The following excerpt has been taken from a classic work of travel literature. Readers are invited to tell us: a) where is the action taking place? b) who is the author? Blackwell's Bookshops will supply pounds 30 of book tokens each week to the first correct answer out of the hat. Answers on a postcard to: Literally Lost, 'Independent on Sunday', 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL. Usual Newspaper Publishing competition rules apply. Entries to arrive by Thursday 16 April.

Spring had lengthened into summer now and soon the wheat would be winnowed on the old threshing floors, freeing the specialists who would be responsible for relaying the balcony and putting in windows. I had already met some of them: first there was Thalassinos, the ''Seafarer'', with his quiet dour manner and clipped moustache. He was in his early forties, and maintained throughout the work an earnest and prosaic air. I was all the more surprised to catch him in a fantasy of his own invention - for every Sunday he appeared in the coffee shop in clothes of his own design: tall top-boots made in soft suede, jodhpurs, and a check tweed coat, set off by a hard collar and a tie of American design with a chorus girl in flames hand painted on it. He strolled about with an air of distinction in these clothes, which were much admired.

Little Loizus - ''the Bear'' - was a pillar of the church and a very serious fellow together. His deportment betrayed the sidesman, and he spoke in a series of gentle hesitations, stops and starts, like an intermittently functioning Morse transmitter.

He was afflicted by the tiresome village moralizing instinct of the 'rustic' novel; and worse still, bedevilled by his considerations for first principles. If you asked him to build a window he would lick his lips and begin in a faraway tone: ''Now windows for the ancient Greeks were holes in a wall. To them the question of light...'' He would drone on, only when he had established the Platonic idea of a window and traced it up through the Phoenicians, Venetians, Hindus and Chinese, did he emerge once more to the table-land of the present and add: ''I can't because I've broken my plan.''

But he was gentle and industrious, and had an endearing way of putting out his tongue as he tried to get his spirit-level to show a true surface - which it almost never did.

Literally Lost 27

The excerpt came from 'Through the Dark Continent', by Henry Stanley. The place was East Africa. The winner was J Palmer, London.

Literally Lost 26

The excerpt came from 'The Land of Miracles' by Stephen Smith. The place was Cuba. There was no winner.