“Hey, Tao! Is this shining
spot a moon?” she asked.
“No, sir,” was the
response. “Planet Venus doesn’t have any moons.”
“But something is shining,
look back there,” she insisted.
After a while, she found an
explanation for the light she had seen: “Oh, I know now, it’s a polar light.”
She was satisfied with this idea.
To her disappointment, Tao
said, “Planet Venus has no magnetic field as our Earth has, sir, which is why no polar
lights can be seen here.”
“But there is a bright
light,” she said with an uncertain voice. Gazing at the light that got ever
brighter, she had the jitters. “It looks strange, very strange. If it’s no moon
and no polar light, what else could it be, Tao?”
“I don’t know, sir,” Tao
“By the way, you shouldn’t
call me ‘sir’! I told you already a thousand times that I’m a girl and that my
name is Samantha.” She tried to cover her fear in turning the conversation to
“You know, sir, I’m an
android and I can only say what I am programmed for”, Tao said. ”Indeed, sir,
this light is continuously intensifying!”
“Oh, Tao, it’s blinding me.
I fear this bright light.”
“You have not to be afraid
of anything, sir. Finally I am here to protect you,” Tao said. Then he added,
“Though, I don’t know what this light means. If it is an approaching meteoroid,
we have to escape.”
“My god,” Samantha
exclaimed, “the light changes its form. It is no longer a sphere but it looks
like a burning ring. It will devour us! Tao, we have to rush! Let's go!"
Samantha's fear increased. "It will destroy us," she shouted.
"Oh, look, Tao, in its center a figure is forming! My god! What is it,
Tao?" Then she cried out, "It has the shape of a glowing ghost.”
Sure, Samantha was
frightened to death. She turned around and put her face between her hands. Tao
was watching the apparition. Then Tao exclaimed, “Well, sir. Do not hide your
face. Look at it! It’s a woman." And then he said, "Watch, she is going
to talk to us. Listen, sir!”
“Hello, you are welcome
here! Girl, turn around! You should not tremble with fear. I am the goddess
Venus. This planet down there is my home. Tell me, who are you?”
Hesitatingly Samantha had
turned around. She gazed at the apparition. She could not believe her eyes. Her
fear changed out of a sudden. “Oh look, Tao, how beautiful she is!” she
Without answering the
question, Samantha quite absent-minded continued: “Oh, look, Tao, this
beautiful long, long fair hair. It winds around her magnificent body! And look,
oh look at these fiery blue eyes! Oh, I wish I ever could become so pretty.”
“Sir, the goddess asked you
to introduce us!”
“What? What do you say,
“Wouldn’t you like to tell
me who you are?” Venus asked again with a faint smile.
“Sir, please close your
mouth. You have to answer the goddess and not stay around like struck by
“What did you say about
this beauty, Tao?”
“You are to introduce us,
“What? Introduce whom?” Tao
gave her a push and repeated, “You are to introduce us, sir!” As awaking from a
wonderful dream Samantha said, “Oh, well. O. Kay, I am Samantha and I’m twelve
years old. This is Tao, my android. And you, you are so beautiful! Never ever I
have seen such a beauty before.”
Quickly Samantha moved to
the beautiful apparition saying, “I just have to hug you.”
“No sir”, Tao shouted.
“Stay here!” Tao tried to keep her away from the goddess, but it was too late.
However, before reaching her, Samantha cried out in pain.
“Oh, I’m burning,” she whined.
“Close to you it is hot with fire”.
Samantha turned back to
“I am longing so much to
touch you, Your Beauty,” she stammered in pain.
“Thank you, Samantha. I
hear these words about my appearance not for the first time, but I always like
to hear them again. Tell me, dear, why did you come to my planet?”
“Your Beauty, I’ve come to
get information about your planet.”
Samantha was excited as
never before. She said, “Nothing can be more important than seeing you. Your
beauty is unparalleled. Never will I experience anything greater than having
“Be cautious, sir!” Tao
whispered. “This goddess is dangerous.”
“Be quiet, you stupid!”
Samantha returned. Nevertheless, Tao continued whispering, “This goddess
promised the famous Paris to get the most beautiful woman on earth, Helen of
Troy. And this started a terrible ten-year long war.”
