("Why the Dog Wont Show Its Eyes"; the 1 Big 1)
Dogs are one of the only wild animals left, and are now very far from domesticated. Lorna tells Riddley a story about the secret knowledge of dogs and humanity's loss of innocence.
An exclamation meaning that someone has met with a bad fate ("uh-oh"). Hoban explains it as "onomatopoeia suggestive of gobbling-up" [EE], but he is also surely familiar with Baba Yaga, the ravenous old witch of Russian fairy tales. It also recalls argy-bargy, a Britishism meaning an argument or brawl. [EB]
And: a warg is of course a wolf (Germanicsee Tolkien). Arga, in a northern Germanic language, makes insulting reference to a man supposed to be effeminate and a catamite. [SLK]
"Thats what happens with peopl on the way down from what they ben. The storys go"
Lorna is lamenting the breakdown of the oral tradition. As the book continues, there are signs that storytelling is not exactly going away, but is changing its naturesee notes on the last story, "Stoan".
"Why the Dog Wont Show Its Eyes"
"they wernt moving on the lan no mor they startit in to form it"
Here is an explicit parallel between Riddley's time and our own distant past: the transition from a hunter-gatherer society to an agricultural one. Riddley himself lives in a fents, a temporary settlement of hunters which cooperates with the nearby form, but we will see signs that the farmers are gaining the upper hand, with encouragement from the powers that be. So it isn't surprising that Riddley regards farming as a corrupting influence. But the story makes a more specific point: technology and a technocratic mode of thought are part of a desire for security which can become desperate.
"the Nos. of the rain bow and the Power of the air"
Riddley always capitalizes these words, as well as other myth-terms like Master Chaynjis. No. (number) is not only capitalized but abbreviated nearly every time, and Riddley always writes numbers as digits, never as words. This implies that all numbers are in a special category, closely related to Power.
"They bilt the Power Ring thats where you see the Ring Ditch now. They put in the 1 Big 1"
This is one of two conflicting explanations for the legendary disaster. Here, the 1 Big 1 was meant to generate light, but got out of hand (the Power Ring suggesting a particle accelerator, also a nod to Wagner and Tolkien); elsewhere, it seems to be clearly the nuclear bomb. The common theme is the danger of power. As Lorna says (20:14), "You hear diffrent things in all them way back storys but it dont make no diffrents."
There are circular formations all over England known as "ring ditches"; in most cases, no one knows what kind of ancient structures they were once part of.