what their leader said.
Think-Tank eventually ordered Omega to consume the book to ensure it was eatable (sandwich). Omega was terrified since she couldn't decide whether or not to consume the book. It's because, although accepting her master's statement that the weird thing (book) was an eatable, Omega was unsure of it, so she gulped, demonstrating her nervousness. When Think-Tank noted her pause, he inquired whether she doubted his statements ('The strange item (book) was a sandwich'). Omega deftly diverted her master's wrath by claiming Iota had not eaten her meal after listening to her master. So, as a result, Omega quickly instructed Iota to eat the sandwich (book).
Despite this, Iota managed to get away without eating the sandwich. Sergeant Oop was ordered to eat the sandwich because Iota felt it would be disrespectful to eat before the Sergeant. This demonstrates that Iota was not convinced by her master's assumption (claiming 'book' to be sandwich).
The 'humour' of the play is highlighted in the above dialogues. In addition, it emphasises two points. Though the crew members appear to accept Think-Tank's decisions and claim that he is bright, they do not regard him as such. Second, Think-Tank was depicted as a humorous character.
Think-Tank's command fell on Sergeant Oop's shoulders while the other two crew members escaped from eating the sandwich (book). Iota and Omega saluted Think-tank and emphasised that it (eating the book) was for Mars' glory, to which Oop responded, "Yes," opened his big mouth, and began chewing and swallowing the book. According to the crew members, Oop would sacrifice or do anything for the glory of Mars. Iota and Omega were watching Oop chew the book with bated breath, looking at the difficult task he was performing.
Oop's facial expressions showed the difficulties consuming and swallowing the book pieces. When Omega and Iota attempted to communicate with Oop, he coughed, so they smacked him on the back.
When Think-Tank noticed Oop's hilarious facial expressions, he asked if the sandwich (book) was not tasty. Oop saluted Think-Tank and agreed with him and declared the sandwich (book) to be unappealing. He said the sandwich (book) was as dry as Martian dust.
Noodle, who was listening to whatever was going on in the library from the spacecraft, interrupted Think-Tank and the crew members. He then told Think-Tank that he had something to convey, to which Think-Tank agreed. Then, Noodle began by explaining that he wanted to provide some information regarding the sandwiches as he was trying to convey to Think-Tank that, based on his (Noodle's) research, Earthlings did not consume the sandwiches (books), but rather used them as a method of communication.
After listening to Noodle, Think-Tank stated that he was about to make the same point, as he, too, believed the weird object (book) was a communication sandwich. Having said that, he proudly claimed that he was never wrong. He also posed the question, "Who is never wrong?" to Noodle and others.
On hearing Think-Tank's words, "Who is never wrong?", Noodle and the crew members immediately stated that Think-Tank was never wrong. Think-Tank then ordered his crew to listen to the books, but the crew members had no idea what they were supposed to listen to. They did not carry out his command as they were confused. Think-Tank ordered the crew to listen to the books once more, and the crew obeyed. However, no one on the team heard any from the sandwich (book). Thus, they checked among themselves to confirm if anyone had heard anything about it. They all admitted to not hearing anything.
Omega and Iota warned Sergeant Oop to keep quiet after he loudly said that he had not heard anything from the sandwich (book) during the crew members' conversation. The three listened to the book again to ensure they didn't miss anything. Think-Tank had interrupted them at that point and demanded to know if they could not listen to anything from the sandwich (book).
Omega suggested to Think-Tank that they were not on the exact frequency (sound waves) to hear things from the sandwich (book). Second, Iota informed Think-Tank that they couldn't hear anything because the Earthlings' ears were sharper. Finally, Oop stated that the crew members may not have heard anything from the sandwich (book) because sandwiches do not make sounds.
On listening to the crew members' replies, Think-Tank again asked them the question for the second time, "Does somebody suggest the Mighty Think-Tank has made a mistake?" which shows the proud, masterly, arrogant attitude of Think-Tank. As a result, the crew members replied to Think-Tank that their master was not wrong and that they would keep listening to the sandwich.
