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From: "Roy C. Lackey" 
Subject: (urth) PEACE: Santa's magic
Date: Wed, 23 Oct 2002 02:54:12 -0500

In one recent post mantis (aka, "I'm a lumberjack and I'm okay") wrote:

>I confess I had never before seen that the Christmas book "from Santa" was
>the green book, the one and only book that serves Weer in the same oracular
>fashion that the brown book serves Severian in TBOTNS.  Previously I had
>thought that "The Princess and Her Three Suitors" and "The Tale of ben
>Yahya and the Marid" were inventions by Weer to explain his life after the
>fact -- they are not.  They are stories from the green book, which is the
>first book that Weer ever possessed, the first book he ever read on his
>own.  The book is truly magical and the stories tell about the world around
>him: specifically about his aunt Olivia's courtship in the egg hunt and his
>own adventure in the gold hunt.

And in another post mantis wrote (of Santa):
>In the present example [heh], I'm thinking of him as being a ghost, albeit
>of a higher order than most, and entirely benign.  That is, his name was
>voiced and so he was summoned (this really is a critical key of PEACE), he
>did his magic without being heard or detected, he vanished.

[dismissing my argument for who switched the gifts]
>Which is great for determining the switch of the water for the pearls!  But
>it cannot explain the switch of the book (which presumably was a mundane
>book bought by one of the adults).  The obvious switch of water for pearls
>is the cover for the more important switch; in a similar way the obsessive
>importance of the Christmas knife that Weer searches for is a cover for the
>magical origin and magical nature of the book.

Now, we both know that the "heavy, square package with its ribbons and
trimmings somewhat crushed and flattened" (24) that grandpa showed Den just
after midnight contained a book. Den and his mother arrived on Christmas
Eve, having traveled by train. Della's Christmas shopping had been done in
advance; the package trimmings got flattened from being packed for the trip.
Della bought the book, as evidenced by the fact that she knew that "Santa"
might bring Den one (21).

Are you seriously suggesting that the book Della bought for Den is not the
"weighty book, bound in green buckram" that Den unwrapped on Christmas
morning? That Santa Claus came down the chimney and switched books? **That
Della didn't notice the switch?**

[of the toilet water and pearls]
>(If grampa did do the switch, then it was clearly not premeditated, since
>he showed young Weer the situation at that time.  Risky, if not stupid, of
>grampa to make the switch after showing Weer, since as a little kid he is
>very likely to blurt out what he knows, causing all sorts of trouble.  From
>this standpoint it makes more sense for Della to make the switch, she not
>knowing that Weer and grampa had met in secret at around midnight.)

Fair enough; but regardless of who made the switch, the switch was made and
Den knew about it, and apparently _didn't_ blab. There is no question about
who bought the pearls; Mr. Elliot bought them. If he made the switch, only
he and Den knew about it. If Della made the switch, then she, her father,
and Den knew about it. And if Santa made the switch, then he had to have
made a second visit to the Elliot home after Den and grandpa went to bed.
Santa just doesn't have time for that kind of thing! And the nerve of that
old elf, to go playing tricks like that on decent people, switching gifts
that he didn't even bring! And Den and grandpa would still have known about
the switch.



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