A Lesson in Comparative Mythology, page 3/10 Picture

(Page Three.)

"The various manners in which a hand can progress into a hoof is a point of popular contention amongst contemporary metamorphologists. Some believe that the progression should model after analogous structures between humans and ungulates while others feel that it is a matter of aesthetics. Contrary to popular views, there is no “ideal” way for a human to lose fingers. A spell is pragmatic. Its goal is only to make the hands into hooves, and it is going to do this in anyway it can, ensuring that the human has no possibility of resistance or damaging the spell. A sophisticated sorceress will create an adaptive spell; it is both practical and...more entertaining. When it is time for the fingers to disappear, the spell’s course will be contingent upon the actions of the subject.

Aww, poor boy. Losing dexterity and your thumbs really can’t be too pleasant now, can it? Look at him, desperately scraping at his fusing digits as if he’ll be able to separate them again.

In the case of our victim, as the fingers swell and become clumsy, they secrete a glue-like substance. He touches his fingers together to explore the peculiar development only to discover that he cannot get them apart again. Then, he desperately attempts to pry them apart, and as you can see, this is where the “gooey-webbing-effect” comes from in some hoof transformations; much to his horror, elastic skin, growing over the gaps, has already bound his fingers together. And now, he’ll get his fingers back. The skin pulls taught. Even as he strains, his fingers drift together again, and this time, it is agonizingly worse as the bones slide between and meld together into the cannon bone.

This, of course, leaves a puzzling question: if the human had managed somehow to keep his fingers from ever touching together through extreme exertion of will against subconscious impulses induced by the spell, would he simply complete the metamorphosis and remain without hooves once the spell has run its course and its transformative energy has dissipated? This is why an adaptive spell is necessary. You wouldn’t want to be left with an animal resembling Arion, son of Demeter and Poseidon, if you’re going to take away its human mental faculties. The poor creature wouldn’t know what to do with them, and, without immortality, walking on hands with that much weight would be excruciating---plagued by constant fractures and, inevitably, lameness. Of course, as you learned in bioethics of magic, a caster should always try to avoid causing undue suffering to innocent animals.

An adaptive transformative spell ensures maximum sadistic enjoyment with minimum harm to the resulting animal (and/or object). Consider the question I posed again. An adaptive spell would “realize” that the human is resisting it and so would alter its tactics. At this point, the middle finger might begin to expand into the cannon bone, fetlock and pastern by itself and subsequently “consume” the rest of the digits in the process, and the human would be completely helpless to watch it. Or, perhaps, if the victim tried to attack the witch and clenched his fist to hit her, the hoof would grow over his fused hands and leave him in a state of terror too great to injure her. In any case, the spell is maximally beneficial. It achieves the result of maintaining the health of the resulting animal, ensures complete, unrelenting metamorphosis while inflicting torment upon the man (or woman) and giving the caster the pleasure of its ability to surprise oneself. A win win win win situation..."

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A Lesson in Comparative Mythology, page 3/10