The Barbarians of the Toe-lee-doe: A Lost Chapter of Herodotus

The Barbarians of the Toe-lee-doe:A Lost Chapter from Herodotus

     During my travels through the northernmost regions of the world, I came to a large coastal city, which in the barbarian language is called Toe-lee-doe. Some of the barbarians claim that the name is after a city across the cosmic ocean in the land of Spane. Others say it was called this because it was easy to pronounce. I disagree with these explanations since it seems to be a compound word meaning something like “a female deer that provides shelter to one’s feet.” I have a theory about what they mean by this but consider it to be irreligious to discuss it further.

     A curious custom these barbarians have is that they do not raise their own children, choosing rather to appoint certain “instructors” in their customs to carry out the task. This is especially strange because from what I could gather the customs that these instructors actually teach their children seem to have nothing to do with the customs of the barbarians outside of the place of instruction (which they refer to as a skule). To give an example, let me first explain the barbarians’ custom of dressing. Unlike the rest of the world, the barbarians wear rather tight fitting and restrictive clothing. Instead of cloaks they wear very short tunics, which only cover a span from the neck to just below the belly button. Yet, their genitals are not uncovered because on the bottom most barbarians will wear long tubes of cloth, which connect seamlessly with a sort of girdle up to their waist. The bottom of the tubes go all the way to the ground, and even in some cases drag on the ground! These tubes can be made of various materials, but are usually held up by some sort of leather strap. Some call these tubes and girdle “pants”—which I take to be some sort of a joke since “to pant” is to breathe heavily (perhaps a statement about how tight they are customarily worn). As far as I can tell the best name for the article is “trowzers”. Now it is customary in public to wear the tunic loosely falling over the trowzers. Yet, in the skule the instructors are extremely insistent that the only proper way of wearing the trowzers is pulled up over the tightly fitting tunic in a ridiculous way. It seems to me that there are only two possible explanations for this practice (the barbarians do not seem to be able to explain it). First, it may be that the instructors actually think it proper to humiliate the children. (Although, this should probably be discarded since the instructors themselves also practice this custom.) Second, it seems more likely that there is a formal religious principle, which necessitates this practice. The barbarians did confirm my suspicions on this point, but I will say no more about this for piety.

     Religiously, it seems that the barbarians honor no gods, save one they refer to as “Jee-zus” (it is unclear what the Hellenes call him). They honor Jee-zus by gathering for singing one time each week. They seem to also contribute small folded paper scraps to his temple, which symbolize their piety. On the whole, however, these practices seem to have been established long ago and have lost their original meaning or fervor. The barbarians say that an epiphany of Jee-zus has not happened for thousands of years, though they expect one soon. But that is all that needs to be said about the barbarians’ religion because it seems to have little to do with their customs and practices. On the other hand, their customs are largely driven by the acquisition of their currency. . .

(the remainder of the text is lost except for one other fragment)
“it is curious that these people seem to love eating what they call ‘dogs,’ which they claim are ground up beef encased in sheep intestines (though I rather doubt this claim since the meat tasted unlike any meat I’ve ever eaten.) A man named Tony Paco makes them in exorbitant quantities.”

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