Tag Archives: Misfortune

Marginalia, no.169

According to the etymology suggested by Balsan in Recherches au Balouchistan persan, Ba-luch signifies misfortune, which one is thus enabled to avert. Similarly the Tibetans give their infants names such as Scabby, Dejection and Bitterness in order to keep those spirits at bay until the child is weaned.

~ Nicolas Bouvier, The Way of the World

The Greeks sought to avert misfortune by flattery, naming the stormy Black Sea the ‘Euxine’ (Hospitable) and the Furies ‘Eumenides’ (Gracious Ones). But more of us than know it are true natives of Baluchistan. My daughter’s first name, so I’ve read, is derived from the Latin for ‘blind.’ On a similar principle, my son used to plan nightmares for himself before falling asleep because he knew that dreams never worked out as expected. And when I fly I always imagine the stalled engine, the bomb in the cabin, the burst fuselage and our slow-motion fall from the sky, to ensure that it doesn’t happen.


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