NABOKV-L post 0020612, Thu, 26 Aug 2010 19:17:50 -0700

PF's "little scissors" & Alex Sklyarenko note below.
Matt Roth: In Canto Two, Shade describes his "little scissors" (183) as a "synthesis of sun and star." I have never understood this image. I've looked at my own nail scissors in an attempt to see what Shade was seeing, alas to no avail. Help!

It seems that Matt's query of several years ago was never answered. Meanwhile, the answer is simple. Any Russian child knows the riddle: Dva kontsa, dva kol'tsa, poseredine gvozdik ("Two ends, two rings, a tack in the middle"). What that is? A pair of scissors. Shade seems to compare the scissors's gvozdik (the small nail, or "tack") to a star and one of the two handle rings to the sun (the other handle ring would be then a parhelion). At least, I am at loss to see how a pair of scissors could incorporate the sun and a star in any other way.*
Don Johnson comment: Aleksei's observation is astute but would seem to imply that Shade knows Russian, no?

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