This is a brilliant story!
These automata are but vessels for our dreams;
the wine they hold is the shadow of the future.
–Safiyya bint al-Jazari
1. On the construction of clocks from which can be told the passage of the secular hours
I am an ingenious invention. My father created me for the king. Lovely Father! He made me a pleasant room with a dome of copper and tin. Here I stand with a cup in one hand and a handkerchief in the other, waiting patiently for my feet to be set in motion. This happens when wine is poured into the tube in my roof. I can hear it gurgling above me. Soon the liquid flows down and fills the cup in my right hand. When the cup is heavy enough, my arm drops down slightly — but not enough to spill the wine! — and releases the hook that holds me…
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