From the above dialogues, its been very clear that Think-Tank refused to recognise any of his flaws and insisted on forcing his subordinates to listen to him, despite the fact that it was clearly idiotic.
Noodle interjected again during Think-Tank's talk with his crew mates, this time to pass on yet another piece of information. He then told Think-Tank that a piece of knowledge about the sandwich (books) had gotten stuck in his head and that he needed to let it out so that Think-Tank could clear it for him. Noodle then reminded him that, as far as he recalled, Earthlings do not listen to sandwiches and instead like to watch them.
Noodle had a reputation for getting things right. Think-Tank agrees with Noodle and tells Omega that those sandwiches are for sight communication rather than ear communication. As a result, Omega was ordered to select a large piece of sandwich (book) by Think-Tank. "Mother Goose" was the title of that book. Think-Tank encouraged Omega to pick up that book because he thought it was essential and wanted Omega to share his comments about it. And so, Omega picked up the enormous, colourful sandwich (The Mother Goose book) in response to Think-Tank's order.
Omega kept holding the book 'Mother Goose' at a reasonable height from the stage so the audience could see the title clearly. On either side of Omega on the stage, Iota stood to her left, and Oop stood to her right.
The book that Omega had picked up seemed to have contained a picture of the living creatures on Earth. And according to Iota, there were some codes too mentioned in the book. Upon hearing Iota, Think-Tank replied that he was already aware of that, and so that's the reason he asked them to pick up that particular book. Furthermore, he asked Iota to describe the code. Oop replied Think-Tank that there were little lines, squiggles and dots over the book.
In reality, Oop was referring to the letters written in the book. After listening to the code (letters) description, Think-Tank concluded that the Earth's creatures must not have been as ancient as the Martians believed, and he was determined to solve the confusion (letter code).
This was the first move that the over-confidence of Think-Tank had been shaken as, before letting him know about the code (letters) inside the book 'Mother Goose', he underestimated the planet of Earth and the creatures who live on it. It is now that he realises the intelligent side of Earthlings through their communication method (books).
At that moment, Noodle intervened in Think-Tank and reminded him of the vitamins that the chemical department from Mars had prepared and given to the crew before they started from Mars. It was to increase their intelligence.
Indeed, the first written communication may be traced back to \(3500\) BC on Earth.
Think-Tank claimed Noodle's proposal as his own after listening to Noodle's suggestion, as he always does, and informed the other members that a wonderful plan had stuck with him. It sought to boost crew members' IQ by using the vitamins that space people had prepared. As a result, the crew members could read "Mother Goose," according to Think-Tank.
The crew members removed vitamin boxes from their belts and devoured them after listening to Think-Tank to carry out his order. They put their hands on their foreheads after consuming those vitamins because their heads shook.
Think-Tank was pleased with his crew members' actions, so he told them to explain the code, hoping that the vitamins they ingested would aid them in reading the book "Mother Goose."
Upon hearing Think-Tank's order, the crew members prepared to read the book "Mother Goose". It was indeed a nursery poem which started with the words, 'Aha!, Oho!, Ha ha ha'. Think-Tank did not understand these words and hence demanded an explanation from Omega. But, the crew members burst into laughter. Think-Tank became so curious that he asked Omega to tell him about the lines.
Omega immediately obeyed his order and started to explain to him the poetic lines. He told Think-Think that the poetic lines say, 'a woman grows With cockle shells and silver bells, And pretty maids in her garden' and Oop started laughing at the lines, 'growing pretty maids in a garden'. But, Think-Tank was so serious about the poetic lines as he did not even think that it was an imaginary poem written to be told for children. He took out the literary meaning of the lines and became serious about lines. He warned the crew members to stop laughing and to realise the meaning(outer/literal) of the words.
Think-Tank then pointed out the poetical lines saying, 'humans have discovered to combine both agriculture and mining, and told them that it's not possible to grow such natural metals and most importantly 'cockle shells' which could cause explosives. Think-Tank was frightened by the poetic lines and immediately warned Noodle to contact their spacecraft, which was sent to invade the planet of Earth.
