MONDAY MAN AND MARID.

Two more terms from Gene Wolfe’s Peace (see this post), each from one of the many stories-within-the-story (I’m a sucker for books with stories-within-the-story):
1) From a tale involving a circus, a woman with hands but no arms explains to the narrator that it’s a much easier life being a “special person” in a circus: “When you’re a special person, everybody respects you; when you’re not—I’ve seen it—you’ve got to work all the time, hustle and brag all the time, to make people see you’re not just a Monday Man, to show you’re pulling your weight with the outfit.” What’s a Monday Man? A circus glossary explains:

Monday Man ~ You would see him when you needed a change of clothes. He would provide you with clothing that was stolen off the local townsfolk’s clotheslines on wash day, which was usually Monday.

2) An imitation of a tale from the Arabian Nights begins: “Prince of fishermen, it hath come to my ears that there was once a marid, Naranj hight, who had a man to serve him. This man’s name was ben Yahya, and the marid kept him to his toil by day and by night, with never a moment without its task.” What’s a marid? At first I confused it with murid, but the OED enlightened me: “In Arabian stories and Muslim mythology: a very powerful wicked genie.” It’s from Arabic mārid, active participle of marada to rebel: “The word occurs once in the Qur’an with the sense ‘rebel’, but in later tradition denotes a fantastic being of a particular type, being represented in the popular tales as more powerful than the ʿifrīt.” The citations range from 1839 (E. W. Lane tr. Thousand & One Nights I. 72 “When the Márid heard these words of the fisherman, he said, There is no deity but God!”) to 1986 (I. Hassan Out of Egypt ii. 42 “Ginns, afrits, and marids still haunt these sites at night, calling for blood”).

Comments

  1. Marids figure extensively in Jonathan Stroud’s Bartimaeus Trilogy (a very fun read as well, by the way) along with quite a few international variations on the genie/djinn. I don’t recall any others offhand–no tea yet this AM–but it’s a lot.

  2. George Grady says:

    Marids are one of the standard “genie” type creatures in Dungeons and Dragons. They are associated with water. Djinn are associated with air, efreet with fire, and dao with earth. These associations make some sense, when adapting the folklore to the standard “elemental” stuff in D&D, except that I have no idea where they got “dao” from, having never encountered them in anything except D&D and D&D-inspired stuff. Anyone heard of a genie-type spirit called something like “dao”?

  3. Wolfe also has a much later story titled “The Monday Man”, about, well, a Monday man. Marids also feature in Catherynne M. Valente’s “Fairyland” books, and I couldn’t remember where I had encountered the word before, but it was clearly “Peace”.

  4. DAO: the only thing that it suggests to me is Chinese Tao or Dao (道), which can loosely be translated as ‘the Way’. But it doesn’t make a lot of sense to personify it as a creature.

  5. Winning spam that deserves preservation:
    “We found numerous great DVDs that many of us were excited to look at again. Over the length of two months, we re-watched god, the father of this Rings trilogy, the Godfather trilogy, and with regards to twenty other movies that many of us loved as well as hadn’t watched within a while.”

  6. Trond Engen says:

    JC: Winning spam that deserves preservation:
    I’ve been wondering about these spams. The wording is always parodically stilted, so it seems like they might be produced with a synonym replacement tool rather than auto-translation. Or maybe both, but the syntax isn’t that bad, mostly.

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