More on the Dung-Haters

As with most peoples outside Teleleli, an extended family of Dung-Haters will generally live in one building. The ‘nuclear family’ of a single couple and their children is an unknown concept to them. They have maintained this practice even in Teleleli, where plentiful empty buildings would make smaller households viable. Where they are forced to occupy smaller buildings, they will generally knock down walls if they are able, or if not live in several adjacent buildings.

When a couple marries, the man must leave his family and live with that of his wife. However, if the husband speaks to his wife’s mother, the couple must divorce and the man return to his people in shame. If her shadow crosses his body he will sicken and die.

Sailors and the tides

Sailors are stronger when the tide is coming in, and strongest at high tide, but become weak when the tide turns. They will only die of illness or old age when the tide is ebbing. Thus, if a sailor must undergo surgery, it is important that it be performed as close as possible before high tide, but not continue after it.

Forbidden numbers of the Dung-Haters

The Dung-Haters have certain numbers which they are forbidden to name. They refer to them only by various euphemisms, and even then are uneasy about so doing. The numbers I have been able to discover, and their euphemisms, are as follows:

  • 34 – dead man.
  • 220 – brother.
  • 284 – sister.
  • 100,000 – lack.
  • 10,000,000 – craw.

Some of these uses have been picked up by other inhabitants of Teleleli.

The sage Hekabe points out that all these numbers are sufficiently large that hunter-gatherers will be unlikely to use them in daily life. She suggests that the taboo may derive from some conflict between hunter-gatherers and farming folk, but is at a loss as to why these numbers were chosen and not others. The Dung-Haters themselves have no explanation either (or, at least, none that they will offer outsiders).

It is notable, however, that 220 and 284 are known on Earth as ‘amicable numbers’: the factors of 220 add up to 284, and vice versa. This fact is unknown throughout most of Teleleli and the lands around, since pure mathematics (as opposed to its applications in engineering, magic and other fields) is an almost non-existent art.

Forbidden Names

Superstitious Telelenes will avoid certain combinations of letters under any circumstances. It is said that, when the gods gave humans the power of reason, neither were sure that it was a gift and not a curse. Therefore they agreed that humans could tell the gods they wished to lose their intelligence, by speaking or writing certain things. It is no great inconvenience to avoid any of these ‘forbidden’ combinations of letters, as they are not words, but meaningless phrases such as roflmao and wtf.

Unrequited love in Teleleli

Among many of the inhabitants of Teleleli, there is a set of practices for responding to being spurned in love. Although these practices are formalised, they are generally heartfelt.

The entire process may take only a few days, or as long as several weeks. It is not believed that a longer period indicates a greater amount of unhappiness.

The unhappy lover will first take themselves to a graveyard. Members of those sects who believe graveyards to be part of the world of the dead will stay just outside the graveyard. Their friends (and perhaps relatives) will arrive and ask them to come home, to which they will announce “I do not wish to live.”

Friends will bring food to the lover daily, at roughly the same time. No one speaks during these visits, including the lover themselves. The lover may leave notes indicating their needs, which are written on scented paper as if they were love letters. During this period the lover often weeps silently.

Eventually the lover will meet their friends and relatives outside the graveyard, and announce “I do not wish to eat.” They will now dwell near their own home, but outside. For example they may stay on the roof, or in the courtyard if one exists. During this period the lover fasts, and often groans with hunger and sadness. Their friends and relatives will visit them daily, and speak ill of the beloved. The lover does not respond.

After a time the lover will greet their friends inside their home, and say “I do not wish to sleep.” The friends now arrange a sort of celebration. All who attend, especially the lover themselves, will eat and drink to excess. It is usual to swear, fight and vomit during these events. No one will speak of the beloved.

Eventually the lover (and likely many others) will fall asleep or pass out. When the lover awakens, they are assumed to have been cured of their grief.

Mirror-Servants

It is fashionable among the upper classes of Teleleli to disdain mirrors, and instead to live in houses with special ‘mirror-rooms’, in which servants imitate one’s movements and expressions. The chief mirror-servants, each of which plays the role of one member of the household, should appear to be idealised versions of the person they are mirroring. It is even more desirable to have extra servants especially to play the roles of frequent visitors to the house. Less senior mirror-servants will play extra roles as required.

People with the wealth to hire this many servants never dress themselves. Thus there is no danger of a person, for example, misapplying cosmetics due to not being able to see their reflection.

Various observations on matters sexual

That which we call the ‘missionary position’ is, in Teleleli, known as The Congress of Serpents.

It is rumoured that some wizards who are well-versed in the ways of the extra dimensions Yafir and Yiraf have invented a series of non-Euclidian sexual positions.

There is a type of robot which can both disassemble itself, and have sexual intercourse. As such, they have invented sexual positions with no equivalent among biological creatures. It is not known why they were so designed. It was not to serve as concubines to creatures of flesh, since they utterly refuse to do so. Nor do they reproduce in this fashion. Some speculate that they are intended to drive humans and similar beings mad with envy.

Gold, Silver and Copper

In Teleleli it is believed that gold, silver and copper are all the same metal. It is believed that it is created as gold, but may be degraded by contact with dragons, who rub it to harden their otherwise soft underbellies.

The fact that silver and copper have been found underground suggests that dragons spend much of their lives buried in the ground.