Thai election commission to rule on princess running for PM

Thailand’s election commission will consider on Monday the surprise nomination of a Thai princess as a prime ministeria

l candidate for March elections after her brother, King Maha Vajiralongkorn, called it “inappropriate” and unconstitutional.

The commission will also consider a complaint seeking to ban the populist party that stunn

ed the nation by nominating Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Barnavadi, 67, for the role.

The election on Mar 24 is the first since a military coup in 2014.

Thailand has been a constitutional monarchy since 1932, but the royal family wields great influence and commands the devotion of millions.

Ubolratana’s nomination last week was a shocking move by the Thai Raksa Chart party, made up of supporters of ousted ex-pr

emier Thaksin Shinawatra, and broke with a longstanding tradition of members of the royal family staying above politics.

She gave up her royal titles after marrying an American and she has starred in soap operas and an action movie.

But in a statement read out on all television stations within hours of her can

didacy, King Vajiralongkorn said it was “inappropriate” for members of the royal family to enter politics.

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Iron Emmett’s lads were well at it in the yard, blunted

Iron Emmett’s lads were well at it in the yard, blunted swords slamming into shields and ringing against one another.

Jon stopped to watch a moment as Horse pressed Hop-Robin back toward the well. Horse had the makings of a

good fighter, he decided. He was strong and getting stronger, and his instincts were sound. Hop-Robin was another tale. His clubfoot was bad enough, but he was

afraid of getting hit as well. Perhaps we can make a steward of him. The fight ended abruptly, with Hop-Robin on the ground.

“Well fought,” Jon said to Horse, “but you drop your shield too low when pressing an attack. You will want to correct that, or it is like to get you killed.”

“Yes, m’lord. I’ll keep it higher next time.” Horse pulled Hop-Robin to his feet, and the smaller boy made a clumsy bow.

A few of Stannis’s knights were sparring on the far side of the yard. King’s men in one corner and queen’s men in another,

Jon did not fail to note, but only a few. It’s too cold for most of them. As he strode past them, a booming voice called after him. “BOY! YOU THERE! BOY!”

Just beyond the ticket booth Father had had painted on awall in bright red letters the question:

DO YOU KNOW WHICH IS THE MOSTDANGEROUS ANIMAL IN THE ZOO?
An arrow pointed to a small curtain. There were so manyeager, curious hands

that pulled at the curtain that we had toreplace it regularly. Behind it was a mirror.

But I learned at my expense that Father believed there wasanother animal even more dangerous than us, and one thatwas extremely common, too,

found on every continent, in everyhabitat: the redoubtable species Animalus anthropomorphicus,the animal as seen through human eyes. We’ve all met

one,perhaps even owned one. It is an animal that is “cute”,”friendly”, “loving”, “devoted”, “merry”, “under-standing”.

 

Theseanimals lie in

ambush in every

toy store and

children’s zoo.

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Not Sly. Haggon would have called it abomination,

Not Sly. Haggon would have called it abomination, but Varamyr had often slipped inside her skin as she was being mounted by One Eye. He did not want to spend his

new life as a bitch, though, not unless he

had no other choice. Stalker might suit him better, the younger male … though One Eye was larger and fiercer, and it was One Eye who took Sly whenever she went into heat.

“They say you forget,” Haggon had told him, a few weeks before his own death. “When the man’s flesh dies, his spirit lives on inside the beast, but every day his

memory fades, and the beast becomes a little less a warg, a little more a wolf, until nothing of the man is left and only the beast remains.”

“Wonder what happened to her face,” was57 her mental question, but the answer was doubtless any one of a dozen possibilities and she didn’t waste time in surmises.

Mrs. Pollzoff took up the speaking tube and Roberta attached the end so she could hear what was to be said.

“You have an exceptionally fine plane,” Mrs. Pollzoff remarked.

“I think so,” Roberta answered with a smile.

“Care to sell it?” The girl was so astonished that she gasped.

“No, indeed, I do not,” she answered emphatically.

