(urth) Short Stories 112-113: The Arimaspian Legacy and Slow Children at Play

Marc Aramini marcaramini at gmail.com
Mon Jan 5 12:36:48 PST 2015


“The Arimaspian Legacy” and “Slow Children at Play” appeared as Cheap
Street Chapbooks in 1987 and 1989, respectively, and are collected in
Strains* and *Innocents Aboard*.


“The Arimaspian Legacy” begins with a quote from Herodotus’ *Histories*,
indicating that tales of the one eyed men of the north (called Arimaspians)
and their enemies, the griffins which zealously guard golden treasure from
them, originate with the Issedonians and have been passed on by the

The narrator describes his late friend David, who is survived by a few
family members, and their childhood meeting at a chess club. He relates how
they gave each other names as children and had similarly bookish interests,
even living close enough to visit each other via bicycles. He calls David
by the surname Arimaspian. Their meetings often involved boasting. “[David]
was exceedingly proud of whatever he possessed: his geese were every one a
swan.” The narrator also describes one of David’s possessions: the
dubiously ebony handle of an eyeglass bearing the initials M.H., which
David used to burn his own initials, D.A., into the grip of a Finnish knife.

David became an astronomer and antiquarian book collector, though the
narrator is reluctant to call him a true collector because of the random
nature of his acquisitions. He stuffed his inherited Victorian home with
stacks of books. On the narrator’s last visit, David had to give him his
own chair so his guest could sit in the book-crowded residence.

One night David arrives at the narrator’s house carrying a narrow carton
“embellished with golden foil – surely the kind that distillers of the best
class provide at Christmas”. David says that he has fulfilled his life
ambition and found the book that “no one buys” – one that always disappears
when you come back for it. He says the book was “eight hundred and
sixty-five thousand miles across” (the diameter of the sun) but he has
reduced it to a regular book size through translation, in a blue cover
embellished with a golden griffin. David says that griffins are spirits
rather than fabulous beasts and references Sumer, Akkad, and Ur, also
indicating that he is now “potentially the master of the world.”

David goes on to say that these Griffins, “come midwinter[,] … fly from the
sun with new strength for the Tree,” and that the covetous Aramaspians
(whose name means “one-eyed”) who attempt to steal their gold are half
blinded by the sun. According to David, sunspots have spelled out a solar
code which he has been able to translate into Chaldean and then into
English. He claims, “Someone left it there to get us started,” and that it
is the secret to many powers of controlling both the human body and the
external world.

Stepping over the window ledge after indicating that a woman is waiting for
him below, David descends on steps of air towards a woman in a red jaguar.
When he is still three stories from the ground, the sun comes out and its
rays destroy the power of his invisible staircase; he falls to his death.
David leaves his library to the narrator, who is prone to go through the
crates in storage “especially at this time of year.” He states, “In my
dreams, I see him falling, and griffins bent upon vengeance, bearing the
treasures of the sun.” The story ends with Milton’s quote from Paradise
Loss, which describes a “gryphon” as a Fiend pursuing the Arimaspian who
stole its gold over any terrain by any and all means necessary.


The narrator of “The Arimaspian Legacy”, revealed to be Gene, states that
he is perhaps the only one who understand how two child-like beings have
come to live in his building, an understanding which even these “children”
lack. The pair, named Mark and Joe, remind Gene of the sign reading “Slow
Children at Play” outside his building, though Mark can be quick on
occasion. He says they live by begging and that even simple tasks can take
them exorbitant amounts of time. Gene also infers that they originally came
from the ruins to the south of his building and that they dwell on the
eighth floor of his apartment building, accessible only through stairs,
because it was probably the only door unlocked and because the old landlord
did not like using the stairs (the elevator only ascends to the penultimate
seventh floor).

