Friday 15 January 2010


Just as a duckling is a little duck and a gosling is a little goose, so a godling is a little god.

I am fond of the idea of a godling and should like to meet one. Being of a monotheist bent I tend to assume, like St Anselm, that God is that greater than which nothing can be conceived. Godlings seem to thrive in Northern India, where I suppose the weather suits them or somesuch. They often take the form of undressed stones, with little pebbles as their children.

As a pointless extra: by the same principle that a godling is a small god, a little fellow who stands to one side used to be a sideling. But the word's origins were cast Lethewards and people started to suspect that sideling must be a participle of an enigmatic verb. Thus was invented the word sidle.

P.S. In his gripping bestseller The Panjab, North-West Frontier Province, and Kashmir (1916), Sir James McCrone Douie says that in Hinduism there is room "for the villager of the eastern districts, who often has the name of Parameshvar or the Supreme Lord on his lips, but who really worships the godlings, Gúgá Pír, Sarwar or Sultán Pír, Sítla (the small-pox goddess), and others, whose little shrines we see round the village site; and for the childish idolaters of Kulu, who carry their local deities about to visit each other at fairs, and would see nothing absurd in locking them all up in a dungeon if rain held off too long."


  1. The Antipodean1 June 2010 at 05:43

    I love the idea of the godlings visiting each other, or being sent to detention if the rain holds off!

    I have been proof-reading a friend's essay on the theology of leadership, during which I got rather side-tracked and ened up in Wisdom, an enjoyably scathing section on the folly of worshipping idols:

    "He makes a fitting shrine for it and puts it on the wall, fastening it with a nail. Thus lest it fall down he provides for it, knowing that it cannot help itself; for, truly, it is an image and needs help.
    But when he prays about his goods or marriage or children, he is not ashamed to address the thing without a soul.
    And for vigor he invokes the powerless; and for life he entreats the dead; And for aid he beseeches the wholly incompetent, and about travel, something that cannot even walk.
    And for profit in business and success with his hands he asks facility of a thing with hands completely inert.
    Again, one preparing for a voyage and about to traverse the wild waves cries out to wood more unsound than the boat that bears him." (Wis 13:15 - 14:1, NAB)

    The translator/s obviously had no problem beginning sentences with 'and.'

  2. In Mark's Gospel "and" doesn't simply begin sentences. It's an introductory formula for a whole new section.