Tospit Debate

The following topic was posted for discussion by Ubar RAGNAR on the Webmaze wall on January 16, 2003. The debate which ensued was, for the most part, respectful and thought-provoking. As a part of our home's history, not to mention an interesting and informative read, it was deemed worthy of placement on our webpages. Postings may contain typographical errors; their content has not been edited in any way.

Tal and greetings.

i have been able to do something that is rare anymore for me. i have been able to find a few moments to do some studying of the books in quotes and such.

wow... how relaxing!!! LOL

anyway... just a bit curious about...

ready for this?


yup!!! those bitter lil things we are always guessing the seeds within or splitting them open for sport.

i am a bit confuzzled. was it an ooops by JN? was clarification an omission or did it just get lost in the process of getting his books from his desk to the store shelves? what say you?

"On the back of the kaiila, the black lance in hand, bending down in the saddle, I raced past a wooden wand fixed in the earth, on the top of which was placed a dried tospit, a small, wrinkled, yellowish-white peachlike fruit, about the size of a plum, which grows on the tospit bush, patches of which are indigenous to the drier valleys of the western Cartius. They are bitter but edible."--Nomads, 59

grows on a tospit bush from the drier valleys***

"'Odd or even?' he asked. I had resolved not to wager with Kamchak, but this was indeed an opportunity to gain a certain amount of vengeance which, on my part, would be sorely appreciated. Usually, in guessing tospit seeds, one guesses the actual number, and usually both guessers opt for an odd number. The common tospit almost invariably has an odd number of seeds. On the other hand the rare, long-stemmed tospit usually has an even number of seeds. Both fruits are indistinguishable outwardly.
"I could see that, perhaps by accident, the tospit which Kamchak had thrown me had had the stem twisted off. It must be then, I surmised, the rare, long-stemmed tospit.
"'Even,' I said. Kamchak looked at me as though pained. 'Tospits almost always have an odd number of seeds,' he said.
"'Even,' I said. 'Very well,' said he, 'eat the tospit and see.'
"'Why should I eat it?' I asked. The tospit, after all, is quite bitter. And why shouldn't Kamchak eat it? He had suggested the wager.
“'I am a Tuchuk,' said Kamchak, 'I might be tempted to swallow seeds.'
"'Let's cut it up,' I proposed. 'One might miss a seed that way,' said Kamchak.
"'Perhaps we could mash the slices,' I suggested. But would that not be a great deal of trouble,' asked Kamchak, 'and might one not stain the rug?'
"'Perhaps we could mash them in a bowl,' I suggested. 'But then a bowl would have to be washed,' said Kamchak.
"'That is true,' I admitted. 'All things considered,' said Kamchak, 'I think the fruit should be eaten.'
"'I guess you are right,' I said. I bit into the fruit philosophically. It was indeed bitter.
"'Besides,' said Kamchak, 'I do not much care for tospit.'
"'I am not surprised,' I said. 'They are quite bitter,' said Kamchak. 'Yes,' I said.
"I finished the fruit and, of course, it had seven seeds.
"'Most tospits,' Kamchak informed me, 'have an odd number of seeds.'
"'I know,' I said.
"'Then why did you guess even?' he asked.
"'I supposed,' I grumbled, 'that you would have found a long-stemmed tospit.'
"'But they are not available,' he said, 'until late in the summer.' "--Nomads, 149-150

now we have two tospits, long and short stemmed and a season.**

On the way back to the hall, cutting through the tospit trees, we had passed by the sul patch."--Marauders, 103.

now we have trees... in the north a long way from the dry cartius region.**

okies... now i open this for thought. due to the harsher climate of the North, might the tree be best suited for suvival over a bush?

would the stem of the long or short variety be associated with bush or tree?

and would Tuchuk... if such was the case of product from a specific area.... have both? it seems they would... if such was the case.

*scratches head*

have fun with this one.

safe roads!

Posted by silky{MTC} on January 16, 2003, 07:49:52 PM:

~chuckles softly, happy to respond to this one~ greetings Master!

well having spent most of my life searching out and picking wild fruit of many kinds i'll try to answer what my experience tells me may be right? it's not based in science, only the experience of a lil berry picker ~grin~.

on the prairies of her home the elderberries, bullberries, chokecherries, plums, apples, bear berries, thimble berries, huckleberries, "Indian ice cream"and service berries or "saskatoons" will grow differently depending on the Sun and the water and elevation (whether on the prairie, by a river, foothills or in a mountain meadow).

for most of the berries, where there is plentiful water and shade, most will grow lush and thick and have long stems. where there is less water and maybe on a south slope exposed more to the Sun, they will be smaller and with shorter stems, and not so abundantly.

down by the river with plentiful Sun and water, they all grow lush and with long stems.

the bushier plants will grow yearly taller until they are almost indistinguishable from small trees if there is enough water and Sun.

the apple and plums will be small brushy trees with tarter almost unedible fruit in dry places and the stems are short. where there is abundant water, they will grow into trees and the stems will be longer and the fruit sweeter.

soooooo, from all of that, silk would think that tospit grown where there is abundant water, Sunlight and the right elevation would be more tree-like and the fruit would have longer stems.

she would think that the short stemmed variety would grow in drier climes and be more of bushes then trees.

as to the science of that?.... she thinks maybe in abundant places of water and Sun and the right nutrients, plants can have the luxury of longer stems and don't have to "worry" about the issue of transport of nutrients to first a flower, then a fruit of a flower. conservation of energy in circumstances would almost predict shorter, bushier plants and short stems in places of less abundant water she would think. from experience, it seems water is the defining factor and Sun next.

