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                          The Annotated Sandman

               Edited by Ralf Hildebrandt and largely written by Greg Morrow

                Issue 18:  "A Dream of a Thousand Cats"
            Neil Gaiman, Kelley Jones, and Malcolm Jones III

               Second story in anthology _Dream Country_
        Second story reprinted in trade paperback _Dream Country_

Page 10 panel 1:  "Carrion Kind" is evidently poetic nomenclature for
scavengers (specifically crows?).  See below.
	Panel 3:  Note that (as identified on page 14 panel 2) this is a crow
and not a raven.  Evidently bird-snots can tell the difference.  Therefore,
this creature is neither Matthew nor any other of the series of raven aides to
Dream (who dwell with Eve, the Raven Woman).

Page 13 panel 1:  The entrance to the Dreaming has been seen before to be
guarded by a griffon, dragon, and winged horse.
Here, the griffon looks more like a large vulture.

Page 14 panel 2:  Dream appears to the viewer in a form that conforms to the
viewer's expectations.  Thus, he, as adversary, appears as a great panther,
black, because that is Dream's color.
	We may draw some conclusions from Dream's appearance.  The final page
of the story clearly establishes our time frame as post-1950 or so.  Now, Dream
was imprisoned from 1916 to 1987 or so, so we may conclude that either the cat
has done an impressive amount of traveling (page 21) in the last several
years, or the cat is more than seventy years old.  The latter is not entirely
impossible, given the messianic nature of the cat.  Alternatively, given the
revelations in _Sandman_ #40 about the soft nature of time, the cat may simply
have entered the Dreaming at a non-contemporaneous point, encountering a past
or future Dream instead of a Dream who was imprisoned at the cat's time.
	Panel 5:  "A cat may look at a king":  Cleveland Amory's book, _The Cat
Who Came for Christmas_ has an extensive section on the origins of this
proverb, from which I quote:

        In the fifteenth century, the story goes, Maximilian I, of the
    House of Hapsburg, King of the Romans and soon to be Holy Roman
    Emperor, was deep in conversation with a friend of his named
    Hieronymus Resch, a maker of woodcuts.  During this conversation,
    the king looked over and saw Resch's cat, stretched out on a table,
    staring not at Resch but at him.  From this rather less than earth-
    shaking occurrence came, apparently, not only the actual proof of the
    proverb but also its rather less than happy future connotation - at
    least as far as kings are concerned.  For Maximilian, who spent a
    good deal of his reign embroiled in turmoil, intrigue, and warfare,
    always declared that the cat had looked at him, with, as he put it,
    "deep suspicion" - a comment which, once again, will come as small
    surprise to all the cat-owned, before Maximilian's time, and since.
	And, years later the cat and the king confrontation became
    the basis for one of the famous "Fantastic Fables" of none other
    than the late Ambrose Bierce:

		A Cat was looking at a King as permitted by the
		proverb.
	 	   "Well," said the monarch, observing her
		inspection of the royal person, "how do you
		like me?"
		   "I can imagine a King," said the Cat, "whom I
		should like better."
		   "For example?"
		   "The King of Mice."

	We may note that the proverb also makes an appearance in _Alice's
Adventures in Wonderland_ when Alice mentions it to the King of Hearts, but
herself notes than she read it somewhere.
	Checking _Bartlett's Familiar Quotations_, we note the following:

"A cat may looke on a King."  - John Heywood (1497-1580)
                                Proverbes, Part II, Cap. V

Page 17 panel 1,2:  The male does not seem to be golden-haired, as the text
would indicate.
	Panel 2,4:  The idea of dreaming to change the world is at least as old
as Ursula K. LeGuin's _The Lathe of Heaven_.

Page 20 panel 4:  Note again the reference to the Carrion Kind.  This is
reminiscent of the Red King in _Through the Looking Glass_, whose dreams might
have been all of reality.  We also see multiple layering of dreams here.

Page 23 panel 2:  The corollary to Alan Moore's famous "This is an imaginary
story.  Aren't they all?" is this:  All stories are also _true_.

Contributors include:
	Bill "Bad Company" Sherman  did the literary
antecedent thing in suggesting Kipling and LeGuin as inspiration, and later
asked that the Kipling refs be removed as inaccurate.
	David Waterman Hyatt  delved into Cleveland
Amory for information on cats and kings.
	Abhijit Khale (khale@alydar.Eng.Sun.COM) came up with the _Alice_
reference and e elizabeth bartley (eeb1@ellis.uchicago.edu) bested him with the
Bartlett's (boy, that must smart!).  Colonel G. L. Sicherman
(gls@cbnewsh.cb.att.com) also cited John Heywood.
	Tanaqui C. Weaver (cen@vax.oxford.ac.uk) and Neil Gaiman rambled on
about the nature of the skeletal crow, which the Colonel also corrected me on.
Tanaqui also located the carrionkind references.

© by Ralf Hildebrandt
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This file was last modified 27. Jan 2007 by root