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Date: Wed, 13 Nov 2002 17:33:06 -0500
From: William Ansley 
Subject: Re: (urth) Recollect ther craws, bucky?

At 03:12 PM 11/13/2002 -0600, "Charles Reed"  wrote:
>Thanks for the pointer, hartshorn.  It allowed me to find the answer to my 
>question.  Not that anybody else is interested,

Ah, but I am! Thanks for posting this.

>but the answer is that in chapter 10 of RttW, as Horn and Pig are entering 
>Viron, we have the following exchange:
>      Just then a flock of crows passed overhead, wheeling
>   and cawing; hearing them, Pig asked, "What're they sayin',
>   bucky? Yer h'always ken what H'oreb's says, sae what
>   h'about those?"
>      He looked to the skylands, and seemed for a moment to
>   have forgotten his companions and himself.  "'Tomorrow,
>   tomorrow, tomorrow.'  I think they mean I'll find Silk
>   tomorrow, though I've found him already; but they may also
>   mean you'll find new eyes tomorrow.  I hope so."
>It's just Pig asking whether Horn still thinks still thinks they'll find 
>what they're looking for tomorrow.  Not profound, but it's still nice to 
>know what that passage means.  It's also rather touching, as if a child 
>were asking its parent whether everything's going to be all right.
>Of course, nothing's really that simple is it?  I love Wolfe's writing 
>because the more work you put into it, the more you get out of it ...

Yes, indeed. I am sure that John Crowley used the idea of crows saying 
"tomorrow" in _Little, Big_. I don't have the book here to check but, as I 
recall, Smoky Barnable heard some crows saying "cras, cras" which he knew 
means "tomorrow, tomorrow" in Latin. We know that Wolfe is familiar with 
John Crowley's books, especially LB. I assumed that someone else must have 
pointed this out, but I couldn't find any mention of this in a brief search 
of the Urth/Whorl archives.

Apparently, the belief that ravens, at least, had knowledge of the future 
because they were heard to say "cras, cras," was widespread among ancient 

I took the following quote from the web page at 

The raven's cry of "Cras! Cras!" was interpreted by Latin speakers to mean 
"Tomorrow! Tomorrow!" Therefore it became a symbol of the foolish sinner 
who puts off conversion. Others, however, found in this cry a symbol of the 
hope of a new and better day.

The whole page is a bit lengthy, but very interesting reading.

William Ansley


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