Not Sly. Haggon would have called it abomination, but Varamyr had often slipped inside her skin as she was being mounted by One Eye. He did not want to spend his

new life as a bitch, though, not unless he had no other choice. Stalker might suit him better, the younger male … though One Eye was larger and fiercer, and it was One Eye who took Sly whenever she went into heat.

“They say you forget,” Haggon had told him, a few weeks before his own death. “When the man’s flesh dies, his spirit lives on inside the beast, but every day his memory fades, and the beast becomes a little less a warg, a little more a wolf, until

nothing of the

man is left

and only the

beast remains.”

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Far away, a wolf gave howl.A shiver went through

Far away, a wolf gave howl.

A shiver went through Varamyr. He knew that howl as well as Lump had once known his mother’s voice. One Eye. He was the oldest of his three, the biggest, the

fiercest. Stalker was leaner, quicker, younger, Sly more cunning, but both went in fear of One Eye. The old wolf was fearless, relentless, savage.

Varamyr had lost control of his other beasts in the agony of the eagle’s death. His shadowcat had raced into the woods, whilst his snow bear turned her claws on those

around her, ripping apart four men before falling to a spear. She would have slain Varamyr had he come within her reach. The bear hated him, had raged each time he wore her skin or climbed upon her back.

His wolves, though …

“That’s what we want,” Mrs. Langwell told him, then turned to her daughter. “That is our telephone, dear.”

“I’ll go and answer it,” Roberta replied, and ran to the house as fast as she could. The bell was still ringing so she knew that the party had not been discouraged over the

delay and given up getting in touch with the family. “Hello,” she spoke into the phone.

“I wish to speak with Miss Langwell,” came the reply, and although the voice sounded familiar, Roberta could not recognize it immediately.

“That’s what we want,” Mrs. Langwell told him, then turned to her daughter. “That is our telephone, dear.”

“I’ll go and answer it,” Roberta replied, and ran to the house as fast as she could. The bell was still ringing so she knew that the party had not been discouraged over the

delay and given up getting in touch with the family. “Hello,” she spoke into the phone.

“I wish to speak with Miss Langwell,” came the reply, and although the voice sounded familiar,

 

Roberta

could not

recognize it

immediately.

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Her chin was pointed and her nose flat, and she

Her chin was pointed and her nose flat, and she had a mole on one cheek with four dark hairs growing from it. An ugly face, and hard, yet he would have given much to

glimpse it in the door of the hut. I should have taken her before she left. How long had she been gone? Two days? Three? Varamyr was uncertain. It was dark inside the

hut, and he had been drifting in and out of sleep, never quite sure if it was day or night outside. “Wait,” she’d said. “I will be back with food.” So like a fool he’d waited,

dreaming of Haggon and Bump and all the wrongs he had done in his long life, but days and nights had passed and Thistle had not returned. She won’t be coming back.

Varamyr wondered if he had given himself away. Could she tell what he was thinking just from looking at him, or had he muttered in his fever dream?

“Say it with flowers,” the lad chuckled. “Come along. As long as I live I may never get another chance to have a sheriff in the saddle behind me. How I wish a cop would try to stop me on this trip.”

The pair went off amid the reports of the motorcycle, and then the neighbors, assured that the Langwells were unhurt and in no further danger, departed. Before

she went to bed Roberta took another look at the old barn-hangar where Nike and the Falcon were still resting securely. With a sigh of relief she glanced toward the

sky, which was mighty dark, but she caught the faint outline

“Good morning, dear, I thought I heard you moving about.”

“Morning, Mummy. What are they doing out there?”

of the moon

shining

through as if s

he had49

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Varamyr might have been amongst them if only

Varamyr might have been amongst them if only he’d been stronger. The sea was grey and cold and far away, though, and he knew that he would never live to see it. He

 

 

was nine times dead and dying, and this would be his true death. A squirrel-skin cloak, he remembered, he knifed me for a squirrel-skin cloak.

“Don’t go out,” Mrs. Langwell urged as her husband began to don his trousers hastily under his robe.

“It’s quite safe,” he assured her. Before he was ready there came a pounding at the door—alarmed voices shouted, “You people all right, Langwell?”

