NABOKV-L post 0024461, Sat, 10 Aug 2013 15:37:22 +0300

Viedma in Ada
From Manhattan, via Mephisto, El Paso, Meksikansk and the Panama Chunnel, the dark-red New World Express reached Brazilia and Witch (or Viedma, founded by a Russian admiral). (2.2)

Ved'ma is Russian for "witch."

ved'ma = ved' + maman - man = medved' + ad/da - ded

ved' - is it not? is it?
medved' - bear (ursus)
ad - hell
da - yes
ded - grandfather

Ved’ (‘it is, isn’t it’) sidesplitting to imagine that ‘Russia,’ instead of being a quaint synonym of Estoty, the American province extending from the Arctic no longer vicious Circle to the United States proper, was on Terra the name of a country, transferred as if by some sleight of land across the ha-ha of a doubled ocean to the opposite hemisphere where it sprawled all over today’s Tartary, from Kurland to the Kurils! (1.3)

He [Van] invariably wrote in French calling her [Aqua] petite maman and describing the amusing school he would be living at after his thirteenth birthday. (ibid.)

Manhattan (the Antiterran counterpart of New York) is also known on Demonia (Earth's twin planet on which Ada is set, aka Antiterra) as Man.

Ved'ma is mentioned by Pushkin in his poem Besy (The Demons, 1830):

Сколько их! куда их гонят?
Что так жалобно поют?
Домового ли хоронят,
Ведьму ль замуж выдают?

What a lot of them! Where are they forced to go?
Why is their singing so sad?
Are they burying a goblin,
Or holding a witch's wedding?

See also Gogol's stories Christmas Eve and Viy. Ved'ma (The Witch, 1886) is a story by Chekhov, the author of Medved' ("The Bear, a Joke in One Act," 1888). Chekhov is also the author of a parody Letayushchie ostrova (Soch. Zhyulya Verna), "The Flying Islands, after Jules Verne" (1883).

Alexey Sklyarenko

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