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Volume 1409

Den Valdron
Part of the Exploring Barsoom Series


. . .. . . 
References and Connections
Malacandra as Lowell's Mars
Matching Malacandra to Barsoom
The Races and Culture of Malacandra
Quoted descriptions of the Zorn
Quoted Descriptions of the Hrossa
Quoted descriptions of the Pfifltriggi


Clive Staples Lewis (1898-1963)

OUT OF THE SILENT PLANET, written in 1938, is C.S. Lewis’ tribute to Mars, which he calls Malacandra.   The plot, such as there is of it, concerns a fellow named Ransom who is kidnapped to Mars by two villains named Devine and Weston.   These two have travelled all the way to Mars to pan for gold.   They encountered the Sorns, who wanted them to come meet their Oyarsa.  Believing the Sorns wanted a human sacrifice, they travelled all the way back to Earth, abducted Ransom and brought him to Mars to feed the Sorns.

Of course, Ransom runs away the first chance he gets.   He stumbles across an otter-like race, the Hrossa, who live in an immense valley and hangs with them for a time, until he is summoned by Oyarsa.   From there, he climbs up the side of the valley meeting a Sorn named Augray, who takes him overland to another valley called Meldidil.  There, he meets the third race of Martians, the froglike Pfifltriggi (try saying that out loud).  Elaborate descriptions of the three physical races of Malacandra are quoted from Lewis as appendices. 

He also encounters Oyarsa, who is a strange being made of light, or a transdimensional being partly in our universe, or perhaps some sort of psychically created guardian. Let's not make too many bones about it.  Lewis is a Christian, and Oyarsa is something like an angel or archangel presiding over Mars.

References and Connections

Lewis' Malacandra occasionally makes direct reference to H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds, both in Lewis' foreword and in Ransom's thoughts.   Ransom is terrified of meeting Wells’ Martians, one of the causes of his panicked flight.   Burroughs is never mentioned of course.   Barsoom is a bit too trashy for Lewis.

However, two significant modern works incorporate Lewis' Malacandra and Burroughs' Barsoom onto the same Mars, and throw in a few other references for good measure.   Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume II, features Malacandra's Sorns joining John Carter's Tharks and Gulliver Jones’ Hithers on an assault upon the Wells’ Martians.   Meanwhile, Larry Niven's Rainbow Mars, features Sorns, Hrossa, Pfifltriggi of Malacandra, as well as Red Men, Tharks, Kaldanes and Rykors, of Barsoom, as well as Wells' Martians.

Despite this, Lewis and his work on Mars has never really been associated with Burroughs in the ways that Wells, Kline and Arnold were.  Nevertheless, like Wells and Burroughs, Lewis’ works live on, and arguably have more claim to enduring status than either Kline and Arnold.  Certainly, Lewis stands well beyond the other 'Mars story' writers of the period who are now largely forgotten.

Malacandra as Lowell's Mars

Lewis' Malacandra is clearly Mars as Percival Lowell imagined it.   As Ransom leaves the planet, he looks out his spaceship window and describes the scene thusly:

"The Handramit (normally river valley, but in this case, the word refers to canals)  was only a straight purple line across the rose red surface of the harandra (the Martian highland).  The were above the junction of two handramits.  One of them was doubtless that in which he had lived, the other, that which contained Meldilorn.  The gully by which he had cut off the corner between the two was quite invisible.   Each minute more handramits came into view - long straight lines, some parallel, some intersection, some building triangles.   The landscape became increasingly geometrical.  The waste between the purple lines appeared perfectly flat.  The rosy colour of the petrified forests accounted for its tint immediately below him; but to the north and east the great sand deserts of which the Sorn had told him were no appearing as illimitiable stretches of yellow and ochre.  To the west a huge discolouration began to show.  It was an irregular patch of greenish blue that looked as if it were sunk below the level of the surrounding harandra.  He concluded that it was the forest lowlands of the Pfifltriggi - or rather one of their forest lowlands, for now similar patches were appearing in all direction, some of them mere blobs at the intersection of handramits, some of vast extent....   Seen from the height which the space ship had now attained, in all their unmistakable geometry, they put to shame his impression that they were natural valleys.  They were gigantic feats of engineering, about which he learned nothing (168)"
So, is Malacandra also Barsoom?   Or at least, can Malacandra be found on Barsoom.   Not at first glance.