“That’s Mr. Howard. He’s the sheriff of the county and must have been in the neighborhood.”

“I’ll be right down,” Mrs. Langwell called. Presently the officer of the law was standing in the hall, while she explained what had happened.

“Glad nobody’s hurt, least-wise, none of you folks. I’ll go out and have a look44 around.” There was a business-like gun in his hand and his chin was set firmly.

“I’m coming with you,” Mr. Langwell called from the top of the stairs as he hurried to join the sheriff.

“I’m coming too, Dad.”

“Stay with your mother, please,” he answered, so Roberta obeyed.

“There isn’t a thing you can do out there, Honey,” Mrs. Langwell assured her. “And you might get in the way.”

So the girl had to be content to remain inside, while sounds of people running, sharp questions, brief answers, and the noise of automobiles stopping while the occupants

demanded to know what was the difficulty came to them from outside. Half an hour later Mr. Langwell came back with the sheriff and their nearest neighbor, and

although they were greatly excited, they had discovered nothing more than some footprints of the robbers, and the place where a large car had been parked by the

side of the road, obviously waiting to assist

the thieve

in their

from the scene

of their mischief.

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Then the pack was on them.His one-eyed brother

Then the pack was on them.

His one-eyed brother knocked the tooth-thrower back into a snowdrift and tore his throat out as he struggled. His sister

slipped behind the other male and took him from the rear. That left the female and her pup for him.

She had a tooth too, a little one made of bone, but she dropped it when the warg’s jaws closed around her leg. As she fell,

she wrapped both arms around her noisy pup. Underneath her furs the female was just skin and bones, but her dugs were

full of milk. The sweetest meat was on the pup. The wolf saved the choicest parts for his brother. All around the

carcasses, the frozen snow turned pink and red as the pack filled its bellies.

It was on my own, a guilty pleasure, that I returned to thesea, beckoned by the mighty waves that crashed down

andreached for me in humble tidal ripples, gentle lassos thatcaught their willing Indian boy.

My gift to Mamaji one birthday, I must have been thirteenor so, was two full lengths of credible butterfly. I finished sospent I could hardly wave to him.

Beyond the activity of swimming, there was the talk of it. Itwas the talk that Father loved. The more vigorously he

resistedactually swimming, the more he fancied it. Swim lore was hisvacation talk from the workaday talk of running a zoo.

Waterwithout a hippopotamus was so much more manageable thanwater with one.

Mamaji studied in Paris for two years, thanks to the colonialadministration. He had the time of his life. This was in

theearly 1930s, when the French were still trying to makePondicherry as Gallic as the British were trying to make

therest of India Britannic. I don’t recall exactly what Mamajistudied. Something commercial, I suppose. He was a

greatstoryteller, but forget about his studies or the Eiffel Tower orthe Louvre or the cafés of the Champs-Elysées. All his storieshad to do

 

with swimming

pools and

swimming

competitions.

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“Wonder what her game is anyway? I’m going to tell

“Wonder what her game is anyway? I’m going to tell Trowbridge to have some—”

“I say, Kingsley.” Someone called the president’s son, and with a nod to his companion, he strode off to see what was wanted.

Roberta proceeded, but as she went she wished she had not spoken to Phil of her nervousness. Probably it was just silly and she certainly didn’t want to be

relieved of the responsibility because she was afraid. After all, there wasn’t a thing in the world to be afraid of, nothing but a collection of wild guesses. It

was unlike the time the “old man” had tried to appropriate the Moth, for then the country was filled with horrible stories of “Blue Air-pirates,” but now everything was as it should be. In fact, life was a bit dull except24 for the

unending joy of racing into the sky. By that time she reached Mr. Trowbridge’s office, but as she opened the door she heard Mr. Wallace saying

angrily, “Well, I’ll be darned if I see it. Oh, oh, hello Miss Langwell.” With that he rushed out of the room and banged the door so hard that it jarred the place.

