- Rychlé šípy
Rychlé šípy ("Rapid Arrows") is the name of a fictional club of five boys, consisting of Mirek Dušín, Jarka Metelka, Jindra Hojer, Červenáček ("Red Cap"), Rychlonožka ("Speedy") and a dog named Bublina ("Bubble"). They were invented by the Czech writer Jaroslav Foglar. Rychlé šípy are universally known in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, virtually everyone is familiar with them. The name Mirek Dušín has even become proverbial. (Meaning someone extremely upright, honest and hard-working, and usually used sarcastically. )
Rychlé šípy was originally a comic series issued from 1938 to 1989 with stand-stills enforced by the Communist regime of Czechoslovakia. Whilst it was always Jaroslav Foglar who wrote the text, the first series was drawn by Dr. Jan Fischer, the second series (around the Prague Spring 1968) was drawn by Marko Čermák. The first series was issued in the magazines Mladý Hlasatel ("Young Herald") and Vpřed ("Ahead").
Rychlé šípy are the main characters of the trilogy Dobrodružství v temných uličkách ("Adventures in the Dark Alleys"): Záhada hlavolamu ("Mystery of the Conundrum", 1941), Stínadla se bouří ("The Shades Are Revolting") and Tajemství Velkého Vonta ("Secret of the High Vont"). Mystery of the Conundrum was made into a movie in 1993 – director: Petr Kotek and a TV series in 1969 – director Hynek Bočan. Its famous props include the Tleskač flying bicycle, the mysterious Em, the dark alleys of Stínadla ("The Shades") and the song of the Vonts, which has no lyrics.
A snippet from Mystery of the Conundrum
"Having turned the hedgehog's longest spike such that it protrudes through the widest opening of the cage, you shift the hedgehog to the middle of the cage's height. Then you spin the hedgehog around the protruding spike, until the next two longest spikes align vertically on the far side.
You push the front spike of the hedgehog, so that the two vertically aligned spikes penetrate through the opposite opening as far as possible. Next you pull the front spike down, tilting the conundrum as far as the hind two protruding spikes allow, and slightly to the left. This way the hedgehog reaches a situation allowing all remaining spikes, which otherwise won't allow it to slip out of the cage, clear the other openings of the cage to its interior, and attain a favorable position with respect to the widest opening. And then all you have to do is twist the hedgehog out of the cage by its longest spikes, until it's completely free. And getting it back is exactly the opposite. That's easy in comparison!
"By the great planters!" broke Rychlonožka upon the reading Mirek. "It seems it wasn't easy - but in fact - using this - we can open the conundrum! If we followed it word by word, as written here, it would necessarily have to come out of the cage!"
"It seems so," said astonished Mirek. "We know the instructions, sought after by entire generations of the Shades! But it reads something more - listen!" Once again he bent over the old diary and read: " And then, when the hedgehog is outside, you can unscrew it open with no problems. And inside it, there's everything - everything! But now I'm going to bed, good night. I am only going to tuck away this diary before that. Nobody will find my diary! If they did, it would be the death of me!"
"Galloping geese", gasped Rychlonožka desperately, "what everything, what everything was in the hedgehog ?"
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