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Dufflepuds by any other name...

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Dufflepuds by any other name...

Postby .Ælfgifu. » 25 Apr 2007, 17:40

Hi. I'm a somewhat sporadic poster/lurker who was last seen round here in 2005, but it's Easter term again and exams are looming, so I've been hunting up old haunts and remembered to come back here. In the process I remembered something I noticed last year and have never seen mentioned on the web, so I thought I might point it out.

There is an early medieval Latin text known as the 'Liber Monstrorum' which describes a catalogue of strange humans and humanoid beings known to the author through various sources - myth, scholarly works and hearsay. It's fairly easy Latin and makes for fun reading and contains at least one entry of particular interest:

I.17 'Et ferunt genus esse hominum quos Graeci Sciapodas appellant, eo quod se ardore solis pedum umbra iacentes resupini defendunt. Sunt enim celerrimae naturae. Singula tantum habent in pedibus crura et eorum genua inflexibili conpaigne durescunt.'

That is,

I.17 'And they say that there is a kind of human which the Greeks call 'Sciapods' ['Shadefeet'], those who, lying supine, defend themselves from the heat of the sun with the shadow of their feet. Indeed they are of a very hasty type. However they have one leg and one foot and they harden the inflexible joint of their knees.'

The translation may be a little loose as it's over a year since I studied this and I haven't checked it, but the gist of it is correct.

The list of creatures includes fauns, centaurs, the minotaur, giants and strange men in the East who have beards that come down to their knees and eat raw fish, among other things.[/i]
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Postby moordarjeeling » 25 Apr 2007, 18:48

There are some similar one-legged people in one of Baum's Oz books. I think they're called Hoppers. But I expect Lewis had the Latin source.

Lewis's OXFORD HISTORY OF ENGLISH LIT has a lot of mentions of things similar to things in Narnia. There's even a "Stygian puddle glum" or something like that, referring to a real puddle.
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