Saturday, December 6, 2014

Or how can someone enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house.

I just deleted a looooong "ramblier"-than-usual post. The length was mostly padding. I am attempting a kindness in cutting it down.

Here's the very short version: Freddy Foley is a pirate!

Here's the moderately short version:

While reflecting on the FB conversation with Kevin and Gregorio from last night, I started thinking about names this morning.

Freddy is a diminutive version of Alfred or Frederick.

The name Alfred is a Germanic name of Old English origin, composed of the elements ælf "elf" and ræd "counsel".

Frederick is a masculine given name meaning "peaceful ruler." It is the English form of the German name Friedrich. Its meaning is derived from the Germanic word elements frid, or peace, and ric, meaning "ruler" or "power."

Lafferty lays out what he's doing with the discussion of the Patricks/patricians. Right from the beginning, we have a guy named "Little Peaceful Ruler Elf Friend" Foley. Freddy is like a Patrick, except that he's a Freddy instead.

I knew the Fred meaning because I have a friend named Fred. That was easy enough.

I had to go looking for the Foley meaning. My experience with the word had to do with sound recording and catheters, neither of which seemed at all relevant.

I quickly found this gem of knowledge:

"The name is derived from the original modern Irish Ó Foghlú and older Irish Ó Foghladha, meaning "plunderer".... In Old English, the language of Anglo-Saxons, the name Foley has a loose meaning of "pirate" or "marauder"." 

So, Freddy Foley is the Little Peaceful Ruler Plunderer.

And all of that led me to the title of this post. I started thinking of Fourth Mansions as an extended riff on "The Parable of the Strong Man."

Based on the FB conversation and this names discovery, I suspect that the latter half of the novel will involve some peaceful plundering and a transfer of ruling authority.


  1. Remember also that Foley can mean "fool" and think on the Shakespeare's fools, usually the wisest person in the story, and the only one able to see clearly through the subterfuge. Remember the end of Ch 1, where Lafferty describes Freddy Foley as having good eyes that could see what most others could not.