While I was careful to preface Ethiopia through writers’ eyes with the following caveat:
“Like all those possessing a library, Aurelian was aware that he was guilty of not knowing his in its entirety.”
The Theologians, Jorge Luis Borges
It rests that as soon as a book is launched into the world, be it from the flat topped amba of Mount Abora, a multitude of overlooked works immediately begin to form a perilously high tower of their own.
Here then, after the canon of Ethiopia through writers’ eyes, the Apocrypha:
Zig et Puce
Zig et Puce is a comic strip created in the 1920’s by Alain Saint-Ogan, a few years before Tintin strolls onto the world scene. The two adventurous children have a pet Great Auk, foreshadowing the central animal characters such as Snowy the dog would take in numerous comics. The children and their Auk travel – to the Circus, to Venus, to the 21rst century… and even make it to Ethiopia.
Seen alongside such fanciful titles and destinations as Venus, we can see how Ethiopia continues to be an enduring attraction to writers and fabulists as a location so distant, so exotic, that it becomes an irresistible canvas and source for them to draw on – even in 1952, when the album comes out.
But Zig et Puce en Ethiopie also bears testimonial of Ethiopia’s importance in world politics. The country’s membership of the League of Nations, and its subsequent occupation by Italians troops and liberation by Great-Britain, as well as the Emperor Haile Selassie’s prominence on the world stage, will all have made such an exotic location familiar to many readers the world over, and even to children.