“Shut up, you smart aleck,
you’re annoying the goddess, talking about all this gossip,” she answered
angrily and said in a loud voice:
“Madam, we have come to
have a look to the surface of your planet. We cannot watch it from Earth. There
is a veil of clouds preventing us to have a look on the surface though your
planet comes closer to our planet than any other one. We are curious about that
what you hide below this layer of clouds.” She breathed a sigh of inexpressible
admiration when she continued, “I’m sure it is as beautiful as you are.”
Tao cut in whispering, “And
certainly it is as hot as this goddess.” Be cautious, sir!”
“Well, Samantha, I love
girls who are eager to learn,” Venus seemed not having heard Tao’s warnings.
“If you want to look at it, just follow me. I’m glad to show you around.”
“Thank you, madam,”
Samantha said happily.
Tao did not move.
Impatiently Samantha turned to Tao: “Hey, stupid, don’t hesitate! Come now!”
Tao still refused to follow
her. Angrily she censured Tao. “Oh, you are so dumb. Didn’t we come to learn
about this planet? And now we have the best guide possible, the owner of it,
the goddess Venus.”
Tao was still hesitating.
Venus impatiently asked, “Will you come with me or will you stay here?”
“We’ll follow you,” Tao
said at last. “It’s too dangerous up here. I am measuring dangerous rays from
the sun: They cannot be deflected from lack of a magnetic field. We have to
leave this place!”
They followed Venus
descending towards the surface of the planet. Approaching the dense clouds,
Venus said. “I also hate these rays from the sun, Tao. Helios, the god of the
Sun, whom I hate most, is sending them. Once, this villain spied into my affairs.
Secretly he had called all the gods from Olympus. They came and laughed about
my nakedness while I lay on the bed of Mercury. Can you imagine how ashamed I
Remembering this situation,
the beautiful goddess almost started crying.
“Miss Venus, I am an
android. Androids like me don’t have feelings of shame.”
“But I can picture the
shame you felt,” Samantha cut in. Her teeth were chattering with cold.
The goddess continued to
speak about the shame she had felt when all the gods lay her open to ridicule.
“Since this shameful affair I wear this long hair,” she explained. “You too
should have long hair to wrap in your body, Samantha. Then you would not feel
„Sir, I am measuring a
temperature of minus 2100 F.”
Still trembling with cold
Samantha stammered: “Tao, it’s not only terribly cold, it is also getting more
and more foggy”.
Soon thereafter the fog was
so intense that Samantha could no longer see the android and the goddess. With
her hands, she grasped in the vain nothing searching Tao. Suddenly she felt
something in the dense fog. It was pleasantly warm and thin like a hair.
Indeed, it was a hair. A hair of Venus.
„Hey, you are pulling by my
hair,” Venus shouted at her. “Girl, this hurts. Let it go!”
“Sir, I’m right at your
side. Do not be afraid of this dense layer of clouds" Tao said. "This
thick ocean of clouds makes the planet shine so brightly. The clouds reflect
about 76 percent of the light this planet receives from the sun.”
“I told you, I hate the god
Helios. Actually I’d like to return all, really all of the light I receive from
him,” Venus said with a friendly voice. Then she sounded quite mad. “By Jove!
Girl, let go my hair!”
Samantha thoughts were with
the high amount of reflected light. She did not notice how upset Venus was about
the warming hair she had in her hand. “I thought the brightness of planet Venus
comes because Venus orbits the sun much closer than earth does?” she asked Tao.
“Both the clouds and the
nearness to the sun make this planet shine so brightly,” Tao answered.
“Hey, wise one, and if the
planet Venus is shining so intensely, why can we see it from Earth only at
daybreak and in the evening and not at daytime?”
Before Tao could answer,
Samantha yelled, “Oh, oh what’s this?”
“Because Sun outshines
Venus at daytime,” Tao responded.
„Oh, oh, this really
hurts,” Samantha cried.
“Sir, what’s up? I cannot
see you. Why are you crying?”
“The cloud we are passing
hurts like fire on my skin. Oh, oh, Tao, help me! I die of pain!”
“The droplets in this cloud
are not of water but of sulphuric acid. This substance loves water so much that
it extracts water from your skin. Of course, this aches. Sorry sir, but I
cannot help you.”
