River. Unnamed stream that is the thread on which most of the events in The Song of the World are strung, portrayed as an animate being. It is up the river that Danis sets out to cut fir trees that he plans to fashion into a raft that will carry him back downstream. Asked by Danis’s father, Sailor, to help search for the youth when he does not reappear, Antonio knows the river intimately and is able to “read” its character at any given time. He lives on the isle of jays in the middle of the river and can sense when its channels and fords have shifted. Swimming in the river’s icy currents, he knows that it has rained in the mountains and that he and Sailor must pass through the river’s gorges before they become impassable.
*Nibles Forest (nee-blah). Woodland in which the woodcutter Sailor lives with his family. Like the river, the forest is portrayed as a living entity composed of innumerable sensate plants and animals. Its trees breathe, and Sailor recognizes the individual smells of pine and willow, allowing him to lead Antonio through the darkened forest at night. Both Antonio and Sailor are aware of the comings and goings of wolves and foxes, and can identify the sounds of shepherds’ horns and church bells ringing in belfries high up in the mountains. Sailor’s camp in the forest consists of a simple cottage, a low hut, and a long shed.
(The entire section is 494 words.)