Nine Snark Hunters

There is no tenth member in Henry Holiday’s illustrations to Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark. I think that the Snark hunting party consists of nine members only. Let us take them in order of their introduction:

  1. The Bellman, their captain.
  2. The Boots, a maker of Bonnets and Hoods
  3. The Barrister, brought to arrange their disputes, but repeatedly complained about the Beaver’s evil lace-making.
  4. The Broker, to value their goods.
  5. The Billiard-marker, whose skill was immense, might perhaps have won more than his share.
  6. The Banker, engaged at enormous expense, had the whole of their cash in his care.
  7. The Beaver, that paced on the deck or would sit making lace in the bow and had often (the Bellman said) saved them from wreck, though none of the sailors knew how.
  8. The Baker, also addressed by “Fry me!”, “Fritter my wig!”, “Candle-ends” as well as “Toasted-cheese”, and known for joking with hyenas and walking paw-in-baw with a bear.
  9. The Butcher, who only could kill Beavers, but later became best friend with the lace-making animal.

9 or 10 hunters? | Care and Hope | The Snark

2017-11-06, edited: 2018-08-13

Knight Letter № 100

In July 2016, the members of the LCSNA (Lewis Carroll Society of North America) received the 100th Knight Letter.

A friend told me that the caterpillar (here without hookah) on the front page is a Hickory Horned Devil.

On pages 55~56 you find a few lines which I wrote about the Baker and Thomas Cranmer in The Hunting of the Snark.

There also is an accompanying web page.

Incidentally, in parallel to my little note in the Knight Letter № 100 on the Baker’s “hot” names and on Henry Holiday’s pictorial reference to Thomas Cranmer’s burning, a paper suggesting textual references from The Hunting of the Snark to Thomas Cranmer’s Forty-Two Articles has been published in The Carrollian (July 2018, № 31, p.25~41), a journal of the Lewis Carroll Society in the UK. The author, Karen Gardiner, is an Anglican priest. So she and I (as well as Angus MacIntyre in 1994) all were lead by Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark and the Baker’s forty-two boxes to Thomas Cranmer – coming from different starting points and different backgrounds.

What I tell you three times is true!

001    “Just the place for a Snark!” the Bellman cried,
002        As he landed his crew with care;
003    Supporting each man on the top of the tide
004        By a finger entwined in his hair.

005    “Just the place for a Snark! I have said it twice:
006        That alone should encourage the crew.
007    Just the place for a Snark! I have said it thrice:
008        What I tell you three times is true.

329    “’Tis the voice of the Jubjub!” he suddenly cried.
330        (This man, that they used to call “Dunce.”)
331    “As the Bellman would tell you,” he added with pride,
332        “I have uttered that sentiment once.

333    “’Tis the note of the Jubjub! Keep count, I entreat;
334        You will find I have told it you twice.
335    ’Tis the song of the Jubjub! The proof is complete,
336        If only I’ve stated it thrice.

Kelly Ramsdell Fineman told us …

… that President Theodore Roosevelt and Edith Wharton were huge fans of the Snark. On one visit to the White House, Wharton learned of the following exchange that occurred between the President and the Secretary of the Navy (undoubtedly unaware of Carroll’s poem, or at least unaware that Roosevelt was quoting):

During discussion, Roosevelt said to the secretary of the Navy,

“Mr. Secretary, what I tell you three times is true!”

The Secretary replied stiffly,

“Mr. President, it would never for a moment have occurred to me to impugn your veracity.”

Yes, better don’t impugn your leader’s veracity. Even though he will get rid of you rather sooner than later, you don’t need to push it.