Gene watches out for the “children” by insuring that they escape the
attention of the caretaker of the property, first by insinuating that they
are residents and then by telling a new poorly educated groundkeeper that
the children’s room is occupied and stealthily alters the apartment
building’s rental diagram to show that their rent is paid in advance. He
classifies Joe as retarded and Mark as insane. He notes that Joe is only
willing to meet Mark’s eyes when he speaks and is slow of action. He also
observes that “some celestial power meditates his death; so Mark believes.”

On the winter solstice, when Gene inquires as to their origin, Mark
replies, “I c-came from the sky … J-Joe out of the ground, G-Gene. Yes!
F-from the sky! I f-fell, oh, f-fell so many, many. I h-had wings,” at
which point he extends both his arms and his legs, making him think of a
four winged insect. Mark believes that now he is doomed to die rather than
to fly. Joe asserts, “We have to die, too, Mark.” Here, Mark notes a
crimson sun and asks, “He’ll k-kill you, too, G-gene? … Today’s his day. He
takes your sun away.”

When Gene confirms that it is indeed the solstice, Joe is overcome with
terror at the prospect of the red light he sees through the window flying
away. Gene is reading at his desk, Griffith's *Mercenaries of the
Hellenistic World,* and covers the author's name at its reminder of the
death of his friend David. He also reassures Joe that the crimson light
they see is not the yellow light of the sun. Joe tries to launch himself
through the window and Mark saves him, saying it is merely a red stop light.

Mark calms him by promising to cross the river to find “the sun” together
and bring it back. Here Gene admits in his own thoughts that the window has
been tugging at him as well, and that if Joe died, he would be even more
likely to hurl himself through it. They go to seek out the light.

Passing through an industrial district, Gene thinks that they are like the
Magi, “wise men who were in fact members of a certain Media tribe, who
followed a star to Bethlehem. We three comprised a half-wit, a madman and a
fool.” As they approach the light, Gene sees a man who appears to stand in
the fire. Joe realizes that the light is not the sun, but the man asserts
that it is indeed. Joe pleads with him to bring it back. The man says, “It
has never gone … but I will bring all of you again to it … because the time
is not yet.” He looks disdainfully on Mark, but more kindly on Joe.

He then turns around and says that the hour is come, and at his back was
“an entire new being: a live griffin, eagle-clawed and many-winged. Its
eagle's head screamed,” and Gene staggers backwards to the car, believing
this to be the start of his psychotic episode. The light seems to grow
larger and more brilliant, and he notes that the figure before it “was
horned like a Viking or a devil; and as I looked, it roared like a lion.”

Gene writes his psychologist of the event, and admits that Joe's visit the
next day makes him doubt that he actually lost his reason. Gene told Joe
that he was ill, and the boy admits that he has been ill from eating out of
the dumpster, “because they spray for flies.” Gene later thinks of the
nickname of the devil, “the Baal of Flies”. He tells Joe he is going to see
a specialist, and Joe says, “we were just paying … you played, too. … Last
night you played with us.” He says that they do not get hurt, because they
“take care of each other.” He looks out the window at the sunlit river,

The ending of the text is a quote from *De Mundo* in which all sing
together, moving in a dance around heaven and unite in harmony “whose cause
is one, and whose end is one. It is this harmony which entitles the All to
be called Order, and not disorder.”


There are many religious, historical, and thematic implications of these
two stories, but it is fruitful to view them in the vein of Wolfe’s
previous Solstice story, “At the Point of Capricorn”, in which a syncretic
blend of pagan myth and Christian cosmology weave a dense tapestry. The
first story ends without identifying the narrator as Gene. It maps the
struggle between the griffins and the Aramaspians onto that of David’s
hunger for knowledge and power and his death through some spiritual or
supernatural agency, which steps in to prevent him from using powers beyond
those of mortals. In this case, the power seems to dwell with the sun, and
the Christmas wine David brings coupled with the indication that our
narrator seeks to look for the book during the Christmas season is of
course related to the Winter Solstice. At the solstice, less sunlight will
allow the narrator to search for David's volume without fearing the sun’s
full strength. While this is fairly simple, the second story complicates
matters metafictionally by turning our narrator into Gene, something which
Wolfe has done before in his “Procreation” series, and by bringing possibly
angelic and demonic characters into direct interaction with our narrator,
despite his claims of a “psychotic episode” to explain away what he has

The obvious importance of the winter solstice to primitive cultures makes
it significant to the modern world as well: the point at which the sun
reaches its weakest point but then immediately begins to grow stronger,
bringing warmth, sustenance, and continued fertility as the cyclic seasons
turn; given its importance in many pagan rituals, it was an equally obvious
time for placing the birth of Christ on the calendar. The necessity of
sacrifice mapped by Frazier in his *Golden Bough*, which also touched on
Christ’s life story as another expression of this eternal cycle of death
and rebirth tied to renewal, is also innately tied to this time of year.
However, at times these stories seem to bring in an almost Gnostic world
view in which the reality that we know through the senses is artificial,
and our scheme of heaven and hell fails to adequately describe the harmony
of the spheres, where high and low can work together for a higher purpose
and human life and reality, the material plane, might be described as mere
child’s play.

One of the important thematic ideas that arises in “Slow Children at Play”
involves the minor suicidal pull of Gene’s window, the one David fell to
his death from in showing off his control over reality. The mysterious
light which seems to be retreating in this story resonates not only with
the sun but with the idea of paradise itself, and the need to return to the
divine and be free from mortal life perhaps cause both Gene and Joe’s
temptation to hurl themselves from the window. If Mark has fallen from
Paradise, the pull is not as strong, but Joe seems to have risen up from a
lower level, seeking to come ever closer to the symbol of paradise and
salvation. Of course, Joe’s compulsion seems much stronger than Gene's
(perhaps he has been longer deprived of the communion with God or whatever
celestial power is symbolized by the light than the other characters,
especially given Mark’s tale of losing his wings and falling to earth). The
being who guards the sun also seems far kinder to Joe than to Mark. The
similarity between the terms for Griffin and Cherub in some Mesopotamian
languages will be discussed below in Mythical Allusions, but the being
guarding the light whose back forms both a lion and a horned devil
functions as a guardian Cherub, the same angel which was tasked with
keeping fallen man from Eden and earthly paradise. This figure is described
in almost oxymoronic language, bridging the gap between descriptions of
unholiness and divinity in fascinating fashion: the horns of a devil or
Viking juxtaposed with the symbol for Christ, the lion, and a syncretic
story that ties together gold, nuclear power, the sun and the ancient myths
of griffins with the descriptions of a Cherub from Biblical sources,
primarily the book of Ezekiel. In addition, the winter solstice/Christmas
story of the sun's waning power is directly tied into the life story of
Christ by Gene's sentiment: he feels that they are the three Magi,
following the star to salvation. The moment in history of which he speaks,
when God becomes man, is one in which some tragedy and sacrifice becomes
necessary for the greater good and for salvation, one which increases
holiness rather than destroys it, for Christ is born to die. The waxing and
waning of the light and Gene's perception of this Cherub as perhaps evil in
nature constitutes an incomplete understanding of a world view in which
good and bad, high and low, death and life, are all necessary and work in

The kindness the figure shows to Joe is very interesting, as it seems from
his reaction to the fly repellant in the dumpster and Gene’s rumination
that the devil, the Baal or Lord of Flies (Beelzebub) might be involved.
This would make Joe a demon who has risen up to the material plane. Whether
he is simply a servant or a fly echoes the insectile description of Mark
and the idea that he might have lost four wings – a description which jives
with Ezekiel's accounts of cherubs, found below under Religious Allusions.
A subservient devil and a fallen angel playing together, somehow innocent
of the understanding of the choice between good and evil, are treated
differently by this Cherub/Griffin. Perhaps the title refers to humanity in
trying to understand the actions and the cosmology of the universe, simply
slow children trying to play a game, but it must also comment on the
comparative innocence of both the fallen angel and the risen demon.