The pain even increased when
she learned that Tao could not protect her from this acid. Then she shouted
with all her power, “Tao, what do you say? I cannot hear you anymore. Oh, these
droplets cause aches all over! These droplets are penetrating into my cloth and
destroying it,” she cried. “Tao! Where are you?”
Next to the dense cloud,
the strong wind changed into a hurricane. It carried Samantha away with all its
force. Her desperate cries, “Hey, where are you? Tao! Help! Help!” kept
In this situation Samantha
could be regarded to be happy for not hearing Venus cursing at her. “By Jove! Girl!
I will punish you for stealing my hair.”
She also could net hear
Venus addressing Tao madly, “This is no fun! Oh, this beast of a girl, she
seized one of my hair.”
The storm was raging. Never
a hurricane had been so severe on Earth.
Tao sounded with highest
volume of his voice, “Sir, can you hear me?”
There was no answer. The
torrent overpowered all, the desperate calls of Tao und the curses of Venus
about the hair she had lost to Samantha. The hurricane tugged Samantha with
supersonic speed around the planet.
Furiously the goddess
shouted, “By Jove! I will punish this brat for robbing this divine hair from
me. We have to wait here for four days. Then the storm will have carried her
all around my planet. Without mercy she will suffer for her wrong-doing.”
“By then the acid might
have destroyed your hair,” Tao started to persuade Venus to follow Samantha.
“You should rather follow her if you want your hair back,” Tao said.
After a short while, the
goddess agreed. “You’re right, Tao. However, I swear I’ll punish this chick.”
“She is a girl of twelve
years,” Tao tried to sooth her anger. “Certainly she didn’t intend to hurt
Both Venus and Tao started
to pursue Samantha. Secretly Venus thought about punishments she could inflict
on Samantha. She could ban her into a crystal to complete immobility. Venus
thought this to be a proper punishment for a girl who was so adventurous. “She
never will have a chance again to steal one of my hairs,” she thought.
Tao was shouting with all
his force for Samantha. There was no response from Samantha.
However, the goddess asked
herself, what to do with Tao who in her opinion had developed some good ideas.
The Goddess of Love found a better solution for punishing her guests. When she
hit on this idea, she laughed aloud which made her anger less severe.
“O. K. I will make her fall
in love with this android made of iron and silicon,” she decided and could not
help to giggle.
Suddenly they heard screams
out of the dense cloud. Samantha must be close. Tao started again with full
volume to shout for her.
“Tao, I’m not deaf. Stop
shouting that loud!” he heard Samantha say.
Both Tao and Venus got
closer to her and they saw Samantha rather unhurt. They also noticed that the
single, long hair of the goddess lay around Samantha’s body. It protected her
from the dangerous droplets of sulphuric acid.
“Finally, I got you, you
thief,” Venus shouted. “Return my hair, you brat. By Jove! Give it to me right
“This raging storm would
drive the hair away before you could catch it,” Tao warned. “I would say we
should travel on until we have reached an area with less strong winds.”
It took some time until
Venus agreed. “Well,” she said, “We go further towards the surface of my
planet. However, by Jove! Girl, you got to return my hair!”
About thirty miles above
the surface, the storm died away. It started to rain. Samantha would have loved
to take a shower. It got warmer and warmer with every mile they came closer to
the surface. The heat seemed to be unbearable. A shower would have cooled her a
bit. However, she noticed that the rain was not of water but of this terrible
Disappointedly she said, “I
thought Venus is a nice planet.”
She should not have said
Venus turned at her. “If
you do not like my planet, go back to your Earth,” she said with a stern face.
“I did not ask you to come, girl. By the way, now you shall return my hair.”
“You should keep it, sir,”
Tao whispered. “This hair of the goddess protects you against all hostile
conditions you might be exposed to over here.”
Samantha remembered the
pain she had suffered before she took the hair from Venus. She pleaded with the
sweetest voice she could use. “Miss Venus, please let me keep your hair as long
as I am visiting your planet. It guards me well from these droplets as your
wonderful hair protects you from the rays of the Helios, the God of the Sun.”
Venus did not respond on
Samantha insisted: “Mrs.
Venus, you are covered by so many hairs. This single one protects me. Its lack
will not cause any damage to your wonderful body. Please, Your Goddess, please
let me keep it as long as I am here.”
