The Double Shadow: A Clark Ashton Smith Podcast

Episode #8: “The Beast of Averoigne”

In this week’s episode, we’ll be covering The Beast of Averoigne in the version which was published in Weird Tales, May 1933. We’ll also be talking about the differences between this version and the one originally submitted to Weird Tales, which you may enjoy reading as well.

Illustration of the Beast of Averoigne

Beast of Averoigne illustration created by Mike Mucci.

The French Wikipedia entry on Chaudronnier (translated by Ruth) describes one was:

Chaudronnier is a trade originally describing pot-makers, which by extension came to describe anyone who makes hollow containers of metal or plastic of all kinds.

And as a reminder, we now have forums where you can talk about the episodes, Smithiana, weird gaming, and weird fiction in general!

Music by: Kevin MacLeod

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  1. Odilius Vlak says:

    And the evil of the stars is not as the evil of earth.

    That statement contained a philosophical vision of the evil as a spiritual expresion that exist by its own and with its own laws. Beside, Smith put the notion of a hierarchical order in which the evil is manifested by levels of evolution. So, the evil of the stars necessarily most be deeper than that of the earth. As a concept, this is the best that can be distiled from this story, apart of course of the story itself, that is a great example of SF in a medieval setting. «¿The true is out there?»… Sorry The X Files, but for the people of Averoigne, it was the Evil what was lurking from outer space.

  2. Fred Kiesche says:

    A couple of thoughts (I’m catching up on the episodes, I usually listen to podcasts when doing a marathon of driving or work around the house).

    Maybe the beast changed shape because it was leaping from animal to animal and finally to a human (possibly starting with Theophile, but possibly with another human).

    I thought perhaps the reason the beast started with the dead humans was possibly as it was reading something off of Theophile, e.g., aspects of his religious beliefs (resurrection of the dead, consuming the Host, etc.)

    The demon in the ring: First, Eibon (and the Book of Eibon). It should be mentioned that this is one thing that was later adopted into the Cthulhu Mythos of H.P. Lovecraft and a (still growing) circle of writers. Second, I thought it interesting that it was mentioned as from a prehuman world (world could mean “country” in the eyes of somebody living in times before international travel and viewpoint, maybe; or “prehuman” could be a nod towards HPL and the number of aliens that lived on Earth before humans–the Great Race, the Fungi from Yuggoth, and others), invoking also Atlantis. Also interesting: he talks to the spirit via use of fire. I’ll have to look at “The City of the Singing Flame” again to see if there’s a link there.

    Theophile considering suicide, suicide as a sin. Would it be a sin if he did it to protect others? If he was really cognizant of what was happening, perhaps he invited Luc there knowing what the end would ultimately be (his death, but also the death or banishment of the creature). (I recall “The Exorcist”–at the end, the priest takes the devil into himself and commits suicide–but the devil is out of the girl). Think of the biblical phrase which begins “No greater love…” and think about it. Suicide or sacrifice for a greater good?

    Enjoying the show! About done with the run in Averoigne and looking forward to the next set of installments.