[0500] The Book of Woo in English

[0500] The Book of Woo in English

Here are explanations for all the annotated phrases:

  • (1) She-who-talks-with-spirits
    A direct translation of the Aztec word “See-o-ahtlah-ma-kas-kay” (cioatlamacasque) for “raccoon” which was also used for the name of the raccoon goddess in Sandra and Woo.
  • (2) Hrair
    A word taken from the lapine language in Richard Adam’s epic novel Watership Down about a group of rabbits, meaning “A big, uncountable number”. Matthew and I invented the word “walu” for it in Toki Pona.
  • (3) orbit
    A paraphrase for “year”: one orbit around the sun.
  • (4) the spirits talked to HER that it’s time to search for a new homeland
    Seeoahtlahmakaskay’s forefathers urged her to find a new home for her species.
  • (5) brothers and sisters
    Coatis and kinkajous, the species closest related to the raccoons apart from the ring-tailed cat. They are depicted inside the sun at the bottom of the page.
  • (6) left the land of the endless summer
    Seeoahtlahmakaskay, resp. the raccoons, left the southern parts of Latin America, the natural habitat of the other members of the Procyonidae family. South America is symbolized by the sun.
  • (7) on her way north
    Seeoahtlahmakaskay, resp. the raccoons, migrated to North America about 2.5 million years ago. Seeoahtlahmakaskay’s way north is depicted in the illustration.
  • (8) haunters
    Predators or raccoons such as the depicted wolf and eagle.
  • (9) At day, SHE rested
    Raccoons are mostly nocturnal animals.
  • (10) glowing paws
    The paws of raccoons are extremely sensitive, and Seeoahtlahmakaskay’s are even glowing!
  • (11) oak
    Tree hollows of old oaks are one of the favorite denning sites of raccoons. The oak is depicted in the illustration as Seeoahtlahmakaskay’s destination.
  • (12) Evergreen Forest
    A reference to the TV cartoon show The Raccoons which took place in the Evergreen Forest.
  • (13) masked ones
    The self-designation of raccoons. Since the black mask is such an important feature of the species, the word for it was mapped to a single character in the encryption that consists of a fitting double “oo”.
  • (14) None of us is like the others
    Raccoons are known for their large differences in character and size.
  • (15) HER divinity now also flows through our paws and unveils the nature of the world
    The sense of touch is the most important sense to raccoons. Seeoahtlahmakaskay giving the raccoons this godly gift is the main subject of this page’s illustration. In addition, the right circle shows a paw print.
  • (16) All masked ones may search for a new home when they hear HER call
    Raccoons leave their mother’s home range after adolescence. Male raccoons typically move further away than females. Seeoahtlahmakaskay’s call is the subject of the bottom circle.
  • (17) All masked ones may overcome challenges with agility and craftiness
    The left circle shows the weapon used by the thief Sly Cooper from the Sly Cooper video game series to symbolize their craftiness and mischievousness.
  • (18) the first wise ones hadn’t met at Potbelly Hill ten thousand orbits ago
    “Wise ones” is the raccoons’ designation for humans. Potbelly Hill is the English name of Göbekli Tepe, a very important archaeological site of social or ritual nature dating back to the 10th–8th millennium BCE. It’s one of the first impressive symbols of human civilization. The illustrated crustacean is based on a stone relief found at Göbekli Tepe.
  • (19) the One
    God resp. the God of Life.
  • (20) the None
    The Devil resp. the God of Death.
  • (21) whom they only left the other side, and subdued the world
    It’s alleged here that the humans defeated God and the Devil who had lived on Earth until then. After their defeat, God and the Devil had to retreat to the afterlife, the other side, while the humans took over the material world.
  • (22) First, the wise ones came over us, and then we came over them
    Raccoons were heavily hunted for their fur by American settlers. But in the 20th century, raccoons have begun to “invade” human settlements, making Toronto the “raccoon capital of the world” in the process.
  • (23) fortresses of fear
    Fur farms. Shown on the left side of the illustration behind the raccoon.
  • (24) forests of stone and glass
    Cities. Shown on the right side of the illustration behind the raccoon.
  • (25) Some enslaved masked ones were brought to foreign worlds by the wise ones
    Raccoons were held in fur farms in several European and Asian countries.
  • (26) when the world was in flames
    The time of the two World Wars between 1914 and 1945.
  • (27) bird tyrant
    Two pairs of pet raccoons were released into the German countryside at the Edersee reservoir in the north of Hesse in April 1934 upon request of their owner, the poultry farmer Rolf Haag. He released them two weeks before receiving permission from the Prussian hunting office to “enrich the fauna” this way. Rolf Haag is symbolized by the anthropomorphic turkey that shows the two raccoons the way to freedom.
  • (28) death bird
    A second German population of raccoons was established in eastern Germany in 1945 when 25 raccoons escaped from a fur farm at Wolfshagen, east of Berlin, after an air strike. The bomber is symbolized by the giant fire bird that destroys the exit gate. In the background on the right side, one can see two raccoons that already escaped.
  • (29) As they began to conquer the new world
    The raccoon populations established by the released or escaped raccoons flourished in Germany and eventually even in the neighboring countries.
  • (30) we bored our way deeper and deeper into the forests of stone and glass
    Raccoons have now lived in urban habitats for many generations and become increasingly accommodated to the new environment.
  • (31) where our mothers and fathers still failed, our kits will succeed
    Raccoons are intelligent animals and capable of social learning to some extend.
  • (32) We’ve never been more, and we’ll never be fewer again
    The total number of raccoons on Earth has never been higher than in the 21st century. They are one of the most successful animal species and will soon be found all over the northern hemisphere.

