[ilds] Durrell's propensity to lie

Godshalk, William (godshawl) godshawl at ucmail.uc.edu
Sun Jun 20 20:34:17 PDT 2010

turtles all the way down -- older woman to Sagan 

W. L. Godshalk *
Department of English    *           *
University of Cincinnati*   * Stellar Disorder  *
OH 45221-0069 *  *
From: ilds-bounces at lists.uvic.ca [ilds-bounces at lists.uvic.ca] On Behalf Of Charles Sligh [Charles-Sligh at utc.edu]
Sent: Sunday, June 20, 2010 9:44 AM
To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca
Subject: Re: [ilds] Durrell's propensity to lie

Richard Pine wrote:
> If it were not fantastic, merveilleux, there would be no point in travelling on the elephant's back.
Wait a minute. Hold it right there.

The end of all this heresy will be to suggest that there is no giant
tortoise beneath the globe. . . .

        "But the proverb says that whoever sees the world from the back
        of an elephant learns the secrets of the jungle and becomes a
        seer" (Poetry London 2).

I sense another glance at /The Jungle Book/. Not to Mowgli this time,
but rather to "Toomai of the Elephants":

>         And at last, when the flames died down, and the red light of
>         the logs made the elephants look as though they had been
>         dipped in blood too, Machua Appa, the head of all the drivers
>         of all the Keddahs–-Machua Appa, Petersen Sahib’s other self,
>         who had never seen a made road in forty years: Machua Appa,
>         who was so great that he had no other name than Machua
>         Appa,–-leaped to his feet, with Little Toomai held high in the
>         air above his head, and shouted: “Listen, my brothers. Listen,
>         too, you my lords in the lines there, for I, Machua Appa, am
>         speaking! This little one shall no more be called Little
>         Toomai, but Toomai of the Elephants, as his great-grandfather
>         was called before him. What never man has seen he has seen
>         through the long night, and the favor of the elephant-folk and
>         of the Gods of the Jungles is with him. He shall become a
>         great tracker. He shall become greater than I, even I, Machua
>         Appa! He shall follow the new trail, and the stale trail, and
>         the mixed trail, with a clear eye! He shall take no harm in
>         the Keddah when he runs under their bellies to rope the wild
>         tuskers; and if he slips before the feet of the charging bull
>         elephant, the bull elephant shall know who he is and shall not
>         crush him. Aihai! my lords in the chains,"–-he whirled up the
>         line of pickets–-"here is the little one that has seen your
>         dances in your hidden places,–-the sight that never man saw!
>         Give him honor, my lords! Salaam karo, my children. Make your
>         salute to Toomai of the Elephants! Gunga Pershad, ahaa! Hira
>         Guj, Birchi Guj, Kuttar Guj, ahaa! Pudmini,–-thou hast seen
>         him at the dance, and thou too, Kala Nag, my pearl among
>         elephants!–-ahaa! Together! To Toomai of the Elephants. Barrao!”
>         And at that last wild yell the whole line flung up their
>         trunks till the tips touched their foreheads, and broke out
>         into the full salute-–the crashing trumpet-peal that only the
>         Viceroy of India hears, the Salaamut of the Keddah.
>         But it was all for the sake of Little Toomai, who had seen
>         what never man had seen before–-the dance of the elephants at
>         night and alone in the heart of the Garo hills!



Charles L. Sligh
Assistant Professor
Department of English
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
charles-sligh at utc.edu

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