Many thanks to Hanzík for the Czech translations!

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Aaradhya had travelled north for many days when she came upon a solemn circle of children gathered by the roadside outside a ramshackle schoolhouse. Their nut-brown skin was the barest shade lighter than her own. Each child held a battered old laptop with a simple text screen, white letters on gray. On each screen there appeared the same brief code listing.

“What language is this?” asked Aaradhya, peering over a boy’s shoulder at one of the displays.

“It is BASIC, Madam,” answered the boy. “The mistress began teaching it only last week.”

“The language has changed much since I was your age,” observed Aaradhya. “Where are the line numbers?”

“They are not needed, Madam.”

“Then how is GOTO used?”

“GOTO is forbidden, Madam. We are only doing algebra.”

“So how did you code Anantha’s Fountain?”

The children looked at each other in puzzlement.

“Ah,” said Aaradhya. “No wonder you all have the faces of oxen yoked to a plow. When I was a girl it was customary to end the very first day with Anantha’s Fountain. Here...” The novice gently took a laptop from one of the girls. “What is your name?”

“Simbala, Madam.”

Aaradhya typed:

  10 PRINT "Hello, Simbala!! ";
  20 GOTO 10
  RUN

The screen filled with an endless rippling stream of:

  Hello, Simbala!! Hello, Simbala!! Hello, Simbala!! He
  llo, Simbala!! Hello, Simbala!! Hello, Simbala!! Hell
  o, Simbala!! Hello, Simbala!! Hello, Simbala!! Hello,
   Simbala!! Hello, Simbala!! Hello, Simbala!! Hello, S
  imbala!! Hello, Simbala!! Hello, Simbala!! Hello, Sim
  bala!! Hello, Simbala!! Hello, Simbala!! Hello, Simba
  la!! Hello, Simbala!! Hello, Simbala!! Hello, Simbala
  !! Hello, Simbala!! Hello, Simbala!! Hello, Simbala!!
   Hello, Simbala!! Hello, Simbala!! Hello, Simbala!! H
  ello, Simbala!! Hello, Simbala!! Hello, Simbala!! Hel
  lo, Simbala!! Hello, Simbala!! Hello, Simbala!! Hello
  , Simbala!! Hello, Simbala!! Hello, Simbala!! Hello,
  Simbala!! Hello, Simbala!! Hello, Simbala!! Hello, Si
  mbala!! Hello, Simbala!! Hello, Simbala!! Hello, Simb
  ala!! Hello, Simbala!! Hello, Simbala!! Hello, Simbal
  a!! Hello, Simbala!! Hello, Simbala!! Hello, Simbala!
  ! Hello, Simbala!! Hello, Simbala!! Hello, Simbala!!
  Hello, Simbala!! Hello, Simbala!! Hello, Simbala!! He

As each new line was added to the bottom, the lines above flowed upward.

“Now each of you try with your own names,” said Aaradhya to the children crowded around, though she needn’t have asked; some were already halfway done typing. Laptops were passed from hand to hand and output was compared. For some names the diagonal stripes went to the left, for some they went right, and for some they were so steep as to be nearly invisible. For one boy with a particularly long name the greeting simply repeated in a dull vertical column. Aaradhya advised him to add another exclamation point—or any other characters of his choosing—and sure enough the desired pattern emerged. The others followed suit, and soon the names were replaced by undulating waves of periods, dashes, percent-signs and slashes.

The old mistress emerged from the schoolhouse at the sound of so much chattering. When she saw what Aaradhya had taught the children she grabbed a broom and chased the novice from the grounds.

“Foolish girl!” said the mistress. “Can you not see that ours is a poor village? The only hope these children have is to learn their trade quickly and well, and not waste time on idle nonsense.” The mistress raised her broom again, but Aaradhya whirled around and brandished her walking-stick high in return. The old woman backed away.

“On the contrary, Madam Teacher,” scowled Aaradhya. “I have done you a good service, and someday I will return with a broom of my own to extract payment from your wrinkled hide. Have you never seen kittens gamboling with a skein of yarn? You took a pack of tiger cubs and merely ordered them to attack a bear. I have made them hunger for the chase.”

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