Ransom's world is quite a bit different than Barsoom.   The canals, Ransom suggests to us, are actually gigantic valleys or trenches carved into the surface thousands upon thousands of feet deep to allow for livable air pressure and water.   The upper surface of Malacandra has air pressure roughly equivalent to the Himalayan mountains, and nothing can live up there except the Sorns and possibly a few other species, including a domesticated creature used for milk.  According to Ransom, the canals, featuring breathable air and marsh conditions, are occupied by Hrossa, the sea bottoms at even lower altitudes by Pfifltriggi.   Although, thinking about it, I'm not sure why, if the sea bottoms are really the lowest elevation, they don't ultimately drain out the canals. 

Matching Malacandra to Barsoom
Avalon EditionBodley Head UK Edition 1938

Anyway, the point is that Ransom assumes that the entire world is like what he sees, and he generalizes his observations to the Martian landscape he sees from space.   But for once, an observer admits his limitations, and Ransom is quite clear that his observations are tentative:

"He became vividly conscious that his knowledge of Malacandra was minute, local, parochial.  It was as if a Sorn had journeyed forty million miles to Earth and spent his stay there between Worthing and Brighton.  (168)"

"That reminds me, the Maps of Mars which I have consulted are so inconsistent with one another that I have given up the attempt to identify my own handramit."

In short, he acknowledges that he has seen only a fraction of the world, and his impressions are as limited and possibly misleading as a Sorn who sees only a corner of England.   His grasp of the planet is so poor that he cannot even reliably compare his impressions with maps and consistently determine where he was.

So, the door is open for us to assume that Malacandra may actually be only a segment or region on Barsoom.  But if so, where?   Ransom actually invites us to make the attempt to locate the region of his travels, and therefore, the core of Malacandra:

"If you want to try your hand, the desideratum is a roughly north east and south west 'canal' cutting a north and south ‘canal’ not more than twenty miles from the equator."
As described by Ransom, he believes that the highlands are uninhabitable, at least for humans.  He spends most of his time with the Hrossa in a ‘handramit’ or valley.   The description is suggestive:
"Before and behind them lay the glittering lake, here studded with islands, and there smiling uninterruptedly at the pale blue sky; the sun, he noticed was almost immediately overhead - they were in the Malacandrian tropics.  At each end the lake vanished into more complicated groupings of land and water, softly, featherily, embossed in the purple giant weed.  But this marshy land or chain of archipelagos, as he now beheld it was bordered on each side with jagged walls of the pale green mountains, which he could hardly still call mountains, so tall they were, so gaunt, sharp, narrow and seemingly  unbalanced.  On the starboard, they were not more than a mile away and seemed divided from the water only by a narrow strip of forest; to the left they were far more distant, though still impressive - perhaps seven miles from the boat.  They ran on each side of the watered country as far as he could see, both onwards and behind them.   He was sailing, in fact, on the flooded floor of a majestic canyon nearly ten miles wide and of unknown length. . . ."
In short, Ransom is clearly describing Valles Marinis, mars 3600 mile long canyon trench near the equator.   As the journey continues, they come to an shallow area and are forced to portage the boat.  At this point, Ransom describes a series of rapids by which the water descends steeply for a half miles journey.   The canyon then continues at a lower level.   The walls, however, do not sink at all.   Ransom concludes that the highlands are level and that the canyon has varying depths or elevations.

In Barsoomian terms, Valles Marinis is the site of the mighty Toonolian Marshes.  However, the description we are getting, of high canyon walls, doesn't seem to match the Toonolians at all well.  Our picture of the Toonolians is of a largely flooded canyon forming a water reservoir supporting marshlands in a broad belt of a hundred or more miles on each side.   The canyon is flooded to the top.

However, the Toonolian marshes are only about 1800 miles in length.  They stretch only for half of Valles Marinis duration, and likely occupy the low table lands areas of the east.   Follow Valles Marinis west, and it stretches into the Tharsis highlands.

