Me and my friend finished translating Five Children and It. This is one of the paragraphs we had a problem with, in Chapter 4 (The Wings):

"Well, from this day forth I'll be a better man. It's the kind of thing to sober a chap for life, this is. I'm glad it was only wings, though. I'd rather see the birds as aren't there, and couldn't be, even if they pretend to talk, than some things as I could name"

The guy said this after seeing the children with their wings. The last part of the paragraph is a total mystery to us. What does it mean?


My interpretation is that he thinks he was hallucinating the children with wings because he drank too much — he's calling them birds — and he is saying that there are much worse things that he could have hallucinated.

  • Thanks for the interpretation, yet what did she exactly mean by: "I'd rather see the birds as aren't there, and couldn't be" Jun 9 at 17:03
  • The "birds as aren't there, and couldn't be" are the children. What he means by "I'd rather see ..." is that if he had the choice between hallucinating these "birds", or hallucinating "some things as I could name", he would definitely choose the "birds".
    – Peter Shor
    Jun 9 at 18:47
  • What these "some things as I could name" are is left to our imaginations, but one imagines it's something fairly horrible.
    – Peter Shor
    Jun 9 at 18:53

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