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From: "Robert Borski" <rborski@charter.net>
Subject: (whorl) The Crab Monster
Date: Mon, 16 Apr 2001 00:58:12 

Here's another little mystery from ON BLUE'S WATERS.

While at sea, sailing to Pajarocu, with Babbie and Seawrack aboard, Horn
records the following encounter during a storm with an apparition from the

"Something climbed into our sloop that night that was neither a beast nor a
man, and was not a thing of the sea, nor even a thing of the air like the

"If you do not believe this, believe at least that I believed that I saw it.
And Seawrack also saw it. She confirmed for me that she had, although she
did not like to speak of it. Babbie saw it, too, and rushed at it; it laid
hold of him as a man might lay hold of a lady's lapdog, and would, I
believe, have thrown him over the side and into the raging water if Seawrack
had not prevented it. In appearance it was like a man of many arms and legs,
long dead and covered with crabs and little shellfish and other things; and
yet it moved and possessed great strength, although I think it feared the
storm as much or more than we." (161-162)

Horn subsequently imagines the monster to be some sort of alien Tithonis,
granted immortality by the gods of Blue, but throwing itself into the sea
because it has tired of life, or despaired because of the Neighbors'
offplanet exodus, or it wants to be near the deity that granted it eternal

I, of course, don't believe any of this. Rather, I suspect the crab monster
is the Mother in her native, most unaltered, form.

We know from Seawrack that the Mother is capable of shape-shifting, so this
infers a natural, unshifted ur-state--plus the Scylla of classical mythology
had six legs, matching the monster's many limbs. Seawrack not wanting to
talk about the incident is consistent with her similar reticence at times
about discussing the Mother, while the monster being afraid of the storm
might well symbolize Whorlish Scylla's fear of Pas/Typhon. But what really
seals the deal for me is that the recently mutilated Seawrack is able to
stop this monster of great strength from flinging the rather formidable
Babbie--who most of you believe, after all, has severed Seawrack's arm--into
the storm-tossed sea. Horn does not detail how she accomplishes this, but
doesn't the most likely scenario involve our little merfrow somehow
communicating with her former protectress, either vocally or otherwise,
telling the Mother to lay off, Babbie's a mate, please don't toss him into
the briny blue?

Robert Borski

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