Tharsis is an immense bulge on the side of Mars, covering about a fifth of the planet's surface area, it is a huge region of uplift containing most of Mars most impressive volcanoes, including Alba Patera, Olympus Mons and the string of volcanoes known as Tharsis Montes.  It is the highest elevation of the planet being four to five kilometers above the planetary mean, and containing even higher altitudes.   So, head that way, and you're sure to get more and more extreme cliffs, even if the valley is wet.

Could this be the land of the Hrossa?   And if so, how does it go undiscovered on Barsoom, since the area is pretty thickly settled?   Let's take a look at those settlements though.    The major cities in the region are Toonol, Phundahl, Duhor and Kaol.

Toonol and Phundahl are at opposite ends of the Toonolian Marshes.   Toonol is at the eastern end, and thus on the wrong side.   Phundahl then holds the western side of the marshes and is the gateway to the further reaches of Valles Marinis.   Phundahl is also one of the most regressive, isolationist, superstitious and flat out dumbest peoples on Mars.   In short, they're a pack of buffoons, and it appears that all their interests run eastward.    So they may well be completely ignorant and oblivious to the further reaches of Valles Marinis, and more than that, they're an obstacle to further exploration and discovery.

Which suggests that with Phundahl as a kind of big political road block, the Hrossa could well be plausible as a lost race occupying the interior regions of Valles Marinis.   Surrounded on either side by Tharsis, they would be extremely difficult to reach overland from north or south.   Hrossa contact with humans would only be through Phundahl, and it would probably be rare.   And the Phundahl, as beknighted and superstitious as they are, might well consider such creatures to be demons and therefore avoid the region.

Although Ransom never realizes it, there is evidence that the Hrossa have had contact with Barsoomian humans.   When his first Hrossa sees him, it reacts with initial fear and flees.   Clearly, it has seen or heard tales of creatures like him.   If he had been a truly alien being, it would have reacted more with initial curiosity.   After all, Ransom looks roughly like a tiny, squat, heavy Sorn, from the descriptions we get.  The Hrossa have no fear of the Sorn.

Of the remaining Barsoomian nations, Amhor lies directly north of the Toonolian marshes, and therefore well away from the section of territory that we are interested in.  Meanwhile, Duhor lies in the area of the ‘snow capped Artolian hills’, which would locate it on the other side of Tharsis, in or within site of Olympus Mons and the Tharsis Montes. 

This leaves only Kaol, and a problem.   There is another race on Malacandra, the frog-like Pfifltriggi.   Where do they live?

"'Pfifltriggi?' said Ransom.  More than ten days journey to the west, said Hhnohra.  'The harandra (land) sinks down not into the handramit (valley) but into a broad place, an open place spreading every way.  Five days journey from the north to the south of it, ten days journey from the east to the west.   The forests are of other colours there than here, they are blue and green.  It is very deep there, it goes to the roots of the world....  The Pfifltriggi live there.  They delight in digging.  What they dig they soften with fire and make things of it.   They are little people, smaller than you and long in the snout, pale, busy.   They have long limbs in front.  No hnau can match them in making and shaping things as none can match us in singing.'" (78)
Okay, this doesn't seem like Valles Marinis, which for all of that is very sharply defined canyon.  It appears to be a much broader valley, an open area, but still geographically defined.   Is there any such territory in the neighborhood?   Sure there is.   There's an immense, long, but very broad valley running north/south down Tharsis east side toward Valles Marinis. 

The trouble is that we are already placing Kaol in this valley.   On the positive side, it's the site of the Kaolian forest, which matches up well with the forested region of the Pfifltriggi.   On the other hand, this is Kaol we're talking about.

