Tuesday, October 23, 2007

How Foundling found the Name of SPUD

Today I will continue with what I wrote earlier about the "single-tater" and "many-tater" religions in the Third Galaxy.

The basic difference is between those who worship a single deity, for example, the Great Potato, and those who worship many Potatoes.

Although it sounds simple, as it often is with realities the actual situation is somewhat more complicated than it would seem. First of all, the distinction is mainly one made by followers of single-tater religion. This sets them apart and makes them feel superior to those who worship many Potatoes.

Those who follow the major "many-tater" religion in the Third Galaxy are known as Hudoos and they take offense and this distinction and say that the Strugs, Peelers and Mashers (the major "single-tater" religions) have misunderstood what Hudooism is really about. In their own eyes, the Hudoos revere and worship various manifestations of the Ultimate Potato. On the other hand, the followers of the single-tater religions when they really get upset, in particular the Peelers, rave that the Hudoos worship demons, that is things that aren't even Potatoes!

To complicate things even more, the Strugs, Peelers and Mashers have a running disagreement among themselves as to which of them are actually worshipping the Great Potato.

The upshot is that they have had a lot of fun and games over the years in the Third Galaxy as they discussed the finer points of their theologies with swords, spears, axes, bows and arrows, guns, thumb screws, racks, boiling lead and great big bonfires.

The Strugs, as I told you before is the oldest of the three religions and was founded by a man called Foundlig. Foundling lived and died about a thousand years after Broken Wing and Laughing Boy. He gave the Strugs the Teaching codified in five books he wrote all by himself -- this was a pretty neat job because the Teaching concludes with how Foundling died and was buried.

But religion being what it is, that is a way for some people to not have to work for a living, the Strugs have explanations for this and a number of other apparent discrepancies.

According to the Teaching, it was Foundling who gave the Strugs the Explicit Name of the Great Potato, which is written SPUD. He was able to do this because the Great Potato Himself told it to Foundling. This happened after Foundling killed a foreman during a work conflict and buried the body in a ditch. Afraid the authorities were on to him, Foundling decided to go into hiding in the wilderness. The wilderness is a wild and lonely place and he must have been awful hungry. There isn't much entertainment in the wilderness, so, when he saw a burning bush that didn't go up in smoke, he went to check it out. Imagine his surprise when the Great Potato starting talking to him from the fire and told Foundling that from now on he was to call the Great Potato, "SPUD"!

It may seem to you that this was a rather round about way for the Great Potato to transmit his Teaching to the Strugs, but this is way things were done in the Third Galaxy. In any case, the story of how Foundling gave the Teaching of SPUD to the Strugs is not even half as wild as how Holy Idaho came to be regarded and the only besprouted 'Tater of the Great Potato or how Masher received the Reading of the Eternal Book -- but I will tell you about these things later.

To make a very long story extremely short, in the centuries after Foundling died, the Name became so holy and revered that nobody could speak it out loud except the highest of the high priests and only he could shout it once a year in the holy of holies in the Great Temple. In fact, when the highest of the high priests went into the holy of holies to cry out the name of SPUD, he had a rope tied around his leg in the event that he fainted or died of a heart attack -- the holy of holies was so holy that nobody except the highest of the high priests could go in there, therefore the rope, so they could drag him out...

It doesn't take much imagination to figure out that eventually nobody, not even the highest of the high priests knew how to pronounce the Name of SPUD. This was especially hard after the Great Temple was destroyed, along with the holy of holies.

No comments: