Saturday, May 08, 2021

Reading Comprehension

No owls so far in THE CELESTIAL HUNTER by Robert Calasso. Here's one part, though: "Strolling among blackberries, sunflowers, mulberries is already strolling among stories. And, when night falls, the stories continue, among bats and overhanging rocks." So I was like, "Oh boy! Here come the owls!" Because as we have seen, bats in literature are often accompanied by owls. But there were no owls forthcoming. In the same chapter, however, there was a lot of talk about Ovid. I thought, "You know, I'm getting old. I need to read Ovid. I need to read a complete version of the METAMORPHOSES. I have some selections scattered around but I need to read the whole thing, because I am an old man." So I ordered a complete translation with copious notes appended from Square Books. When I got my hands on it, I was like, oh, yeah, there are surely going to be some owls in this. I skipped around among the pages, my eyes peeled for owls, and it took almost no time to find one, with astonishing results! Now, I skimmed over it, but I seemed to be reading about somebody or another giving a box to these kids and saying, "Don't look in this box!" You know how that always goes. So two of the kids (if they were kids) didn't look in the box, but the third one did, and saw a human baby and a snake hanging out in the box. Don't worry! The baby and the snake were doing great! (I think.) So, a raven sees all of this going down, and he flies off to tattle to a goddess about it, but the goddess gets angry for reasons I did not bother to contemplate. She puts the whammy on the raven and turns him (this may not be an exact quotation) "lower than an owl." Well! To me, this implies that an owl is a bird of low rank, if it is such an insult to be turned "lower than an owl" (again, not an exact quotation). Where does Ovid (or the deities upon whom he is reporting) get the idea that an owl is some kind of half-assed bird? Pardon my salty language! We've seen this kind of thing before.