Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Base Twelve

            “Well, that explains all the crazy acorn nonsense,” Andy mused in his antsy way.  “I always heard the Kings of Cahokia was wizards, and they don’t know how to count to eleven.”
“Thirteen, you mean,” Sarah told him.
“Do I?” Young Andy was confused.  “All I recollect is as they count in twelves, not in tens.”
“That don’t seem right,” Calvin said.  “A man’s got twelve fingers, in Nashville and in the Ohio both.”
“True,” Thalanes admitted.  “The question is, because man has ten fingers, should he look around him and force everything else into systems counted by ten?  Or should he look for order in the world around him, and number things as God has numbered them in the cosmos… for instance, by twelves?”
“It’s man as has dominion over the beasts,” Sarah grumbled.  “If horses could count, I reckon maybe they’d do it by fours.”
“Twelve houses of the zodiac,” the monk pointed out.  “Twelve points of the compass.  Twelve months of the year.”
“Months are made up,” Sarah said.  “They could jest as easily be ten, or thirty, or two, or no months at all.  Same for points of the compass.”
“Twelve cycles of the moon to each cycle of the sun, then.”
“Not exactly.”
“Anyway, that ain’t the way I heard the story,” Cal observed.

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