It was surprisingly easy to find a fishing boat to take him to Kos, though he was a little unsure as the small crew had said they could take him part way there but not to worry. The boat, like all the others, had bright eyes painted on the bow, and Tepic was sent to sit in the prow and keep his eyes peeled for signs of fish or obstructions in the water. It had a square sail, though canted at an angle, and they fairly flew out to sea, the water turning a deep blue as the depth increased. After sailing for some time, he saw silver flashes appearing out of the sea, seeming to float in the air for a while before diving below the surface. Pointing out his amazing discovery prompted the men to turn in front of the flashes and throw nets over the side. Shortly after they pulled them back, full of small fish. Tepic examined one closely, to find they had long fins, which they were using as wings to fly!
An hour or two later, and several more successful catches, they spotted another fishing boat, but with a different coloured sail. The sailors turned the boat to run alongside the other, and there was a shouted conversation through the spray, with much pointing at Tepic, the barrels full of fish, and the name “Kos”. Some sort of agreement was reached, and the captain indicated that the boy should loop the strap of his satchel over his head and come to the side of the boat. He expected the boats to furl their sails and come together, but a sailor ether side of him grabbed an arm and a leg each, swung him back, then tossed him towards the other boat! It felt like an eternity flying through the air, arms and legs flailing until he fell into the waiting arms of the men on the other boat! They set him down, laughing among themselves at his discomfiture, and for a moment he felt very angry about how they had just thrown him over, but actually it had been a neat way to transfer. He waved to his friends on the departing boat, and settled down to get to know the new ones on this ship.
It was several transfers later that the latest boat sailed into harbour of Kefalos, overlooked by the hilltop capital of the small island of Kos. Tepic jumped onto the rocks that made up the harbour wall, waving goodbye to the fishermen, who had gifted him with three good sized fish, now hanging from his belt. He was walking along the shore towards the path up to the city when an agitated chap called out to him, asking if he could swim. On discovering he could, the man pointed out to a small boat moored in the bay, heeling over rather more than looked good for it.
“The mooring rope has snagged the rudder, if it’s not released, my boat will either break her rudder or get swamped, if you could do it for me I will give you a gift!”
The lad readily agreed, it was only a short swim, and the sea was wonderfully warm compared to the New Babbage canals. Leaving his things on the shore, he swam swiftly out, dived under the boat and was able to unhook the rope with ease, then ensured it was swinging freely into the wind before striking for the beach. He dried himself on his tunic, then picked up his things and followed the grateful man to a nearby workshop. He was the local gold and silversmith, and carefully picked out a silver ring with the same stepped design as ran round his tunic to gift to Tepic. The boy was thrilled with the present, a generous reward for such a simple task, and he waved happily as he headed up the hill to find the man he hoped could help him with his problem!
The walk up the hill was steep, dusty and hot, and by the time he got up to the city walls Tepic was feeling quite hungry. As he entered the city itself, which was even smaller than just one of the New Babbage districts, he wondered what was going on, as everyone was outside, bustling about, talking in loud voices, greeting one another enthusiastically. It wasn’t long before the local youngsters discovered him and they were asking all the questions he would have asked of a visitor to his city! They were a friendly bunch and he soon learned that this was how the city usually was during the mid-day, who wanted to be indoors during the cooler weather? When he said he was hungry, they took him to a local taverna, where, in exchange for two of his fish he had the third grilled over an open fire, gave him a big bowl of salad with a strange salty cheese, and after his fish, eaten under the shade of a spreading vine, a large helping of a sweet pastry, filled with nuts and smothered in honey. He was also given a loaf of heavy bread, a speciality of the city, more of the cheese wrapped in vine leaves and a jar of olives for his onward journey.
After his dinner, everyone lay down in the shade and napped, so knowing how important it was to fit in with local customs, Tepic joined them. It was not till late afternoon that people started to wake, the temperature dropping to more bearable levels. He asked his young friends if they knew where in the city the famous doctor lived, and they laughingly explained that he was a strange cove, and had gone to the other end of the island to set a school. He was also told that there was a big hospital in that direction too, and it might be worth his while visiting. So it was with a more cheerful heart that he set off, following the laden donkeys and their drivers along the trail, waving goodbye to the friendly citizens.