“Oh, er, oh,” Mr. Trowbridge glanced at her, then began to fumble with some papers on his desk. “Wallace is a bit upset, you’ll have to excuse him.”

unending joy of racing into the sky. By that time she reached Mr. Trowbridge’s office, but as she opened the door she heard Mr. Wallace saying

angrily, “Well, I’ll be darned if I see it. Oh, oh, hello Miss Langwell.” With that he rushed out of the room and banged the door so hard that it jarred the place.

“Sorry if I interrupted—”

“It was a pool the gods would have delighted to swim in.
Molitor had the best competitive swimming club in Paris. Therewere two

pools, an indoor and an outdoor. Both were as bigas small oceans. The indoor pool always had two

lanesreserved

for swimmers

who wanted

to do lengths.

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Within a couple of days I could stand, even make two,

Within a couple of days I could stand, even make two, threesteps, despite nausea, dizziness and general weakness. Bloodtests revealed that I was

anemic, and that my level of sodiumwas very high and my potassium low. My body retained fluidsand my legs swelled up tremendously. I looked as if I hadbeen grafted with a pair of elephant legs. My urine was adeep, dark yellow

going on to brown. After a week or so, Icould walk just about normally and I could wear shoes if Ididn’t lace them up. My skin healed, though I still have scarson my shoulders and back.

The first time I turned a tap on, its noisy, wasteful,superabundant gush was such a shock that I becameincoherent and my legs collapsed beneath me and I fainted inthe arms of a nurse.

The first time I went to an Indian restaurant in Canada Iused my fingers. The waiter looked at me critically and said,”Fresh off the boat, are you?” I

blanched. My fingers, which asecond before had been taste buds savouring the food a littleahead of my mouth, became dirty under his gaze.

“A small one. Several governments—ours and a couple of others, are trying to trace down illegal seal fishing; catch the lads who don’t follow the rules.

Contact.” They were off, and Roberta inquired no more about the government work because Phil’s account of it sounded quite as tame as piloting Mrs.

Pollzoff. Presently the Moth dropped out of the sky, landed near the office of the Lurtiss Airplane Company and a bit later the girl sky-pilot presented

herself at the private office of Mr. Trowbridge for whom she worked when she first joined the organization as a secretary. Mr. Wallace, one of the special

instructors, was already there, and when Roberta entered, they both rose to their feet to wish her good morning.

“Anything special?” she asked when greetings were exchanged.

“Only Mrs. Pollzoff. She ought to be here any minute,” Mr. Trowbridge replied.

“Howe is coming in

this morning,” Mr.

Wallace added.

16 “Phil told me—”

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That pain is like an axe that chops at my heart.The doctors

That pain is like an axe that chops at my heart.
The doctors and nurses at the hospital in Mexico wereincredibly kind to me. And the patients, too. Victims of canceror car accidents, once they heard my

story, they hobbled andwheeled over to see me, they and their families, though noneof them spoke English and I spoke no Spanish. They smiled atme,

shook my hand, patted me on the head, left gifts of foodand clothing on my bed. They moved me to uncontrollable fitsof laughing and crying.

“Anything special?” she asked when greetings were exchanged.

“Only Mrs. Pollzoff. She ought to be here any minute,” Mr. Trowbridge replied.

“Howe is coming in this morning,” Mr. Wallace added.

16 “Phil told me—”

“Yes, and here I am,” Mr. Howe announced himself as he entered. “They told me you were all in here, so I took the liberty of coming in without knocking; I can go out the same way if you like.”

“You can stay here, without knocking,” Mr. Trowbridge hastened to assure him. “I’m thinking Miss Langwell is glad to see you.”

“She has been handling a job that is dull as ditch-water,” Wallace put in quickly.

“She will not find my work dull, but it will be cold, for it may take her to the Bering Sea,” Mr. Howe informed them. “I expect to be ready for her soon.”

“It sounds no end exciting,” Roberta said and her eyes sparkled. A job that would take her to the Bering Sea appeared to have endless possibilities and she was keenly interested. Just then the phone rang and Mr. Trowbridge

answered it.

“Your passenger

has arrived,”

he told Roberta.

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