Herodotus, Pliny, and Strabo all speak of the one-eyed Arimaspoi who covet
gold and war with their neighbors, the griffins who guard it. David
mentions Sumer and Akkad, and the religion of both had parallels with
many Babylonian
and Hebrew stories. Sumerians and Akkadians envisioned the universe as a
dome surrounded by water. The earth, the firmament, and the water itself
all became associated with deities. One of the Sumerian and Akkadian myths
involves Anzû, “a divine storm-bird and the personification of the southern
wind and the thunder clouds.” This demon, half man and half bird, stole the
Tablets of Destiny from Enlil, hiding them in a mountain. Eventually,
whether at the hands of Marduk or the arrows of Ninurta, Anzû was killed.
(“Anzû (mythology)”)

Much as David’s book was meant to give him vast power, the tablets of
destiny conferred upon Enlil (or Enki, depending on the story) in Sumerian
myth was the source of his authority over the universe. David is guilty of
the same theft here as Anzû, though the bird imagery is confused and
combined with the description of the conflict between the Griffins and the
Arimaspians in Herodotus and other sources. It seems that David considers
himself something like Prometheus or Anzû, but in reality he maps to the
one eyed men, “half blinded by the sun,” who cannot see clearly because of
their avarice and longing for gold or authority, staring too long into an
immense power. Clearly all of these stories also echo the myth of
Prometheus, punished for bringing fire to man, tormented by an eagle in his
bondage. (The Griffin, of course, usually has the body of a lion and the
head and wings of an eagle).

The Akkadian word for Griffin, karubu (implying a winged creature), is
linguistically related to Cherub (kuribu), fitting in with the theme of an
angelic protector. Even the descriptions of Cherubim from Ezekiel match
very well, with both lion and eagle features.

The woman at the red jaguar waits for David, but it is unclear if she is
just a mortal or something more. The reverence for Jaguars exists in Mayan
and Aztec religions rather than in those of Sumer and Akkadia, so the
symbolic importance of her car might be a dead end in determining her
identity. In any case, the revolving flame in “Slow Children at Play” seems
to be guarded by the griffin/cherub, who says that it is indeed the “sun”.


In “At the Point of Capricorn”, the solstice ceremony also involves the
mention of a tree that is used to call back the sun, and here background
mythology involves gold being used as an energy source for some mythic
tree, fed by the effort of the flying Griffins. We are all aware that the
tradition of the Christmas tree has pagan origins; trees were used in an
attempt to appease the sun gods who diminished in power until the solstice.
This can be seen in the use of the evergreen in Egyptian practices
worshipping Ra, with the Romans and their Saturnalia, and of course with
the Druids and Vikings as well (the Cherubim in “Slow Children at Play”
also has horns like a Viking’s helm). It might very well be that the
Yggdrasil or world tree is meant, with celestial energy fueling it, but
just as likely the warmth for the tree David speaks of is symbolic in
nature and related to these pagan and Christian solstice rituals.


David’s proclivity for golden and gold-accented things is derivative of the
Arimaspian myth. His magnifying glass with its golden initials seems to
represent a way not only to harness and focus the power of the sun, but
also focuses two eyes into one lens. This may turn David into a symbolic
Arimaspian as well, when he looks through it. Speculation on the actual
meaning of M.H. on the magnifying glass could lead just about anywhere,
with no real way of determining if we are correct save perhaps David’s
proclivity for gold: he collects gold gilt volumes and there is gold foil
on his wine of choice. The initials are also in gold. This might even be a
brand designation. His obsession with the ultimate gold, the message of the
sun via sunspots transmuted into a book, might invoke the alchemical text
by John Dee, the *Monas Hieroglyphica*, which deals extensively with
cosmogony and decryption. David harnesses the power of the sun with the
magnifying glass to inscribe his own initials in a metaphorical process
similar to harnessing the sun to create his ideal book. However, given the
symbolic import of a magnifying glass, the text leaves assigning a definite
explanation for M.H. fairly open. Even something as obscure as Mycroft
Holmes could be implied (whose specialism is impractical and indolent
omniscience, after all, compared to his brother Sherlock’s practical
deductive skills), or even a scientist who works with gold whose initials
happen to be M.H.

