Chapter II The pilgrim obtains mr. ubiquitous for his guide
Thereupon I sauntered out by myself and began to consider where and how I should begin. Then suddenly, I know not whence, there appeared before me a brisk-gaited, spry-looking, and loquacious fellow whose feet, eyes, and tongue were as if on a turn-table. He approached me, inquiring where I had come from and whither I was going. I answered him that I had left my home to travel about the world in order to gain knowledge.
The world a labyrinth
2 He approved, but added:
“But where is your guide?” —
“I have none; I trust God and my eyes not to lead me astray,” I answered.
“You will accomplish nothing,” he replied;
“have you ever heard of the Cretan labyrinth?” —
“Yes, a little,” I assented.
“It was one of the wonders of the world,” he continued;
“a building with so many rooms, partitions, and passages that anyone entering it without a guide was doomed to wander and grope about it without ever finding his way out. That, however, was a mere joke in comparison with the arrangement of the labyrinth of this world, especially in our day. Take the advice of an experienced man and do not trust yourself into it alone!”
Description of an insolent man
“But where shall I seek such a guide?” I inquired.
“It is my work,” he answered,
“to conduct those whose desire to see and investigate the world, and to guide and show them whatever there is; that is why I came to meet you.” —
“Who are you, my dear fellow?” I asked in amazement.
“My name is Searchall, and I am nicknamed Ubiquitous,” he replied.
“I go up and down the world peering into all its nooks and inquiring into what men say and do. I see all that is to be seen and ferret and spy out all that is secret. In short, nothing should be done without me, for it is my duty to oversee all things. If you follow me, I would let you into many secrets which you otherwise could never find alone.”
4 Hearing such news, I was overjoyed to find such a leader and begged him not to consider it troublesome to guide me through the world.
“Gladly I serve others,” he replied,
“gladly shall I serve you.” Thereupon, taking me by the hand, he said:
“Let us go!” So we started, I remarking:
“I am indeed curious to see the course of the world, and whether one can safely rely on anything.” Hearing this, my companion stopped and said:
“My friend, if you are undertaking this journey, intending to judge what you see in accordance with your own opinions instead of being pleased with whatever you find, I know not how Her Majesty, our Queen, will be satisfied.”
Vanity, the queen of the world
“And who is your Queen?” I inquired.
“She who directs the world and its entire course from one end to the other,” he replied.
“Her name is Wisdom, although some dunces dub her Vanity. Let me warn you beforehand against prying overmuch into things, when we journey about and investigate, or you will come to grief, and so may I!”