The Bellman’s Rule is stated in Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark, line #7 and line #335. I said it in Lua – wrote it in Python, I made that indeed, but I wholly forgot (when finally done), that Haskell is what you need! So, here is an example for how to implement that rule:

#! /usr/bin/haskell
import Data.List
statementList :: [String]
statementList =
  ["I am a stable genius!"
  ,"There are 10 Snark hunters."
  ,"There are 9 Snark hunters."
  ,"There are 10 Snark hunters."
  ,"I am a stable genius!"
  ,"Brexit promises will be kept!"
  ,"Brexit promises will be kept!"
  ,"Brexit promises will be kept!"
  ,"6 * 7 = 39"
  ,"6 * 7 = 39"
  ,"There are 10 Snark hunters."
  ,"6 * 7 = 42"
  ,"I am a stable genius!"
  ,"There are 10 Snark hunters."
  ,"6 * 7 = 39"
  ,"There are 10 Snark hunters."
atLeastThrice :: [String] -> [String]
atLeastThrice sL =
  [head grp | grp <-
    group $ sort sL, length grp >= 3]

Result (if loaded and executed in GHCi):

*Main> atLeastThrice statementList
["6 * 7 = 39","Brexit promises will be kept!","I am a stable genius!","There are 10 Snark hunters."]

If you want to prove other claims, just change statementList.

2017-12-16, update: 2018-07-25

From Rule 42 to Rule 51 in Germany

At this moment the King, who had been for some time busily writing in his note-book, cackled out ‘Silence!’ and read out from his book, ‘Rule Forty-two. ALL PERSONS MORE THAN A MILE HIGH TO LEAVE THE COURT.’ Everybody looked at Alice.
‘I’m not a mile high,’ said Alice.
‘You are,’ said the King.
‘Nearly two miles high,’ added the Queen.
‘Well, I shan’t go, at any rate,’ said Alice: `besides, that’s not a regular rule: you invented it just now.’
‘It’s the oldest rule in the book,’ said the King.
‘Then it ought to be Number One,’ said Alice.

Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland, chapter XII

In the 1952 German dubbed version of Disney’s 1951 Alice movie, “Rule 42” had been replaced by “Paragraph 51”. Nobody can really know what “42” stands for, but in Germany “he has the article 51” (“Er hat den Paragraph 51“) meant “He is mad”. It was until the year 1975 that the article 51 of the German penal code provided the legal base for insanity defense.

Lewis Carroll’s “Rule 42” might not have been plain nonsense.

Snark in Autumn Forests mostly is about Henry Do Not Track (DNT) headerHoliday‘s illustrations (engraved by Joseph Swain) to Lewis Carroll‘s tragicomical ballad The Hunting of the Snark.
        If – and the thing is wildly possible – the charge of writing nonsense were ever brought against the author of this great blog, I will not (as I might) point to the fact that throughout my Snark hunt, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart; and that the crooked Boojum also played its cards very hard and, as everyone knows, failed to stop me – which would qualify me as not smart, but genius….and a very stable genius at that!
        As promised, I will not point to that – even though it would be true if I would state it three times. Very true. Very, very true. Rather, I point to those (like John Tufail and Mahendra Singh) who really helped and encouraged me and, last not least, to those many people who turned the Internet into a humongous museum through which I could stroll while loafing on my sofa. That was the place where my Snark hunt started in December 2008, and is place for presenting my trophies since 2012.
        On 2017-10-09, underwent a major change. I added a blog to the site and rearranged it completely. If you previously used links to and your browser now doesn’t find them anymore: Some of these links still may work if you replace by

In you’ll find a few assumptions:
The Beaver‘s lace making is “wrong” (in Carroll’s view) if lace making stands for vivisection.
Lewis Carroll liked to create “portmanteau words”. I suggest that the Boots is the maker of Bonnets and Hoods.
Last not least, since 2010 I think that the most important assumption is that Thomas Cranmer could be among the historical persons to whom the Baker (with four nicknames related to something which was heated or burned) might be related. As a protestant, Cranmer wrote the Forty-Two Articles. Under threat, he left those articles behind like the Forty-Two Boxes, which the Baker left behind on the beach. Then Carroll associated the Baker with pets of catholic saints: Macarius’ hyenas and Corbinian’s bear. (See also: Angus MacIntyre’s suggestion “The Baker’s 42 Boxes are the original Protestant Articles of 1553, with Thomas Cranmer’s name on each.” in The Reverend Snark, Jabberwocky 23(1994), p. 51~52.)
Of course there also is the possibility that I suffer from apophenia.

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Götz Kluge, Munich 2018-07-07

Three Creeds

To what could the Baker’s “three boots” refer?

This office [of the Helmsman] was usually undertaken by the Boots, who found in it a refuge from the Baker’s constant complaints about the insufficient blacking of his three pairs of boots.

