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From: "Mitchell A. Bailey" <MAB@lindau.net>
Subject: Re: (urth) Easter stuff
Date: Tue, 06 Apr 1999 14:41:09 

Tony Ellis wrote:
> > The Shadow
> > Children remember them as wormlike creatures which lived in holes
> > beneath the roots of trees.
> >
> What the Old Wise One actually says is "'We had no names before men me
> out of the sky... We were mostly long, and lived in holes between the
> roots of trees.'" My point being, the Shadow Children remember
> -themselves- as being this indigenous, primitive lifeform.
> The Old Wise One is, of course, an unreliable narrator. Earlier he
> speaks of the Shadow Children as the space travellers, and Sandwalker's
> people as the indigenous shape-changers, which ties into your
> "Atlantean" interpretation. -But-, he later takes this back. The Wise
> Old One is a telepathic construct, and he is influenced by the minds
> that make him. When he is being generated only by the last Shadow Child
> and by Sandwalker, he says "Now I am half a man, and know that we were
> always here..."
> It depends on how much credence you want to give to that remark...

The explaination I would offer is basec on the fact that, as you say,
the Old Wise One at the time this remark was made was being generated by
one lone Shadow Child, Sandwalker, and a tenuous contribution from every
other Shadow Child band on St. Anne. Sandwalker's alien contribution in
particular probably confused the Old Wise One. Contrast this with the
Old Wise One's manner when the Shadow Child band was intact earlier, at
which time he was more knowledgable and confident of his viewpoint and

I myself when I first read 5HC pondered the possibility that the Shadow
Children were the evolved offspring of pleiomorphs and the abos were
descendants of human colonists. I belive that the evidence, apart from
what the Shadow Children say about themselves, more convincingly
suggests the converse. Consider:

The Shadow Children are portrayed as stunted and rather weak and
unhealthy scavengers with a poor grasp of reality. They are clearly
nocturnal and very shy. I cannot find anything in the text to suggest
that they were shape-changers to even a minimal extent, or even thought
to be, though they allegedly had other odd telepathic and psychokinetic
powers. This seems to me more consistent with degenerated, drugged

The abos of Sandwalker's kind, including the Free People of the
mountains, the marshmen, and their alleged descendants the Trenchards,
are diurnal, strong, healthy, and possess a talent for chameleon-like
self-camouflage or alteration of appearance. In my view that makes them
much better candidates for descendants of the native Annese
shape-changers, who took on the human form for so long and so thoroughly
that their pleiomorphism degenerated to a vestige which (per Dollo's
Law) they can never reverse.

> > Quite probably no Terran of the latter wave of colonization, French or
> > English-speaking, ever encountered or spoke to a Shadow Child personally
> > after that first landing
> >
> No? What about "animals shaped like people" Mary Blount remembers
> playing with as a little girl? "...the children, the little ones, you
> know." What about Robert Culot's grandfather, who knew that there were
> "many races" of Annese, and saw something "sometimes like a man,
> sometimes like old wood."?

My impression of the contact accounts Dr. Marsch recorded in his journal
in "V.R.T." were more likely with pleio-abos than Shadow Children. It is
strongly implied they only occured in daylight, and the last one
remembered by Culot's grandfather in particular was alone and
camouflaging itself. Mary Blount's "children" could conceivably have
been SCs, but I don't think little Mary would have allowed out in the
late evening (if the SCs didn't eat her, there was always the
ghoul-bear!), or that true SCs would have come out during daylight. 

BTW I notice that Shadow Children are mentioned as such only by Victor,
either as recorded by the real Dr. Marsch, or in the accounts, including
"A Story", written by Victor impersonating Marsch. Note that
first-person references to hanging up food for "those who hunger" occur
only after the transition in the journal marking Marsch's demise. John
Marsch evidently was unfamiliar with the idea of Shadow Children,
thinking that Victor referred to a constellation. Although Dr. Marsch's
sources, such as Culot's grandfather and even Dr. Hagsmith, recognized
that there were several distinct "ethnic" groups of Annese, it was
probably only Victor and his parents who knew much of the 'genuine' abo
lore concerning the SC.

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

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