Going Dutch

This is the second part in my series of deep dives into the Litany of the Jewels. In the first part, I proposed that the Litany is the crux of solving the Picture / Verse pairings in a decisive way.


In this post I’ll dig into the Dutch immigration group, where they came from, where they ended up, and show how we can use that information to pair Picture 9 to Verse 5.


So where do we start? With the Litany of course!


The Opal of the Lowland Gnomes: A cloud of shining, shifting smoke.

The first line has a lot to unpack. If we look to “The Passage to the New World”, we learn that the Alven, Klabautermannikins, and Gnomes came from “The Lowlands'' (pg 10) and more specifically that they are Dutch (pg. 13). This is what allows us to connect the Dutch to the Opal.


The Opal is the birthstone for the month of October and October’s birth flower is the Calendula. This additional information ties us to the 9th Picture: the X (Roman numeral 10) represents the month of October; we see the Calendula flower; and the grey Opal. The second line from the Litany confirms that the grey jewel in the hat is in fact, the Opal, with the description “a cloud of shining, shifting smoke”.


The latitude and longitude in Picture 9 get us to the vicinity of Montreal: latitude 45-46, longitude 73-74. This is supported in the book in a few different ways. The first, by the use of “The Lowlands” rather than “The Netherlands”, which nods to Montreal’s place in the former province of “Lower Canada”. Another, in a footnote in “The Vanishing”, which describes the “Dutch and French fur trade” (pg. 27), showing the connection between the Dutch immigration group and the traditionally French city of Montreal.


By this point, we’ve expanded our web of connections from the Litany, to Picture 9, to the city of Montreal. The last task at hand is to find a way to connect a verse to anything within this web, which is what will give us the path to connect that verse to Picture 9.


First, let’s gather more information from the book about the Dutch immigrants. On page 14, we learn that the Alven and Klabautermannikins were “to settle peaceably, at length, among rolling hills by a wide river richly lined with cliffs and trees''. Given that we have already identified the Dutch connection to Montreal, we might expect that this “wide river” is the St. Lawrence.


However, the next sentence tells us that assumption would be incorrect:

Clear, running creeks they found there, and wildcats in abundance, wherefore they named their new home “Kaaterskill” (Wildcat Creek)

Kaaterskill Creek (and the nearby Kaaterskill Wild Forest), part of the Catskills, is in upstate New York, just south of Albany, off the Hudson River. Hudson gives us another tie to the Dutch, since his travels in New York represented the Dutch East India Company. Another interesting point is that the longitude for Kaaterskill Creek/Forest is 73-74, due south of Montreal.


A forest. Due south of Montreal. That rings a bell, right? Let’s take a look at Verse 5.

Beneath the only standing member Of a forest To the south

Priess went out of his way to describe the Dutch settling near Kaaterskill and to tie the Dutch to Montreal. We can lay out the remaining logic like this:

  • We can tie Kaaterskill to Montreal with the direction south

  • Verse 5 references “a forest / to the south”

  • If we use the Kaaterskill as that southern forest, then we’ve used the settlement of the Dutch immigrants to tie Verse 5 to the city of Montreal

Connecting Verse 5 to Montreal and having already connected Montreal to Picture 9, then ties Verse 5 to Picture 9 (transitive relation)


Until next time!



p.s. if only we could find a standing member of said forest...



Thanks to Phil Abbott for critique of an initial draft and the above image. If you prefer video content, you can watch our discussion about these connections at The Secret, Spirits, And Other Shhh channel.

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