Department of History
University of California, Irvine
 Instructor:    Dr. Barbara J. Becker

Week 3.  Riddley Guide

Chapters 9-11

Riddley's adventures frequently force him to grapple with perplexing questions concerning the nature of true knowledge:  can it be accessed through inquiry, or does it lie beyond human understanding?  can anyone obtain it, or is its acquisition and use limited to a select few?  These are questions born of the age-old human desire to understand and explain observed phenomena.

When one event precedes another, is there always a connection?  Do chance and coincidence play a role, or must everything have a cause?  How can the causal agent(s) be discerned and disambiguated?  Do natural laws govern these agents and their operation?  Can such laws be revealed and understood?  Are they purely autonomic and mechanical in nature, or can they be mastered by human intelligence and put to work?

Why do you think Roger Bacon (c. 1214-1294) advocated keeping secrets about the laws of nature?  Can you decipher what he writes about the "egg of the Philosophers"?

Page 56.  "when Littl Salting Fents got largent in by Dog Et Form"

Littl Salting and Dog Et [Seasalter and Dargate, upper left]
How Fents [Wye, center left]
Crippel the Farn [Capel-le-Ferne, lower right]

Page 60.  "A little salting and no saver"

Salting [there are different meanings for this word; which do you think best applies here?]

  • wet land that is very close to the sea, so can be flooded by salt water
  • a labor union tactic used to organize a union at a non-union business.  Labor union members ("salts") hire on at a non-union business.  If the "salts" find sufficient worker interest in organizing, all workers at the business are contacted at home and a meeting is scheduled.  Once a majority of workers are recruited, the National Labor Relations Board is contacted and a date for an election set.
  • colloquial name for a kind of land scam where minerals or other resources are scattered on a piece of property so they can be "discovered" by a prospective buyer.

Salt and savor (Biblical references)

  • Can that which is unsavory be eaten without salt? or is there [any] taste in the white of an egg?  (Job 6:6)
  • Ye are the salt of the earth:  but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. (Matthew 5:13)
  • Salt [is] good:  but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be seasoned?  (Luke 14:34)

Seasalter, Kent

In chapter 10, Riddley once again meets the leader of the local pack of wild dogs. 

Page 65.  "Weare off to Widders Dump then nor we hadnt no moren sydlt on the hy groun sholder when heres the Bernt Arse pack come out of the woodlings like it ben ther rota to show us the way.  And heres that black leader with his ears prickt up and waiting for a staytmen."

The Bernt Arse pack

Page 72.  "I reachit down and come up with some thing it wer a show figger like the 1s in the Eusa show....  This here figger tho it wernt like no other figger I ever seen."

Riddley finds a Punch puppet with the Punchman's hand still in it!  It's been buried for thousands of years under conditions that preserved both the puppet and the hand.

Tollund Man, a 2,400 year old mummy found in 1950 buried in a bog near Silkeborg, Denmark.

The disaster that brought on the "Bad Tym" clearly happened without warning, killing the Punchman along with his audience of "littl kids the yunges mystve ben 6 or so" in the midst of a show.

A crowd gathers around to watch a Punch and Judy show.

In chapter 11, the leader of the Bernt Arse pack leads Riddley to an underground bunker where he encounters Lissener, one of the Eusa folk.  How does Lissener's version of the Eusa story compare with those more familiar to Riddley?

Page 76.  "...then I seen like a wite shadder on that old conkreat wall."

The atomic bomb blast that destroyed Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, created eerie permanent "shadows"--some light, some dark--that reveal the shape of objects resting on or situated near a surviving surface.


White shadows on the road surface of Hiroshima's Yorozuyo Bridge, about 800 m from the blast.

Leaf shadows on an electric pole.


Someone was standing next to a ladder in Hiroshima.

A customer was sitting on the steps of the Sumitomo Bank when the bomb struck only 260 m away.

Page 82.  "...you cant get a babby on a Eusa woman only with the Eusa seed..."

The Eusa folk cannot interbreed with other Inlanders, an indication that they are a different species.

Page 85.  "...the Other Voyce Owl of the Worl."

Here's another legend about Owl and his efforts to control the way the world works:

The Origin of Night and Day
a legend of the Menominee tribe

One day long ago Rabbit was walking through the forest.  He saw Owl sitting on a branch of a tree.  There were bits of light coming through the trees but it was hard for Rabbit to see.  Rabbit asked Owl why he liked it so dark.  Rabbit told Owl he didn't like the dark and he was going to make it bright like the daylight.

Owl told Rabbit that if he was powerful enough, to do it.  Owl told Rabbit that they should have a contest to see who could make it dark or light all the time.

Rabbit and Owl called together all of the birds and animals to witness.  Rabbit and Owl explained to the animals what they were trying to do.  Some of the animals wanted Rabbit to win but didn't know if they wanted it to be light all of the time.  Some of the animals wanted Owl to win so it could stay dark all of the time.

The contest began.  Rabbit repeated "Light, Light" and Owl repeated "Night, Night."  The trick was not to repeat the other's words.  If they repeated the wrong word they would lose.

Rabbit and Owl kept on saying their words.  The animals were cheering them on.  All of a sudden Owl said "Light" and lost the contest.

Rabbit was the winner and he had his wish for daylight.  He decided to let there be night as well for the benefit of all the animals.  This made everyone happy. 
Go to:
Weekly Readings
Lecture Notes
Riddley Guides