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From: "Robert Borski" <rborski@coredcs.com>
Subject: (urth) Imps
Date: Thu, 15 Oct 1998 13:20:14 

When Severian as a very young boy runs his first errand to the Witches
Tower, he tells us "I was ushered into the presence of an old woman who sat
in the only chair I had yet seen there, staring through a glass tabletop at
what appeared to be an artificial landscape inhabited by hairless, crippled

But what might these hairless, crippled animals be?

Of course, Severian at this age may not fully appreciate what he's seeing,
but it does seem the Cumaean may be attempting some sort of clairvoyance,
looking at something a good deal away in time or space.

If there were only one hairless, crippled animal, I'd suggest it was the
bottled mandragora Severian finds in the long-abandoned autarch's quarters
in the Citadel. But there's more than one.

Now to backtrack a little. Of the over 400 characters in New Sun, only two
of them speak in blank verse, and I think this is meant to suggest the two
are linked. They are the Cumaean and Famulimus. So could therefore the
Cumaean be attempting to link up clairvoyantly with Famulimus, who I
propose is a relative? Famulimus and Barbatus are named, after all, after
Roman gods who look after children--just as they're looked over by
Ossipago, their robot babysitter. In other words they're children and the
Cumaean is their mother. As for the artificial landscape and immobility I'd
like to suggest Famulimus and Barbatus are in their refrigerated berth
aboard the Quasar/Flying Cloud, which as we see in UotNS, appears to be
filled with water--hence their immobility.

That or they're the prototypes for Josepha's toy imp, which is replaced by
a frog when Thecla and Thea are young girls (not that the two are mutually

Robert Borski

*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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