A commentary on Morgensterns Ant-ologyAccording to the great author Christian Morgenstern, the modern elephant (Elefant in German) is just the youngest member in a long line of numbered "-ants". The first one in this line was the "Gig-ant" (from Greek Γίγαντες, gigantes, compare English "giant"), with "gig" being a number that's so high that it doesn't exist anymore.Over the eons, the descendants of this humongous beast grew smaller and smaller, giving rise to Oliphants and Hierophants, and eventually reaching numbers known to man. Even then they didn't stop producing smaller and smaller children, until we got the Zwölef-ant (Twelve-ant in English), and even this elusive beast had to give way to a smaller creature, and so our elephant was born, with it's name derived from the number eleven (elf in German).But the shrinking of the beasts is inevitable, and currently the smallest known one is the Ottifant (from Latin "octo" which means "eight"). These diminutive creatures are only a small shadow of even the Zwölef-ant's glory. Over time they will become smaller and smaller, until there will be nothing more than an Eins-ant (German for "one-ant" or one ant), which may very well be as small and insignificant as it's name tells us. Morgenstern even predicts the Nulel-ant (from German null, zero), the end of the glorious line of -ants.,All this time, the -ants seemed to have a line of cousins, reaching all the way back to the great Behemoth (Hebrew: בהמות), of which the bible tells us that it was the first of the works of god. Scholars are still debating what obscure line of numbers gave them their names, but their most well-known represantatives are the mammoths of old Siberia. According to the Khanty people, who knew the mammoths long before Europeans did, those wondrous creatures live underground and will die if they ever come to the surface.However, newer studies found out that this is only true for a smaller, domesticated kind of -moth which the chinese call yǐn shǔ (隐鼠). These have been bred by dwarven herders for smaller and smaller size, unwittingly speeding up the shrinking of the whole line, in order to use them as beasts of burden in their underground cities. In order to understand their weakness, one has to understand one important thing about dwarves. Every time a dwarf leaves his underground home and get's into contact with the surface world, he is immediately turned to stone, as if the sun was the eye of a giant gorgon that only targets dwarves and trolls. ,Due to the strong bond with their dwarven masters, the yǐn shǔ inherited some of their magic, and so they too became a victim of the sunlight. But because the mammoth's element was ice, compared to the rocky element of the dwarves, they get frozen to ice every time they leave their tunnels. Some scholars think that this makes it possible to bring the creatures back to life, but none of the attempts have proven successful so far. The icy element runs deep in the -ant's and -moth's families, as even Bartholomaeus Anglicus knew that an elephants blood is so cold that the fiery dragon desires nothing more than it's sweet cooling.It has to be made clear that this creature is not the same as the fabled "dwarf elephant", which seems to be a Tenant of some islands in the mediterranian and is probably closer related to the giant cyclops than to actual dwarves. Morgenstern knew this beast under the name "Zehen-ant" (from German "zehn", which means "ten").I also bears mentioning that according to some studies, the close connection between the yǐn shǔ and the dwarves mirrors the connection between elephants and elves (Elfen in German). This can be seen in the German word for ivory, which is Elfenbein (bone of the elves).It has been proposed that the last known member of the -moth-line would be a creature called "ammoth", which is described as having a long snout similar to a crocodile. While this seems far-fetched, it really reminds us of the beast that wise men call Platybelodon. In truth, the name ammoth seems to be a corruption of the Egyptian ꜥm-mwt, which is more well known today as "ammit" and seems to be another creature altogether, not related to the -ants and -moths of old.After that, the trail of the -moths gets lost as did their antedeluvian home in sunken Doggerland, and we can only hope that we didn't already end with One-Moth which flew into the fire of extinction and was never seen again. But there is still hope, as some suggest that the mammoth (or man-moth) really just turned around and became a much more human-like creature in order to hide in plain sight.
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