The Kaolians are far from stupid, making them quite unlike the Phundahls.  However, John Flint Roy's ‘A Guide to Barsoom’ which is an essential reference manual describes Kaol thusly:

"Lying as it does in a natural depression, climactic conditions are such that the entire area is heavily forested, an unusual feature on this dying planet.  Isolated and entirely self supporting its people are deeply loyal to both state and doctrine.  There are several cities within the Kaolian forest, connected by a splendid road network.  When John Carter first visited this country, Kaol had no aircraft and therefore no landing areas.  However, since then they have acquired a respectable armada."
So, the key words here are 'isolated', 'entirely self supporting' and 'no aircraft.'   The Pfifltriggi are probably located in the southern region of the great valley, near the reaches where it connects to Valles Marinis.   Again, the area would be shielded from the south, east and west by the Tharsis highlands.   The most likely access would be through the shallower northeastern side of the valley.   And in fact, this would be through an area under the control of the Kaolians.   In short, the Kaolians, like the Phundahls would amount to a barrier city, preventing access

The Kaolians may well be aware of the Pfifltriggi and may even have trading relations with them.  On the other hand, there's no reason that any other city state or nation on Barsoom would have any opportunity to know of them, except through Kaol.  And the Kaolians are isolationists.

There is one further observation worth making about the Pfifltriggi, and that is that they are markedly smaller than human, frog bodied with distorted proportions.   In short, they are dwarvish beings.

Burroughs never mentions Dwarfs on Barsoom.  On the other hand, several writers do.   Henri Gayer's 'Serge Myrandahl' discovers red haired or red furred cave dwelling dwarfs in the northern region of Tharsis, around the area we have identified as Alba Patera.   Meanwhile, Galopin records the tale of an occultist who astrally projects to Mars and finds cave dwelling dwarfs, in a region we've also tentatively pegged as northern Tharsis, this time around the interior of Tempe Terra.     Fictional characters Dr. Omega and Narcisse Barbidon also encounter races of Dwarves.

The Sorns are the first race that Ransom encounters, and they are probably the easiest to locate.  The Sorns are high altitude beings, living comfortably at elevations that Humans and Hrossa cannot tolerate.  This is why their chests are so big, huge lungs.   On Barsoom of course, humans can breath well enough at normal elevations.  But there is one region which is so elevated that the air might well become too thin for normal activity:   Tharsis. 

Ransom assumes that the Zorns territory is pretty much the whole of the surface of Mars, excluding only the lowland sea bottoms and canal canyons.   The truth is that the Sorns range is likely far narrower, the Tharsis uplift region.   But having said that, the region covers a fifth of the entire planet, so they have plenty of territory.

And of course, the valley of the Pfiltriggi in its southern reach, as well as the western ends of Valles Marinis where we ascribe the Hrossa, are bordered on each of their sides by Tharsis.  Which means that there is a meeting point or region where all three races would naturally mingle.

Before we conclude, there is a fourth race of Martians which Ransom is told of, but which are, apparently extinct:

"'It was the old forests of Malacandra,' said Augray, ‘Once there was air on the Harandra and it was warm....  It was then these forests grew, and in and out among their stalks,  went a people that have vanished from the world these many thousands of years.   They were covered not with fur, but with a coat like mine.   They did not go in the water swimming or on the ground walking; they glided in the air on flat broad limbs which kept them up.   It is said they were great singers...'"
Ransom calls them birds, but note that Augray the Sorn describes them as people.   A description which implies that these creatures were sentient and intelligent, and had language, sociability and technology.

Burroughs, of course, never describes flying Barsoomians, though his Barsoom does contain gigantic flying birds and huge flying insects.   However, Wells’ describes winged flying Martians, as does Kline, as does Le Rouge and Gayer.  In all, there are at least ten stories of Mars which feature flying winged humanoid beings.

And as a side note, Leigh Bracket's Sword of Rhiannon, from 1953, depicts an archeologist named Matt Carse who travels back in time to the Ocean period of Mars civilization, and there encounters, in addition to human races, both a winged race of flyers and a furred otterlike race of intelligent beings. 

What evidence of the geographical range of these winged humanoid beings that we, from Wells', Le Rouge's and other stories, have, suggests that their range is in the southern regions of Tharsis, extending into the Toonolian marshes in the East, and as far west as the Thakkor marshes which surround the Elysium plateau.   This means that the region of the Hrossa and Pfifltriggi is well within the geographical range of these creatures.   They are obviously extinct in the Malacandra region, but doing fine in other areas.

