“The Names – I” / A Memorable Fancy #263

The King appointed a Royal Namer. Actually, he appointed four of them, one after another, until he found one who avoided the hangman by finally learning the art – no, let’s call it “the trick” – of Naming.

You can probably tell from that that I don’t much like what the Namer does. Don’t we have enough names for things already?

Take last week, for example. The Namer said “cream cheese” and cream cheese appeared; that is, we saw that something soft and white and edible now had a name, and that name turned out to be “cream cheese.” Score one for things, and one for the Namer.

The Royal Philosopher is trying to figure out if “cream cheese” is the real, essential name of cream cheese and the Namer discovered that fact, or if any name would do, and the Namer just made something up. The fate of each of their necks depends on how the King decides this issue. On the street, the Namer’s odds are seven to five right now, but this frequently changes.

Regardless, the Namer has made a great difference in the world. Today, for instance, he declared that there were four kinds of cream cheese.

Each one has a name.


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