A smile went across Venus’
face. “O. K. little flatterer,” she said. “You may keep it as long as you are
on my planet, but don’t call me ‘Your Goddess’. It sounds as if you are
addressing a monarch. Royalists used to address a king as ‘Your Highness’. All
nobles are human beings. Look at me, I am a goddess! I dislike low-crooked
“O. K. your …, oh, I mean
Mrs. Venus. Thank you so much. I am so happy for keeping your wonderful hair as
long as I am on your planet. I still wish to hug and kiss you. But you know I
cannot do so.”
“While you are chatting
with the goddess, sir, you didn’t notice that the rain of sulphuric acid has
ceased,” Tao said.
“Really,” Samantha agreed.
“Did these drops fall on the surface? And tell me, why has it become so hazy?”
“You do not feel the heat.
The hair of the goddess is protecting you from the heat. It is so hot, that all
droplets of this acid evaporated and entered again the upper layer from where
they have come. The hair of Venus, too, keeps you safe from the immense
pressure of the atmosphere and of its composition of deadly carbon dioxide.
Unprotected this pressure would squeeze you to immobility.”
“Oh, did you say carbon
dioxide?” Samantha asked. “That’s a greenhouse gas, right?”
“Yes, sir. You know, quite
a lot of the light Venus receives from the Sun is reflected into space.
However, some of it reaches the surface. It is trapped by this dense atmosphere
of carbon dioxide and warms up this planet since million of years. Without
Venus hair you would feel like being in a furnace.”
“Damn Helios,” Venus
murmured and then she turned to Samantha: “Look, dear. Look at the beautiful
surface of my planet. However, do not enter it!”
“It looks great!” and
“Beyond any imagination!” and “Just gorgeous!” Samantha exclaimed repeatedly
after Tao had handed night-glasses to her to view the landscape in the dim
light. She saw land formed in large terraces she never had seen on Earth. Like
huge steps lay these terraces before her.
“I wish I could climb up to
the top of these magnificent ranges of mountains over there,” she said. “There
are clefts which separate rocks as if giants had cut them with huge knives. I
know I must not enter the soil. What about you, Tao?”
“Well, I am made of heat
resistant silicon and carbon,” Tao replied.
“If you also consist of tin
or lead, you would commit suicide, little man,” Venus said.
Tao looked surly at her.
Never before someone had called him ‘little man’. “My name is Tao, madam,” he
Before he could continue to
tell that components of tin and lead would melt on the surface of Venus,
Samantha shouted happily:
“There is snow!” and she
said again in a loud voice, “Look, Tao, there is snow; there are white caps on
the top of this mountain. Maybe it is nice cool up there. Let’s go to the snow,
please!” she pleaded.
“Sir, this is not snow. It
probably consists of a strange and poisonous compound of sulphuric. Scientists
named this mountain Maat Mons.”
Tao wanted to deliver a
lecture about the information, space vehicles have gained on this dormant
volcano, when he heard Samantha sounding terribly frightened:
“Oh, my god, I mean, oh,
Mrs. Venus, don’t fly any lower! Look, there is huge spider; no, it is a nest
of spiders. I fear they might catch us. Maybe they believe we are insects. How
ugly they look. Gee, look at these long and lean legs! Sure, they are
dangerous! Let’s rush out of this area, Miss Venus.”
“By Jove! Girl, stop
crying. Listen, many years ago streams of lava cooled off before they reached
the surface. This cooling liquid contracted. Thus cavities had formed. The
surface broke and long stretching channels appeared. You have a lively fancy to
take it for thin legs of spiders.”
Samantha felt quite ashamed
for having shown timidity. Soon she spied something less horrible.
“Hey,” she exclaimed,
“there is a pancake on the surface. Yummy! Do you also love pancakes, Mrs.
“I do, but what you keep
for a pancake is an extinct volcano. It was formed by a stream of tough lava.”
“I see,” Samantha said.
“When it reached the surface it spread as the mix in a pan when my mom fries
Soon she made out another
object in the dim light, which looked like a large tick.
“O. K. I guess this
tick-like object also has something to do with lava of a volcano. But where are
your active volcanoes, vomiting lava, Mrs. Venus?”
“Right now I have none.”
