Tuesday, 3 May 2016

City Of Fable

Gratillonius mentions Ys.

Rufinus: "'Ys...You've been there.'" (Gallicenae, p. 54)
Gratillonius: "'I've operated in the area.'" (He is King of Ys!)
Rufinus: "'Ys, the city of fable - I've never been yon way, of course...'"
Rufinus (later): "'You're a deeper one than you make out...I'd give a bit to learn what your business really is.'" (p. 55)

We see Ys both as a physical location and as a fable at the same time.

Two points of interest:

Ysans have been calling Gratillonius "Grallon" but Rufinus, when drunk, is the first to say "Gradlon";
the Bacaudae are a brotherhood of resistance to Roman oppression.

We will see a great deal more of Rufinus as the story of Ys proceeds.


David Birr said...

John Brunner's 1966 short story "Break the Door of Hell," later collected in *The Traveller in Black*, gave his take on Ys. The city came to a rather bad end not in the traditional way, but because MANY of the inhabitants practiced a variety of horrific evils ... which came back to bite them, with the Traveller's help. I particularly recall a woman LITERALLY bitten -- EATEN -- by the revived ghosts of children one of her ancestors had fathered and then locked up to starve.

At the story's end, though, the Traveller consoled one survivor with a false etymology claiming that Paris was named "Par-Ys" meaning "like Ys" -- like the BEST aspects, the GRANDEUR, of fabled Ys.

David Birr said...

For "was" in the last paragraph, I should've said "would be" -- Brunner's notion of Ys was anachronistically late-medieval in its culture while having existed long before Paris (which was ACTUALLY founded in the 3rd Century B.C. by the Parisii). Also, Brunner's Ys had been somehow transferred into the Traveller's world, which had no clear temporal relationship to our own.