The Races and Culture of Malacandra

The three extant races of Malacandra appear to fit loosely into the taxonomy of humanoid Barsoomians.   They are all four limbed creatures, which suggest that they are related to the humans of Barsoom.   In fact, their body plans do not diverge strongly from that of Barsoomian humans.  The Sorn are incredibly tall and lean, but essentially human in conformation.   The Pfifltriggi are frog bodied, but then again, humans themselves have the same rough proportions as frogs.   The Pfifltriggi are specifically mentioned to be egg layers.  The otter-like Hrossa have long torsos and short limbs.   (It should be noted that the life spans of the Malacandran races, with the possible exception of the Sorns, are far inferior to Barsoomians.   The Hrossa life span is about 160 Earth years, the Pfifltriggi substantially less.)

Meanwhile, on Barsoom, although most of the identified races, the Okar, the Orovar, Thern, Red and First Born are of narrowly human appearance and proportion, there is a couple of apparently ‘human’ race which deviates substantially:   The Kangaroo Men of the Toonolian Marshes seem human except for a series of adaptations, like jumping legs, balancing tails and pouches.   The Rykors worn by the Kaldanes resemble headless men.   In short, these two suggest that Barsoomian humans may have an outer range of variation in their pasts, particularly for specific environments,  that could include the Malacandran races. 

There are a couple of interesting cultural overlaps between the Malacandrans and the Barsoomians.

First, the Malacandrans like the Barsoomians, speak a single common language.   Unlike the rest of the Barsoomians, the Malacandrans appear to retain some traces of their local languages, and there appear to be a series of terms and terminology not found elsewhere on Barsoom.  But overall, they appear to speak a common root language.

Secondly, Malacandran lore, like Barsoomian, speaks to a relatively rapid planetary catastrophe.  When the atmosphere and oceans went, as on Barsoom, it went fast for the Malacandrans, within a few thousands of years.

Third, and perhaps most interesting, the funeral rites:

"I see the Malacandran sky at morning...  There are figures walking before me, slender yet gigantic forms, black and sleek as animated tall hats...  They go down singing to the edge of the lake.  The music fills the wood with its vibration, though it is so soft that I can hardly hear it; it is like dim organ music.  Some of them embark, but most remain.  It is done slowly, this is no ordinary embarkation, but some ceremony.  It is, in fact, a hross funeral.  Those three with the grey muzzle whom they have helped into the boat are going to Meldilorn to die.  For in that world, except for some few whom the Hnakra gets, no one dies before his time.  All live out the full span allotted to their kind...  And now they are off to receive the last counsel of Oyarsa, to die and to be by him ‘unbodied’.   The corpses, as corpses, will exist only for a few moments.  There are no coffins in Malacandra, no sextons, churchyards or undertakers.  The valley is solemn at their departure,, but I see no signs of passionate grief.  They do not doubt their immortality, and friends of the same generation are not torn apart.   Death is not preceded by dread nor followed by corruption."
In short, like Gulliver Jones Hither and Thither people, and their final journey on their River of Death to the northern ice, and like the Barsoomians of other regions, and their final journeys on the River Iss, the Malacandra people, when they are dead or ready to die travel by boat up their canals or rivers to their source, the valley of Meldilorn, for their passage to the next life.

We note that Oyarsa is apparently able to reach out and communicate throughout his region.  Oyarsa speaks twice to Ransom and such visitations are not considered unusual.  Oyarsa also claims to have jurisdiction over all of Malacandra.   The need to go on the final journey, so similar to the traditions of Barsoomians and Hither, seems to be a common cultural linking figure.   The destinations of the river are different, but the journey down the river towards the gateway to the other world is common to all three.

It's also notable that Oyarsa appears to oversee every ‘funeral’ personally.   All dead and dying make the journey to Meldilorn.   This seems to imply that Malacandra is actually a relatively small corner of Barsoom.   Imagine transporting every corpse from every corner of Mars for the entire population of the planet?  Meldilorn would be a non-stop funeral assembly line.   (Though arguably, perhaps Meldilorn is just the regional funeral/holy place, and Oyarsa simultaneously supervises dozens upon dozens of other sites).