Whether intentional or not, there are some striking echoes between the
themes of Dee’s manuscript and these short stories. The *Monas
Hieroglyphica* operates under the cabalistic idea that manipulation of the
letters and symbols of the Hebrew language can be used to influence the
world and the cosmos due to some kind of astral relationship between
language and the signs of the zodiac. This is similar to the decoding David
performs in which the sun spot patterns become the text he has sought all
his life. According to Michael Walton, Dee’s treats “the Monad’s
interpretation as an art of writing which revealed all astronomical
knowledge, both the greater astronomy of the heavens and the lesser
astronomy of alchemy.” (118) Dee also believed this was the key to “all
things visible and invisible”. If indeed the M.H. initials invoke Dee’s
work at all, then mathematics and the Hebrew language have been replaced
with nuclear science and Chaldean, respectively. This association with
Chaldea resonates with the historical Chaldean Oracles, which are Greek
commentaries on a poem of Chaldean origin. In this poem, the first
intellect emanates fiery rays which are interpreted by the second
intellect, the Demiurge, to understand and influence the cosmos. Even the
symbol of Dee’s Monad can resemble a magnifying glass in some of its
components, which are broken down below:

http://www.jwmt.org/v2n13/partial.html (Turner).

The spirits of Sumer and Ur also resonate with the tale of Prometheus,
stealing fire for man. The provenance of flame in Zorastrian thought is
well known, and the cosmic significance of the solstice to the story is
equally apropos.


The poem that concludes “Slow Children at Play”, *De Mundo*, is included in
a footnote to Hans Jonas’ treatise on *The Gnostic Religion: The Message of
the Alien God and the Beginnings of Christianity*, in which the harmony of
astral bodies and the cosmos is discussed. It could very well be that this
is the source Wolfe used in finding the poem. The book states:

 The Pythagoreans had found in the astral order the proportions of the
concordant musical scale, and accordingly had called this system of the
spheres in operation a harmonia, that is, the fitting together of a many
into a unified whole. Thereby they created the most enchanting symbol of
Greek cosmic piety: “harmony,” issuing in the inaudible “music of the
spheres,” is the idealizing expression for the same fact of irrefragable
order that astrology stresses less optimistically in its own context. Stoic
philosophy strove to integrate the idea of destiny as propounded by
contemporary astrology with the Greek concept of harmony: … its action as
it affects terrestrial conditions and the short lived beings here. And
since the stellar movements are actuated by the cosmic logos and this logos
functions in the world—process as providence (pronoia), it follows that in
this wholly monistic system heimarmene itself is pronoia, that is, fate and
divine providence are the same. The understanding of and willing consent to
this fate thus interpreted as the reason of the whole distinguishes the
wise man, who bears adversity in his individual destiny as the price paid
by the part for the harmony of the whole. (259)

The text goes on to present a Gnostic revaluation of the idea of this
harmonic piety and presents this cosmic order as anti-divine, yet it seems
that in this case the Wolfe story sticks with the pre-Gnostic valuation of
the solar bodies and even integrates Judeo Christian “good” and “evil”
angels as mere children at play.

The mixed symbolism of the fallen angel with almost insectile multi-part
wings, the aversion Joe has to the fly repellent, the satanic and Christian
imagery used to describe the griffin like figure taking the sun in the
second story (described with horns like a devil but roaring like a lion,
which is symbolic of Christ): all of these conflicting symbols create a
confusing cosmology where good and evil are blurred together. Marcion’s
heresies of the world as a fallen illusion might even fit in to this scheme.


