Monday, January 10, 2005

Mystery Quotes

I won the last round in Mystery Quotes over the weekend at Readerville by guessing A.S. Byatt and so far everyone's been stumped by the two passages I've posted:

"So they went up to the yellow pottery pipe, and stared down it. And there they saw a most amazing sight. Hundreds and hundred of frogs were sitting down that pipe, and they were all honking, all of them, not in unison but constantly, their little throats going, their mouths open, their eyes staring up with curiosity at Karel and Frances and their large human shadows. Honk honk, koax, koax, they cried. They were all different shapes and sizes--the same species, probably, all a yellowy gray in color, but madly, but crazily varied in size, as though some law of nature had gone wrong. Huge big ones, tiny little ones, fat ones, skinny ones, they all sat and honked. Down the pipe they sat, as happy as can be, croaking for joy. Karel and Frances stared, awestruck, amused: the sight was repulsive and at the same time profoundly comic, they loved the little frogs and the big ones. Oh, I love them, said Frances. They looked as though they had been bred from the clay, as in some medieval natural history. A natural product of the landscape, they were. And every time she thought of them, in later years, she felt such pleasure and amusement deep within her, a deep source of it, much deeper than that pipe."


"On the way back to the car, Flora dashed at a sheep that was lying in the path, but unlike all the others it did not get up and move: it stared at us instead with a sick and stricken indignation. Flora passed quickly on, pretending for pride's sake that she had not noticed its recalcitrance; but as I passed, walking slowly, supported by David, I looked more closely and I saw curled up and clutching at the sheep's belly a real snake. I did not say anything to David: I did not want to admit that I had seen it, but I did see it, I can see it still. It is the only wild snake that I have ever seen. In my book on Herefordshire it says that that part of the country is notorious for its snakes. But 'Oh well, so what', is all that one can say, the Garden of Eden was crawling with them too, and David and I managed to lie amongst them for one whole pleasant afternoon. One just has to keep on and to pretend, for the sake of the children, not to notice. Otherwise one might just as well stay at home. "

Anyone recognize the author?

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