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From: "Alice Turner" <akt@attglobal.net>
Subject: (urth) Parliament of Fowls
Date: Sat, 6 May 2000 16:37:26 

Adam wrote:

> The gist of "The Parliament of the Birds," as derived from my memory
> Borges' account, is that the birds all gather together (the
> "parliament") and decide to seek the Simurgh, which is a sort of
> King of Birds.  The journey is long and ardurous, and many birds drop
> out along the way.  Thirty birds make it to the end of the quest.
> look at each other and realize that they, collectively, are the
> Simurgh.  (According to Borges, the word "Simurgh" also means
> IIRC.)
> So the Drinkwaters, once they have "crossed over," are indeed fairies.
> But in my reading, it's not due to genetics or geography.  It's their
> living their lives so as to be able to eventually reach the fairies'
> country (I refuse to call it "fairyland") which turns them into
> although some of them (Smoky and Alice's daughters) get there quicker
> than other.  (And there are a few exceptions, like George and Auberon,
> who receive special dispensations from the fairies.)

I dug out Chaucer. "The Parliament of Fowls" is a charming Valentine's
Day poem. The poet has been reading Scipio Africanus who tells how in a
dream he was shown the mysteries of heaven and hell by his deceased
father. (This, btw, was a *very* popular "true" adventure reported by
many people throughout the medieval period, much like UFO abductions
today; the form had died out--killed by Dante IMO--by the 14th c., which
is when Chaucer lived.) The poet falls asleep and Africanus comes to him
and, to reward him for reading his "olde book totorn," takes him to a
beautiful park, where, behind the Temple of Venus, all the birds are
assembled before the goddess of Nature on St. Valentine's Day. She
directs them to choose their mates. The royal tercel eagle chooses the
lovely formel eagle on the goddess's hand, but two other tercels want
her too. The three plead their cases before Nature. The parliament of
birds debates the case. Nature rules that the formel eagle must make her
own choice. She asks for a year's delay before making up her mind. And
there is a party! Nature says twice:

"Now welcome, somer, with thy sonne softe,
That hast this wintres wedres overshake,
And driven away the longe nyghtes blake!"

And the poet wakes, hoping that in a future dream he will learn the

Lovely. No question in my mind that JC read that! And the celebrating
birds in their "blisse and joye" do not forget "Thankynge alwey the
noble goddesse of kynde." Dame Kind.

So Sufi maybe, Chaucer surely. (We know, too, that JC researched the
late medieval English period quite thoroughly before he wrote TD. And I
imagine he was an English major; in our day Chaucer was required.)


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

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