You’re in “Oedipus Rex”? said Alex. Yes, said Blurtso, Harlan and I have background roles.
Curse this clumsy foot! cried Oedipus.
Are you a student? said the professor. Yes, said Blurtso. What’s your major? I don’t have one, said Blurtso. Maybe you should take my class on Greek drama, said the professor. We’re going to stage “Oedipus Rex” in October, the quintessential story of blindness and self-discovery. Blindness and self-discovery, said Blurtso, isn’t that an oxymoron? Have you ever done any acting? said the professor. Yes, said Blurtso, I did some barnyard Shakespeare last year, but I ad libbed most of the dialogue. Well, said the professor, this will be a formal production, with a paying public, but the students in my class will be given walk-on roles. Hmm, said Blurtso, “Oedipus Rex.” Are there any elephants and ducks in the play?
Doo dee doo dee doo, sang Blurtso, skipping across campus.
Ananta, katanta, paranta…
Pardon me, said the professor, what did you say? I don’t know, said Blurtso. You said “ananta katanta paranta,” where did you learn that? It’s just something I say, said Blurtso. It’s from the 23rd book of Homer’s Illiad, said the professor. Really? said Blurtso. Yes, said the professor, from the scene where the donkeys and mules are being driven into the hills to gather firewood. Loosely translated it means, “upalong, downalong, sidealong,” and is famous for the way the Greek syllables—ananta, katanta, paranta—simulate the clippety clop of the animals’ hooves. Wow, said Blurtso, my hooves speak Greek!