There are anomalies.   Barsoom is a warlike place, but the races of Malacandra are decidedly not warlike.  But that may be a factor of their isolation, and the fact that their areas are inaccessible to much of the planet and guarded by relatively xenophobic Barsoomian city states.    The largest anomaly, of course, is Oyarsa itself, a benign, semi-divine, non-material entity which seems to protect the Malacandrans.   Ransom seems to place this creature as an agent of god in a pseudo-Christian philosophy.   What Oyarsa is and how it relates to the beings of Barsoom is a mystery I do not feel the need to answer.    It may be exactly what Ransom believes it to be, it may be some sort of benign transdimensional being, it may be a manifestation of the collective psychic will of the Malacandrans (perhaps similar to the psychic constructs of Lothair).   It is sufficient that Oyarsa appears to confine its reach to the borders of Malacandra within Barsoom.

Ultimately then, it seems more than possible to fit Malacandra into Mars, alongside Burroughs Barsoom, Kline’s and Wells’ Mars, and the peoples and races and geography of other Mars.  In short, it's all Barsoom, wall to wall.


Quoted descriptions of the Zorn (the numbers are page references from the Pan Books, 1977 printing)

Long streaky white reflections motionless in the running water....  He looked up.  Six white things were standing there.  Spindly and flimsy things, twice or three times the height of a man.  His first idea was that they were the images of Men, the work of savage artists.  He had seen things like them in books of archeology.  But what could they be made of and how could they stand?  So crazily thin and elongated in the leg, so top-heavily pouted in the chest, such stalky, flexible-looking distortion of earthly bipeds...  Like something seen in one of those comic mirrors.  They were certainly not made of stone or metal, for now they seemed to sway a little as he watched; now with a shock that chased the blood from his cheeks he saw that they were alive, they were coming at him.  He had a momentary, scared glimpse of their faces, thin and unnaturally long, with long drooping noses and drooping mouths of half spectral, half idiotic solemnity.  (50)   One of the things sent its voice across the water to them; an enormous horn like voice far above their heads...   Suddenly, a second, much louder and less articulate noise broke from he creatures on the far bank.  (51)   The giant stature, the cadaverous leanness, the long drooping wizard like profile....   The head appeared to be narrow and conical.   The hands.... were thin, mobile, spidery and almost transparent.  (60)   It was sitting on its long wedge shaped buttocks with its feet drawn up close to it.   A man in the same posure would have rested his chin on his knees.   But the Sorn's legs were too long for that. It's knees rose high above its shoulders on each side of its head - grotesquely suggestive of huge ears - and the head down between them, rested its chin on the protruding breasts.   The creatures seemed to have either a double chin or a beard; Ransom could not make out which in the firelight.  It was mainly white or cream in colour and seemed to be clothed down to the ankles in some soft substance that reflected the light.  On the long fragile shanks, where the creature was closest to him, he saw that this was some natural kind of coat.   It was not like fur, but more like feathers.   In fact, it was almost exactly like feathers.  The whole animal, seen at close quarters, was less terrifying than he expected, and even a little smaller.   The face, it was true, took a good deal of getting used to - it was too long, too solemn, too colourless, and it was much more unpleasantly like a human face than any inhuman creature's face ought to be.  Its eyes, like those of all large creatures, seemed too small for it.  It was grotesque rather than horrible.   (106)   Ransom could not restrain a shudder at the touch of the Sorn’s hands upon his body; they were fan-shaped, seven fingered, mere skin over bone like a bird's leg, and quite cold.  (113)   Its gait was perhaps the least human thing about it.   It lifted its feet very high and set them down very gently.  Ransom was reminded alternately of a cat stalking, a strutting ban door fowl, and a high stepping carriage horse; but the movement was not really like that of any terrestrial animal. ...  They seemed to be doing between six and seven miles an hour.   (114)   They passed many caves where Sorns lived....  Sometimes a high cliff would be perforated with countless holes, all the way to the top and unidentifiable noises came from within.  Nowhere did he see anything like a village or city of Sorns.   Who were apparently solitary not social creatures.  (116)   The seemed to be skating rather than walking.  The lightness of their world  and the perfect poise of their bodies allowed them to lean forward at right angles to the slope. (117)   There is also at least one other kind of Sorn besides the kind I saw - the Soroborn or red Sorn of the desert, who lives in the sandy north.  He's a corker by all accounts.  (182)
Quoted Descriptions of the Hrossa
The Hrossa are an otterlike species.   Six or seven feet high, two thin for its height.   It had a coat of thick black hair, lucid as sealskin, very short legs with webbed feet, a broad beaver like or fish like tail.   Strong forelimbs with webbed claws or fingers.   It was something like a penguin, something like an otter, something like a seal.   The slenderness and flexibility of the body suggested a giant stoat   The great round head, heavily whiskered, was mainly responsible for the suggestion of a seal.  But it was higher in the forehead than a seal's and the mouth was smaller.  (61)    He had a vague notion that the jaws and mouth of the beast were not those of a carnivore.  (62)   A man seven feet high, with a snaky body, covered, face and all with thick black animal hair and whiskered like a cat.   But starting from the other end, you had an animal with everything an animal ought to have - glossy coat, liquid eyes and whitest teeth - the charm of speech and reason.   (66) The normal body temperature of a Hross is 103 degrees.    I know, though I can't remember learning it, that they live ...  About 160 earth years.  That they marry at about 40.  That they don't shed tears or blink.  (181)    My friends were black Hrossa, but there were also silver hrossa and in some of the western handramits one finds the great crested Hross - ten feet high, a dancer rather than a singer, and the noblest animal after man, that I have ever seen.  Only the males have a crest.  I also saw a pure white Hross at Meldilorn, but like a fool, I never found out whether he represented a sub-species or was a mere freak like our terrestrial albino.   (182)
Quoted descriptions of the Pfifltriggi
‘Pfifltriggi?’ said Ransom.  More than ten days journey to the west, said Hhnohra.  ‘The harandra (land) sinks down not into the handramit (valley) but into a broad place, an open place spreading every way.  Five days journey from the north to the south of it, ten days journey from the east to the west.   The forests are of other colours there than here, they are blue and green.  It is very deep there, it goes to the roots of the world....  The Pfifltriggi live there.  They delight in digging.  What they dig they soften with fire and make things of it.   They are little people, smaller than you and long in the snout, pale, busy.   They have long limbs in front.  No hnau can match them in making and shaping things as none can match us in singing. (78)    He saw pictures of Hrossa and smaller frog like animals.  The frog like animals, or frog-bodied Tapir headed animals were Pfilfltriggi.  (79)    A remarkable face appeared...  It was hairless like a man's or a sorn's.  It was long and pointed like a shrew's, yellow and shabby looking and so low in the forehead that but for the heavy development of the head at the back and behind the ears (like a bag wig) it could not have been that of an intelligent creature.  A moment later he whole of the thing came into view with a startling jump.  It was much more insect like or reptilian than anything he had yet seen.  It's build was distinctly that of a frog, and at first, Random thought it was resting, frog-like on its ‘hands’.  Then he noticed that that part of its fore limbs on which it was supported was really, in human terms, rather an elbow than a hand.  It was broad and padded and clearly made to be walked on; but upwards from it, at an angle of about forty-five degrees, went the true forearms - thin strong forearms, ending in enormous, sensitive, many fingered hands.  He realized that for all manual work from mining to cutting cameos, this creature had the advantage of being able to work from its full strength from a supported elbow.   The insect like effect was due to the speed and jerkiness of its movements and the fact that it could swivel its head almost all the way around like a mantis; and it was increased by a kind of dry, rasping, jingling quality in the noise of its moving.  It was rather like a grasshopper, rather like one of Arthur Rackham's dwarfs, rather like a frog, and rather like a little old taxidermist whom ransom knew in London.  (130-131)   He saw that the jingling and metallic noise was due to the number of small instruments which it carried about its body.  Sometimes with an air of annoyance, it would throw down the tool it was working with and select one of these; but the majority of those in immediate use it kept in its mouth.  (131-132)   I never saw the Pfilfltriggi at home.   But if you can work it in, there is no harm in explaining that they are oviparous and matriarchal and short lived compared with the other species.   (183)
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