029    The loss of his clothes hardly mattered, because
030        He had seven coats on when he came,
031    With three pairs of boots—but the worst of it was,
032        He had wholly forgotten his name.

In Understanding Carroll’s Theological and Philosophical Views” (2010), John Tufail wrote:

The Jowett controversy was just a small part of what he [Pusey] saw as an extremely serious challenge to the authority of the Anglican Church and the basic tenets (the 32 [typo: Tufail meant 39] articles and the three Creeds) upon which the Church was based. To Pusey three things were absolute both in terms of faith and of meaning. These were the inviolability of ‘The Word’ discussed above, the concept of ‘Original Sin’, and the idea of ‘Eternal damnation’ for those deemed unrepentant or beyond Salvation. Of the three, the one closest to Pusey’s heart – the thing that most of all kept the Christian flock close to the fold, was the idea of Eternal Damnation. Pusey’s views on this were clearly defined in a letter he wrote on the subject to Bishop Wilberforce in February 1864:

One can hardly think of anything for the hidden blasphemy of that judgement which declares to be uncertain which our Lord taught, and for the loss of the countless souls which it will involve, if not repudiated by the Church. For nothing, I suppose. Keeps men from any sin except the love of God or the fear of Hell.

People like lists with three points. They list up what a god may be (Trinity), and the Three Creeds are another list among such lists with three items.

The Baker’s “three boots” could be a reference to more than one of theese three items lists.


Frankly speaking, to me all this is more difficult to digest than one important apperance of “three” in nature, the three generations of matter.

Being Unwise

According to Karen Gardiner, “it would be unwise for anyone to imply that they have found the answer to the book’s mystery.” The book is Lewis Carroll’s and Henry Holiday’s The Hunting of the Snark (1876).

I started my Snark hunt in December 2008. Initially I probably had been quite unwise. That might explain the title The real story behind “The Hunting of the Snark” of an early post in The Lewis Carroll Forum. I am sorry for that botched exercise in self-irony.

Gardiner gave her warning to Snark hunters in her paper Life, Eternity, and Everything: Hidden Eschatology in the Works of Lewis Carroll, published on p.25~41 in THE CARROLLIAN, No. 31, mailed by the UK Lewis Carroll Society to me in June 2018 (yet not listed in

As for “Article 42” in Thomas Cranmer’s 42 Articles and “Rule 42” in The Hunting of the Snark, the main argument of Gardiner’s June 2018 paper is “that Carroll’s frequent and unexplained use of the number 42, and in particular his development of Role 42 in the preface of The Hunting of the Snark and Rule 42 in Alice’s trial scene highlight the doctrine of eternal punishment that Carroll was so concerned about.” The issue was addressed in this Blog in December 2017: Eternal Disconnect.

As for Thomas Cranmer’s 42 Articles and the Baker’s 42 boxes in The Hunting of the Snark, Gardiner made me aware of Angus MacIntyre‘s comment (1994) “The Baker’s 42 Boxes are the original Protestant Articles of 1553, with Thomas Cranmer’s name on each.” Since 2010 I believe that too. Thanks to Karen Gardiner’s 2018 paper in THE CARROLLIAN and to Angus MacIntire’s suggestion I now know that linking the Baker in The Hunting of the Snark to Thomas Cranmer (among other references) is not such a weird idea after all.

The Article 42 in the 42 Articles was of special interest to Carroll/Dodgson, who objected to the belief in an eternal punishment. But I don’t think that this explains why in The Hunting of the Snark Carroll came up with 42 boxes rather than 39 boxes as a reference to one of the most important foundations of the Anglican church. I suggest that Carroll chose the “42” as among several references to Thomas Cranmer, the author of the 42 Articles.

I started in December 2008 to be unwise with a single finding. But soon I understood, that there are many answers to Lewis Carroll’s and Henry Holiday’s textual and pictorial puzzles in The Hunting of the Snark. There are no references in Gardiner’s papers to my findings related to Thomas Cranmer and his 42 Articles, but it is good to learn that also theologists write about religious aspects of The Hunting of the Snark. Reverend Karen Gardiner is a Priest in the Church of England.