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From: John Bishop <jbishop@ch.hp.com>
Subject: (urth) Tracking Song decoding
Date: Wed, 22 Oct 1997 14:23:17 

[Posted from URTH, a mailing list about Gene Wolfe's New Sun and other works]

  I was re-reading saved digests (no, I _do_ have a life),
  and wanted to a) thank Alice Turner and =mantis= (and
  others) for the animal identities and b) disagree with
  them on said identities:

  Alice says:
     Nashwonk -- elk
     Lenizee  -- deer
     Wiggikki -- wolves
     Mimmunka -- lynx
     Cim Glowing -- dog
  =mantis= ditto:
     Pamiguka  -- boars  (obviously right, once you hear it)
     Cim Glowing -- mink

  General consensus:
     Ketin -- lion

  General confusion:
     Min -- Men (cyborgs) or Monkeys?
     Mantru -- Man?
  I had first wanted to mention the "fisher" or "fisher cat",
  a member of the weasel family like mink, but much larger.
  They are woods-dwellers, about the size of a small dog,
  and fierce and beautiful enough to qualify for Cim.  They
  live around here (New Hampshire), where they are blamed
  for eating cats and small dogs.
  However, I'll point out that we've been mostly working
  in the "Nearctic" context, where "Nearctic" comprises
  the northern parts of North America, Europe and Asia.
  All those areas have elk and wolf, etc.  It's the snow
  that makes us do this, I think.

  But lions are African, Middle Eastern or Asian.  While
  Siberian tigers are strong, Ketin has a mane.  He's also
  spoken of by the others in a way that makes the
  identification of Ketin as the "king of beasts", i.e.
  literally a lion, _panthera_leo_(?), hard to avoid.  I
  think we are intended to so read him.  That identification,
  as well as that of the Pamiguka as wild pigs, seems
  solid. Consider the heavy curved knives--they are

  This means the context isn't Nearctic.  But that's good,
  as the "snow monkeys" don't work either unless we go
  south (or say they are squirells).  Given the echos of
  Kipling (i.e. Mowgli), I'd like to suggest India, but
  an India-with-snow.  This has the advantage that we get
  the abominable snowman for free if we need him.  And
  there are lions in India.  They are quite rare now,
  but they used to be more common.

  So I suggest:

     Wiggikki -- wolves
     Lenizee  -- deer
     Nashwonk -- buffalo (wild, not tame.  Like the
                 Nearctic bison in reputation, but
                 unrelated).  Big sharp strong horns,
                 quite capable of catching and throwing
                 a wolf.  I thought of elephant, but
                 they're just too big.
     Pamiguka -- boars
     Mimmunka -- leopard
     Cim Glowing -- Some kind of mink/fisher--what's
                 around in India?  Mongoose?
     Ketin ----- lion
     Min ------- Monkeys

  Finally, what about "I", the narrator?  We've been saying
  he's human (but not angelic).  I keep thinking that the
  name "Cutthroat" should be triggering something, but I
  don't know what.

  I'd sure hate this to be another "narrator is dead" story.
  Once is clever, twice is repetition, third time is obsession.


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