“Why this, Mrs. Venus?”
“By Jove! Girl! You ask
questions I cannot answer. I am a goddess and not a scientist on volcanoes.
Nevertheless, I know that before my time volcanoes spew huge amounts of lava
and gas from the depths of my planet. Then, my surface changed due to forces
from deep below my surface.”
“Sir, let me try to explain
it. On Earth, the continents swim on liquid material. Similarly, ice would
float on rivers in wintertime. Whenever these floating continents crush to one
“Stupid, every kid knows
that. Some of the liquid stuff will arrive at the surface and a volcano is born.
But this doesn’t explain the absence of active volcanoes here.”
Tao continued without being
mad at Samantha, “… because the Earth’s crust is rather thin. Imagine our Earth
as small as an egg. Then the solid material of Earth is as thin as the shell of
Venus had listened Tao’s
words. She was quite happy about this fact when she said, “Really, my planet
has a very thick crust.”
“I got it,” Samantha
exclaimed. This explains the small number of volcanoes here. It also accounts
for volcanoes, which look like huge pancakes. The liquid interior cools while
penetrating your thick crust. And if it …”
mean magma from the liquid interior,” Tao cut in
“… and if this magma
reaches the surface it is no longer fluid …,”
“Sir, we call it viscous,”
Tao added again.
“You shouldn’t interrupt me
when I’m delivering my theory to the Goddess Venus, you stupid.” Samantha grew
furious again at Tao. Turning to Venus she said, “This explains the small
number of volcanoes here of minor heights.”
“Tao, you could tell me the
height of the volcano named Maat Mons.”
“Sorry, sir, I cannot tell
you the height of it.”
“See, you are so stupid.
You even cannot answer the simplest question.”
“Sir, planets as Venus have
no liquid which fills all deep-seated regions as water does on Earth. Thus, you
only can measure the height of a mountain from its foot to its head. Lacking
any liquid you have no fixed level for the foot.”
Venus listened to this
discourse. She shook her pretty head. Samantha noticed how Venus’ hair moved
along her perfect body like waves in a soft wind.
“Anyway,” Venus said. “My
mountains are much higher than your Mont Blanc. That will do for me. Why measure everything?”
“Because we cannot rely on
our senses,” Samantha answered.
“And the senses of humans
cover only a small part of reality,” Tao said pointing at some instrument on
his outside. “Look here! This instrument measures dangerous protons. Humans
have no sense to feel, to smell or to see them. Down here, this meter measures
a surprisingly low intensity of solar protons though Sun is closer to this
planet. That is quite amazing as this planet has no magnetic field to deflect
Venus started giggling.
More than the low intensity of protons Samantha was puzzled about the way the
goddess laughed. “Hihi!” Venus laughed repeatedly.
“This goddess has traits
like ordinary people,” Samantha thought. “This makes her even lovelier.”
Then Venus said. “Helios
didn’t expect that the clouds around my planet could protect me from his
bullets. But they do so. Thanks to Jupiter! He gave me these clouds.”
“Amazingly, light hasn’t
changed since we are down here. Is it day-time or is it night, Miss?” Samantha
Again Venus laughed. “You
would have to wait rather long until night starts. My planet needs 243 Earth
days for a single rotation around its axis,” Venus answered, “and only 225
Earth days it needs to run around the sun.”
“That’s funny,” Samantha
said. “A year is shorter than a day on planet Venus.”
“Right, there are no
seasons either. I love to see nothing of Helios on my surface. As you know this
God is responsible for day and night. This rascal of a God! What a shame to spy
my secret affairs!”
Whenever Venus talked about
light, she grasped the chance to call names to this snoop.
“O.K.” Samantha felt well
informed. “I have survived the storms in your atmosphere, which is composed of
sulfuric acid and carbon dioxide. I learned about the thick crust and the
absence of drifting plates that form volcanoes different to those on Earth. The
planet rotates slowly around its axis, which makes a full day lasting very
Venus had looked friendly
at Samantha delivering an abstract about her planet. She interrupted Samantha
saying, “I haven’t told you yet that my planet rotates the other way around as
Earth and the other planets do. If you could see the stars from my surface you
would see them rising in the West and setting in the East.”