Much like “On the Train” and a few of Wolfe’s other short shorts, these
stories have some biographical details. According to the Wolfewiki,

A friend of Wolfe's, David Taylor, provided inspiration for the character
David in The Arimaspian Legacy. In a Q and A style interview posted on
Fantastic Metropolis, Wolfe made the following comment. "Of course I have
ten thousand memories connected with books. How about being introduced to
Dickens by my friend David Taylor, who had been reading Pickwick and talked
like Mr. Jingle when he described the book? David has been dead for more
than 40 years, but you will find him as David Arimaspian in my story “The
Arimaspian Legacy." (“The Arimaspian Legacy”)

“Slow Children at Play” was based in part on an actual light -- a
mysterious light in this case -- which I saw once and have never seen
again. It's also based on a traffic sign about a half a block north of this
house. (“Slow Children at Play”)


In addition to retelling the story of Prometheus, in this case involving
not merely altruism but also self-aggrandizement, the second story in the
sequence paints an almost astonishing moral picture of the cosmos. The
title “Slow Children at Play”, while it comes from a sign which sometimes
depicts two children on a teeter totter, is another example of semiotic
slippage in Wolfe, where he applies the imperative “[Go] Slow(!)” to
instead function as an adjective. The insinuation that Mark fell from
heaven and is a celestial being while Joe came from below and is repelled
by fly treatments as a possible minion of the Lord of the Flies shows the
high and the low living together, innocent of good and evil, almost as if
they are at play in the mortal plane. Perhaps this sign showed the two
children on the teeter totter as some of those “Slow Children at Play”
signs do – one descending from on high, the other on his way up from the
bottom, such that Mark and Joe are headed in opposite directions, one
falling and one rising, but balanced for a time in the middle on the
material plane.

 Both are ignorant of money and other earthly concerns. The overlaying of
Gnostic thought, in which the cosmos is composed of an Empyrian, Etherial,
and Elemental world matches the levels implied by the story as Mark and Joe
meet in the middle. In “reality”, they are simple children without the
burden of excessive sin. The idea that high and low ultimately serve the
divine purpose is repeated in Wolfe several times, but it is very cryptic
in this story. Why is a fallen angel consorting with a minion of Beezebub
in Gene’s apartment building? Is this simply to show how spiritual forces
move and work in the real world innocent of free will and culpability, as
these children are innocent?


Gene mentions that the author’s name, G.T. Griffith, reminds him of David’s
death, which of course is because of its similarity to griffins. However,
Wolfe was almost certainly familiar with this tome, *Mercenaries of the
Ancient World*, from doing research for his Latro novels.


The description of Cherubim as having four wings and dispensing fire comes
from the book of Ezekiel. This description definitely shows the manner in
which Wolfe conflated the Griffin and Cherubim. The four faces of the
cherubim are that of an eagle, a lion, a man, and an ox (or a cherub in a
later description). It is quite clear that Wolfe has taken the leonine,
aquiline, and linguistic similarities to heart in his construction of the
supernatural beings in his story. The Book of Ezekiel describes Cherubim at
length, and even shows them playing with fire:

1 In the thirtieth year, in the fourth month on the fifth day, while I was
among the exiles by the Kebar River, the heavens were opened and I saw
visions of God.

2 On the fifth of the month--it was the fifth year of the exile of King
Jehoiachin-- 3 the word of the LORD came to Ezekiel the priest, the son of
Buzi, by the Kebar River in the land of the Babylonians. There the hand of
the LORD was upon him.

4 I looked, and I saw a windstorm coming out of the north--an immense cloud
with flashing lightning and surrounded by brilliant light. The center of
the fire looked like glowing metal,

5 and in the fire was what looked like four living creatures. In appearance
their form was that of a man,

6 but each of them had four faces and four wings.