When Noodle was told to stop the spacecraft that were to be invaded on Earth, he replied to Think-Tank that the spacecraft was already about to land on Earth for invasion.
On hearing Noodle's reply, Think-Tank got shocked and asked Noodle to hold the process, and he asked him to inform the crew that there was some new information from the Earth to be researched. He then asked Iota to continue reading the book. Iota obeyed his order and started to read the poem in a serious tone as, 'a cow jumped over the moon, and a little dog laughed to see the cow's act and a dish ran away with a spoon'. On having read this, the crew members burst into laughter once again. Think-Tank once again asked the crew to stop laughing and warned them again.
According to Think-Tank, the Earthlings have a high level of civilisation that even pets were grown with emotions. Moreover, the lines, 'the cow jumped over the moon' feared him so much that he felt so scared of what could happen if the Earthlings attacked Mars with millions of cows. As the crew members kept reading the poetic lines, Think-Tank's fear kept arising, so he asked Noodle to stop his invading crew without touching the Earth. Having ordered so, he asked Noodle to transcribe the next lines.
Following Think-Tank's order, Oop read a poem about Humpty Dumpty, who had a great fall to which none of the King's horses or army people could put it again. Indeed, the poem references an 'egg' that cannot be mended back to its position if kept on a wall and has fallen down. It's just a fun nursery rhyme meant for children. And so, the picture of Humpty Dumpty is an egg-shaped cartoon. While reading that poem, the crew members got shocked when they saw the picture of Humpty Dumpty.
The image of Humpty Dumpty was then displayed to the audience and Think-Tank. The crew then showed him the image, which terrified Think-Tank and caused him to scream. And Think-Tank's resemblance to Humpty Dumpty was the cause of it.
"It's me!" screamed Think-Tank in fear when he saw the picture of Humpty-Dumpty looking similar to his appearance. He assumed Humpty Dumpty's picture to be of his own, with a balloon-shaped big head. He became so scared and worried that the Earthlings would attack Mars and take control of his reign, as he assumed the lines 'Had a great fall' to be for his reign. He confirmed that Earthlings were going to invade Mars.
He was so scared and worried that he ordered Noodle to prepare a spacecraft for himself to leave Mars and hide somewhere without being tracked by Earthlings. Moreover, he ordered his crew to leave Earth and return to Mars without leaving any traces of their invasion. It's because Think-Tank was scared that if a Martian attempt to invade Earth were known to Earthlings, Martians would have a tough time, especially Think-Tank.
The story reached an end with the crew members preparing to return to Mars (stuffing the books into the library shelves again).
When Noodle asked Think-Tank where to go from Mars, he replied that it must be a hundred million miles away from Mars to reach Alpha Centauri, a star closer to the solar system. While Omega, Iota and Oop were evacuating the Earth, Think-Tank was flying on his way to Alpha Centauri, thinking he must be protected against Earthlings. The story had reached an end.
The story teaches us a moral that people should not always believe the outer level appearance or meaning of anything. Instead, examining things would help everyone lead a peaceful life without fear, struggle, etc., in their life.
Following the end of the play, the focus moved back to the historian. She had begun to present the show's conclusion, which was interwoven with the introduction she had provided at the beginning. She told the audience that after seeing the play, they might understand how a nursery rhyme prevented a Martian invasion of Earth.
The historian then told the audience that they were in the twenty-fifth century, five hundred years away from the Martian invasion. And that during that period (twenty-fifth century), Mars was ruled by an intelligent leader, Noodle, instead of Think-Tank.
As everyone could notice, Noodle's intelligence was reflected in all the suggestions he gave to the crew. So, no doubt that his intelligence could have made him a ruler of Mars in the twenty-fifth century. Moreover, the historian also told the audience that humans had taught the Martians the difference between sandwiches and books. Moreover, humans took the effort to make Martians read and helped them establish a library in Marsopolis (which must be the capital place of Mars). Still, there is one book that Martians do not refer to, "Mother Goose".