Bestiary 10

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Alibatu

Transparent tigers of Tlon, conceived as a series of mental processes whose unfolding is to be understood only as a time sequence. The only relevant authority on Alibatu is Jorge Louis Borghes, in his ”Uqbar, Tlon, Orbis Tertius”, where he omits to give them a name.

Alibatu are neither ghosts nor spirits of tigers and under some conditions they may become virtually visible. They hunt ordinary red-blooded prey in the bamboo groves of Uqbar, in Tlon. Being transparent, they can see by their whole body, by the surface of their skin. As far as we know, Alibatu do not procreate.

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Ent

In the world of J.R.R.Tolkien, Ents were forest giants, shepherds and guardians of trees in Middle Earth.

When Varda, the Queen of the Heavens, rekindled the Stars and the Elves awoke, the Ents also awoke in the great forests of Arda. They came from the thoughts of Yavama, the Queen of the Earth. At the time of awakening they could not speak, but Elves taught them to. They loved learning languages and they devised a tongue of their own, which was so complicated that none but Ents ever mastered it.

Mostly they lived alone, often in the mountain caverns. Their meals were ent-draught, clear liquid stored in stone jars, magical fluid glowing with gold and green light. In the years of starlight Ents were both male and female. In the age of Sun the Ent wives became enamoured of the open lands where they could tend fruit trees, flowers, grain and grasses, while male Ents loved the trees of the forest. Before the end of the Second age of the Sun the gardens of Ent wives were destroyed and with the gardens went the Ent wives. No tale tells of their fate and Ents wandered for many ages in search of them. Ents did not die in the manner of men through ageing, but without the Ent wives they became a dwindling race, as many were slain with steel and fire. Forests were hewn down and burnt. Many old Ents became “treeish”, moving but little, resembling trees.

By the time of Bilbo, Ents were half men, half trees, 14 feet tall. Their leader was Fangom, or Treebeard, huge and ancient, with rough bark trunk, branch-like arms and gnarled seven-fingered hands. He had no neck, and his head was as thick as the trunk. His large brown eyes were wise, with greenish light. His grey beard resembled a thatch of twigs and moss. He was made of fibre of trees but moved swiftly on unbending legs with feet like living roots. For the Ents’ final involvement with the affairs of the world, see The Lord of the Rings.

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Fu-Hsi

The Chinese chronicles record that when the earth solidified and the people were settling in the riverlands, Fu-Hsi, the “Heavenly Emperor” (2953-2838 BC) governed amongst them. He taught his tribes how to fish with nets, how to hunt and to rear domestic animals. He instituted matrimony. From supernatural tablets entrusted to him by a horse-shaped scaly monster out of the waters of the river Meng, he deduced the Eight Diagrams, which remain to this day the fundamental symbols of traditional Chinese thought.

He had been born from a miraculous conception in the pond famous for its dragons, after a gestation of 12 years. His body was serpentine, with human arms and a head of an ox. He married his sister, goddess Nu-kua, who was also shaped like a half a dragon and carried a head of an ox.

Their successor, Shen-Nung, the “Earthly Emperor” (2838-2698 BC) was 8 feet 7 inches tall, with a human body and a head of a bull. He was the god of agriculture and pharmacology. He was conceived miraculously through an intervention of a dragon. As a child he was abandoned in the mountains, but the wild beasts nourished him until his mother took him back. He invented plough, exchange of goods by barter and a system of knotted strings to keep records. He taught men smelting and using oil in the lamps, as he was also god of fire. He wrote the “ Pen tsáo”, the Great Herbal , and at 168 years of age he joined the Immortals after he’d eaten a poisonous herb.

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Humbaba (Also read as Huwawa or Humumba)

Giant who guards the mountains of cedars in the Epic of Gilgamesh. No clear description survives, and several widely differing reconstructions were put forwards from the inferences in the clay tablets. Georg Borckhardt (Wiesbaden 1952) summed up the known fragments. According to his research, Humbaba was taller than three men, he had paws of a lion and humanoid body covered in horny scales. His arms and legs were as stout as tree trunks; his feet had the claws of a vulture and on his head two bull’s horns. When he walked, earth shook as in an earthquake. His tail and the male member each ended in a snake’s head.

Gilgamesh, the 5th king of Uruk (Erech), who ruled despotically for 126 years, enlisted help of his half animal friend Enkidu and together they killed Humbaba, for no clear reason. Goddess Ishtar brought Gilgamesh the news that the gods were upset. She offered to help, if Gilgamesh became her lover. Gilgamesh refused. Spurned goddess sent against them Bull of Heaven who spew fire, killing 300 men with one breath. The duo killed the bull and Enkidu flung its hind leg at Ishtar with an insult. Gods decided to punish them. Wounds Enkidu got in the fight with Humbaba started festering and he died from them. Lamentations and the further trek of Gilgamesh in the search of his dead friend form the core of the “Epic”.

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Hooloovoo

Supraintelligent manifestation of colour blue evolved on the third planet orbiting Epsilon-Eridanii and briefly encountered at the Restaurant at The End of the Universe (D.Adams). Conceptual barriers prevent accurate description in human terms, but certain rough analogies may be drawn.

Colour Blue is fiercely independent, self-sufficient and capable of creating entire reality, especially the pthalo-based derivates. It has a well defined sense of humour. To the outsiders it mostly appear as a diffused reddish-orange hue surrounding material objects, evaporating on closer inspection. When in distress it can temporarily refract into a free-standing prism. Activities resembling social intercourse, marbling, arts and sports were reported. Two of the most popular pastimes appear to be surfing the invisible wavelengths of the spectrum and obscuring the true colour of the participants. Occasionally Hooloovoo has been accused of invading minds of other species. It was smuggled by African slaves into American music; it popped up in the Blue Period of P.Picasso, etc. Criminal charges were invariably dropped for the lack of tangible evidence.

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