7 Their legs were straight; their feet were like those of a calf and
gleamed like burnished bronze.

8 Under their wings on their four sides they had the hands of a man. All
four of them had faces and wings,

9 and their wings touched one another. Each one went straight ahead; they
did not turn as they moved.

10 Their faces looked like this: Each of the four had the face of a man,
and on the right side each had the face of a lion, and on the left the face
of an ox; each also had the face of an eagle.

11 Such were their faces. Their wings were spread out upward; each had two
wings, one touching the wing of another creature on either side, and two
wings covering its body.

12 Each one went straight ahead. Wherever the spirit would go, they would
go, without turning as they went.

13 The appearance of the living creatures was like burning coals of fire or
like torches. Fire moved back and forth among the creatures; it was bright,
and lightning flashed out of it. 14 The creatures sped back and forth like
flashes of lightning.

Ezekiel 1: 1-13

22 Spread out above the heads of the living creatures was what looked like
an expanse, sparkling like ice, and awesome.

23 Under the expanse their wings were stretched out one toward the other,
and each had two wings covering its body.

24 When the creatures moved, I heard the sound of their wings, like the
roar of rushing waters, like the voice of the Almighty, like the tumult of
an army. When they stood still, they lowered their wings.

Ezekiel 1:22-24

3 Now the cherubim were standing on the south side of the temple when the
man went in, and a cloud filled the inner court.

4 Then the glory of the LORD rose from above the cherubim and moved to the
threshold of the temple. The cloud filled the temple, and the court was
full of the radiance of the glory of the LORD.

5 The sound of the wings of the cherubim could be heard as far away as the
outer court, like the voice of God Almighty when he speaks.

6 When the LORD commanded the man in linen, "Take fire from among the
wheels, from among the cherubim," the man went in and stood beside a wheel.

7 Then one of the cherubim reached out his hand to the fire that was among
them. He took up some of it and put it into the hands of the man in linen,
who took it and went out.

8 (Under the wings of the cherubim could be seen what looked like the hands
of a man.)

Ezekiel 10:3-8

Their entire bodies, including their backs, their hands and their wings,
were completely full of eyes ...

Ezekiel 10:12

Each of the cherubim had four faces: One face was that of a cherub, the
second the face of a man, the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the
face of an eagle.

Ezekiel 10:14


 What do the M.H. initials on the magnifying glass really signify?

 Who is the woman in the red jaguar?


The idea of the monad was expressed overtly in “Procreation”, but here it
attains a mystical alchemy of consciousness. Much like “At the Point of
Capricorn”, these stories deals with the mysterious resonance between the
pagan and Christian worlds and a spiritual exploration of solar events,
especially the obviously and symbolically gravid winter solstice/Christmas
season in which the sun loses power and is then reborn. Both “Slow Children
at Play” and “The Friendship Light” may have been based on the same
mysterious light that Wolfe once saw. The idea that all creatures, high and
low, serve a harmonious goal consonant with the will of God will be
repeated in both Long Sun and Short Sun, as well as in many other of
Wolfe’s later stories.


“Anzû (Mythology)”. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 18 November 2014. Web.
January 5, 2015.

*Holy Bible: New International Version*. Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 1978.

Jonas, Hans. *The Gnostic Religion: The Message of the Alien God and the
Beginnings of Christianity*. Boston: Beacon Press, 1958.

“Slow Children at Play.” Wolfe-wiki. October 27, 2010. Web. Januray 5, 2015.

“The Arimaspian Legacy.” Wolfe-wiki. June 26, 2014. Web. January 5, 2015.

Turner, Nancy and Teresa Burnes. “A Translation of Theorems 1-17 of John
Dee’s *Monas Hieroglyphica”**. *Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition.
No. 13, Vol. 2. Vernal Equinox 2007

Walton, Michael. “John Dee’s *Monas Hieroglyhpica*: Geometrical
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Mills Publishing, 2004.
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