Not far from here, by a white sun, behind a green star, lived the Steelypips, illustrious, industrious, and they hadn’t a care: no spats in their vats, no rules, no schools, no gloom, no evil influence of the moon, no trouble from matter or antimatter – for they had a machine, a dream of a machine, with springs and gears and perfect in every respect. And they lived with it, and on it, and under it, and inside it, for it was all they had- first they saved up all their atoms, then they put them all together, and if one didn’t fit, why they chipped at it a bit, and everything was just fine.
“The Fifth Sally (A) Or Trurl’s Prescription” from The Cyberiad. This translation comes from Michael Kandel, without a doubt my favorite translator. Stanislaw Lem has a wonderful website.
Lem, Stanislaw. The Cyberiad. Transl. Michael Kandel. New York: Harcourt, 1985.