“Hey, that’s cool. So your
planet is special as it is the only one in the solar system that rotates this
way,” Samantha exclaimed. “Do you know the reason of this, this way?”
You mean the reason for the
retrograde way”, Tao cut in.
“You always have something
unimportant to say, stupid,” Samantha angrily turned to Tao. “You better tell
me; why does planet Venus rotate in this, well, in this re-, in this retrograde
way. I’m sure you wouldn’t know this, but the goddess Mrs. Venus does, right
“Sorry, Samantha. I do not
know it exactly. All I know is that a huge body of the size of planet Mercury
hit this planet about four billion years ago. This push made my planet rotate
Venus smiled when she said
the word ‘retrograde’. She knew Samantha had just learned this word. She
certainly loved keen Samantha.
“I learned that a meteoroid
of enormous size had hit Earth billion of years ago. This collision brought the
Moon in existence. What is left from the body that collided with your planet,
“I don’t know, dear. Maybe
your friend has an idea?”
“Probably this body hit
planet Venus near the center. It penetrated deep in it and ejected a great
amount of iron from Venus’ core. This material formed a moon that orbited this
planet. The power of the sun made it leave Venus’ orbit.”
“This bastard!” Venus
shouted. She was upset with rage. “This thief stole my moon.” She was unable to
calm down. “This beast of a fellow”, she shouted quite lady-unlike, “yea, this
rascal Helios took my moon away from me!”
Samantha was quite
sympathetic with her beautiful idol Venus. She felt the annoyance the goddess
suffered when Venus learned that she once has had a moon that was deprived of
“Where is the moon gone
to?” she asked. “Tao, tell us!”
“The gravitational power of
the sun made a planet of this former moon of Venus. It is the planet Mercury!”
Tao just has said the name
‘Mercury’ when the goddess Venus was enraged more than ever before. The words
she used Samantha could not understand. Venus shouted in Latin or Greek. They
certainly were very unfriendly words. Finally, she appeased her anger.
“You know that the God Mercury
is the god of thieves. His evil buddy Helios probably invited him to occupy
this planet and Mercury made it to his own dwelling. This thief of a god stole
once one of my sandals and I had to pay a lot to get my sandal back.”
“I’m so sorry that you have
such a nasty brother,” Samantha said.
Venus was still mad at Mercury.
“He is not my brother, I
swear,” she said. “I was born in the foam of the ocean and not from a goddess.
The painter Boticelli painted a picture showing me rising from the ocean. You
should look at it once you are back on Earth.”
“Indeed, Mrs. Venus, we
have to return to Earth,” Samantha said. "Thank you so much for your
invitation to investigate your planet and thanks for the hair that protected
She just wanted to continue
saying, “Here I return it to you,” when Tao interfered.
“Miss Venus,” Tao said,
“please help my protégé to return safely to Earth! She has to pass regions,
which are so dangerous for people. She would not survive without your
Venus looked with her blue eyes
at Samantha and smiled as if she still had a surprise for her. “You have been a
good girl,” she said. “I will help you. Just grasp my hair while we’re flying
“Thank you, I will keep it
Soon after they have left Samantha
felt pain in her face.
"Oh no, Mrs. Venus! Do
not scratch my face! It hurts! Oh no, this hurts, oh no,” Samantha shouted.
“Why are you crying,
Samantha?” someone said. Samantha knew this sound. It was her mother’s voice.
“Leave the tail from your cat Johnny, and he will stop scratching your face. I
don’t like it anyway that this cat is your bed.”
“What are you talking
about?” Samantha asked awaking from a dream. “I am holding the hair of the
goddess Venus in my hands.”
“Don’t talk nonsense like
that, Samantha. You are pulling Johnny’s tail,” her mother said.
“Oh mom, she is soooo
beautiful, the goddess Venus. I’ve been with her on her planet.”
“Stop talking this nonsense,
girl,” her mother said. “Wake up! You just had as bad dream. You had better
stop reading these science fiction novels. They seem to have a bad influence on
“Oh no, mom. I really have
been with the beautiful Venus on her planet.”
“If you don’t stop talking
about Venus I rather call the doctor to give you a check. Maybe you ate
something last night which causes pressure on your stomach.”
Suddenly Samantha rose from
her bed. In her hand, she had a long golden hair. “Just look,” she said