Here are the steps that were carried out to arrive at the encrypted version seen at [500] The Book of Woo:

  1. I did not want to use a standard encryption method to encrypt the English text. When looking for alternative ways to obfuscate the original text, I stumbled upon the constructed language Toki Pona which has only 118 words. I found that limited vocabulary to be a good fit for a text written by a raccoon.
  2. I worked together with Matthew Martin, one of the leading Toki Pona experts, who translated the majority of the text into Toki Pona.
    1. The first sentence in English: “She-who-talks-with-spirits was the first one with a mask.”
    2. The first sentence in Toki Pona: “soweli meli li nimi e ni: soweli meli li toki poka kon sewi. wan la meli suli la ona li jo e oko pimeja.”
    3. Translated back into English: “She (the lady animal) named this: She talks with the spirits. Firstly, the great woman, she had black eyes.”
  3. To mask the low number of characters in Toki Pona, I used every “o” as a switch between use of small letters and use of capital letters:
    1. sOWELI MELI LI NIMI E NI: Soweli meli li tOKI Poka kON SEWI. WAN LA MELI SULI LA ona li jO E oko PIMEJA.
  4. To mask the low word length in Toki Pona, I connected short words with each other:
    1. sOWELI MELI#LI NIMI E#NI: Soweli meli-li tOKI Poka-kON SEWI. WAN#LA MELI SULI#LA ona-li-jO E @ PIMEJA.
  5. I then mapped each Latin character to the character set invented by me. Our fan Foogod later created the WooGlyph Sans font for it.

Here is the complete text in Toki Pona. (There is one spelling error where “toke” was used instead of “toki”):

soweli meli li nimi e ni: soweli meli li toki poka kon sewi. wan la meli suli la ona li jo e oko pimeja. tenpo nanpa walu sike pini la ona li open lon li kon sewi li kute e kon sewi. kon sewi li toke e ni: o alasa e ma mama sin. ona meli li pana e nimi “mi tawa” tawa jan sama ale sama li tawa tan ma pi suno pi pini ala. tenpo tawa tenpo, tawa ma lete la ona meli li lukin e ken pi moli en pakala. tawa pona en sona pona la sona ona la kon sewi ike li moli ala e ona meli. tenpo suno la ona lape. tenpo pimeja la noka suno li pana e nasin tawa ona lon tan ma pimeja, lon tawa ma suno. pini pi tawa suli la ona li kama tawa ma pini. ma pini li kasi suli lon ma pi kasi suli pi kule laso pi tenpo ale.

soweli meli li toki poka kon sewi li mama meli pi soweli ale pi sinpin pi oko pimeja. mi soweli li sama ala e soweli ante. nasin ni la mi soweli li sama: meli suli li pilin luka e soweli ale kepeken luka sewi pi ona pi meli suli. tan ni la wawa sewi li tawa lon luka pi mi mute li sitelen e nasin pi ma pi kasi suli. nasin sewi pi meli suli li lon lawa mi mute. soweli ali pi oko pimeja li wile tawa sama meli suli. soweli li kute e nimi pi ona sewi la soweli pi sinpin ale pi oko pimeja li alasa e ma sin. tawa pona en sona pona la soweli pi sinpin pi oko pimeja li anpa e pakala. soweli pi oko pimeja li kepeken mute e luka li kepeken lili e wawa ante.

tenpo sike pi nanpa walu la soweli ni li musi lon ma pi kasi suli pi laso pi tenpo ale. ala li ante. taso tenpo sike suno 10000 la jan sona wan li kama tawa sinpin en sinpin lon ma pi ma nena pi insa suli. jan li anpa e wan e ale. ale la li lon poka ante. jan sona li tawa ma mi. mi li tawa ma pi jan sona. jan mute li pilin ike tawa mi. jan mute li pilin olin tawa mi. jan lili li pilin e sona lon pi mi soweli. mi sowli mute li kama jo e pilin pakala e moli lon tomo suli monsuta. soweli mute ante li kama jo e pona kin lon ma pi kasi suli tan kiwen en kiwen pi kule ala pi jan sona ni.

jan sona mute li lon ma ante e soweli pi oko pimeja. taso tenpo seli pi ma ale la waso lawa ike en waso moli ike li open e tomo uta tawa pali ala tawa soweli pali pi nanpa lili. soweli li anpa e ma sin. mi soweli li tawa insa ma pi kasi suli tawa insa ma pi kiwen en kiwen pi kule ala. mi soweli li kama sona mute. mama mije en mama meli li anpa. taso tenpo kama la soweli lili li sewi! tenpo ni kin la nanpa pi soweli mi li suli! tenpo kama la nanpa li kama ala lili. luka wan li lon uta kiwen pi ilo moli. luka tu wan li lon ma pi musi en moli ala! tenpo pi soweli pi oko pimeja li sin!

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