Lime trees, lindworms and Ultima Thule

Ven ven at
Wed May 24 22:08:15 EDT 2000

Date sent:      	Wed, 24 May 2000 16:02:03 -0400
From:           	owner-dwj-digest at (dwj-digest (Diana 
Wynne Jones))
To:             	dwj-digest at
Subject:        	dwj-digest (Diana Wynne Jones) V1 #163
Send reply to:  	dwj at
Britta wrote:
> Well, if a lime tree is a tree that bears limes (like lemons), it is
> not... but if limes have nothing to do with lime tress, my concept of
> lime green has changed!
My tree book makes it clear there are two distinct trees here -- the 
one that bears limes, from the Spanish word for the fruit, and the 
lime which is an anglicization of linden. The latter is the one that 
often gets planted in leafy suburbs and drops sticky stuff on cars -- 
genus tilea apparently.

Back to those worms from lind apparently the linden tree's name 
comes from linde meaning rope, so there is probasbly some 
connection with lind for snake. And my best bit of research so far -- 
worm is described in my dictionary as cognate with Old Norse 
Ormr. Was old Orm a kind of dragon all along? DWJ obviously 
enjoys this kind of wordplay, has any one else noticed that 
Chipping is originally a word for market? So, in HMC, Market 
Chipping means Market Market. 

I always thought Ultima Thule referred to Britain at a time when the 
greeks etc weren't entirely sure that the place existed. However my 
dictionary of phrase and fable says it was Shetland or Norway:

Thule. The name given by the ancients to an island or point of land, 
six days north of Britain and considered by them to be the extreme 
northern limit of the world.The name is first found in the account 
given by Polybius (ci50bc) of the voyages made by Pytheas in the 
late 4th century bc......

Then it says that Ultima Thule is the end of the world or its northern 
extremity, quoting Virgil.

As its clearly Northern it perhaps doesn't belong with the fabulous 
list of Western lands sent by Elise. It puts me in mind of George 
MacDonald's land at the back of the North wind, the ultimate 
unknown territory.

I'm new to the list and I ought to still be lurking but I couldn't resist 
putting in my two penn'orth. I'll delurk properly real soon,

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