~grins and sets the marking stick down, ambling off to boil up a pot of dried saskatoons with chunks of deer meat, hungry all of a sudden for something from her childhood~

silk wishes You well Master...

Posted by ~delilah~{K} on January 16, 2003, 08:11:57 PM:


talena has the "is it a tospit bush or tospit tree?" question listed on her website as a Norman blooper. i always agreed without reservation--until now, given the contemplation of long-stemmed tospits verses short and Southern climates verses Northern.

i always figured that the matter of having two species of tospits was akin to the difference between Macintosh apples and Granny Smith apples--perhaps slightly different in taste an appearence yet basically the same fruit and grown in the same manner. on further thought, perhaps the short-stemmed variety grows on bushes whereas the long-stemmed variety grows on trees. however, as we are given no indication that the Tuchuks had to trade to get the rare long- stemmed varieties, but are told simply that they don't grow until late summer, i'm leaning more toward the theory that this rare variety also grows on bushes in the dry Cartius regions.

IF the disparity between these quotes isn't simply a Norman boo-boo, perhaps as the plains were harsh and treeless, the tospit bush--shorter, scrubbier--would flourish there; whereas in the North, even though the climate is often bitterly cold, there might be found more water and the tree would be a more suitable adaptation... i liken this to the difference between the natural topography of, say, a plains state versus the wilds of Maine.

this take seems to make the most sense to me, and i look forward to what others might think on the subject!

Posted by RAGNAR on January 20, 2003, 08:25:22 PM:

in addition to this thread...

such theories seem logical in whole or in part.

here are more things to ponder...

"The tospits, in the Forkbeard's orchard, which can grow at this latitude, as the larma cannot, were too green to eat. I smiled, recalling that tospits almost invariably have an odd number of seeds, saving the rarer, long-stemmed variety. I do not care too much for tospits, as they are quite bitter. Some men like them. They are commonly used, sliced and sweetened with honey, and in syrups, and to flavor, with their juices, a variety of dishes. They are also excellent in the prevention of nutritional deficiencies at sea, in long voyages, containing, I expect, a great deal of vitamin C. They are sometimes called the seaman's larma. They are a fairly hardfleshed fruit, and are not difficult to dry and store. On the serpents they are carried in small barrels, usually kept, with vegetables, under the overturned keel of the longboat."--Marauders, 102

does this seem to say the long stems are rare and naught from the trees?


now... here is a twist...

"A great amount of farming, or perhaps one should speak of gardening, is done at the oasis, but little of this is exported... Larma and tospits are also grown at the oases, in small orchards."--Tribesman, 37


okies... now we see an assiciation with gardening and or farming is accociated with tospits. now we have something else to consider.

"The Wagon Peoples grow no food, nor do they have manufacturing as we know it. They are herders and it is said, killers. They eat nothing that has touched the dirt. They live on the meat and milk of the bosk. They are among the proudest of the peoples of Gor, regarding the dwellers of the cities of Gor as vermin in holes, cowards who must fly behind walls, wretches who fear to live beneath the broad sky, who dare not dispute with them the open, windswept plains of their world."--Nomads, 4


Tuchuks do naught eat what has touched dirt. only bosk products. (persay)

going back to Kamchak and Tarl wagering, when asked why Kamchak did naught eat it, Kamchak said nothing about dirt... only the swallowing of seeds. Kamchak speaks of naught caring for it as it was so bitter. that given... and taking into account what seems to be the "i will see for myself" attitude of Tuchuks... Kamchak would likely have tasted of the tospit. would he naught keep to the ways of Tuchuk and naught eat from the dirt?


"A boy passed, spitting out the seeds of a tospit. The thought of Kamchak, of the Tuchuks, passed through my mind. I smiled. Only the rare, long stemmed tospit contained an even number of seeds,on the Plains of Turia, or in the Land of the Wagon Peoples, it was available only late in the summer. Here, in Tor, however, with its two growing seasons, they might be available much earlier. Still, if pressed, I would have guessed that the boy's tospit contained an odd number of seeds. Most tospits do. I would not, however, have been likely to wager on the matter with Kamchak of the Tuchuks. I was mildly surprised that the boy had been eating the tospit raw, for they are quite bitter, but, I knew that people of the Tahari regions, these bright, hot regions, relished strong tastes."--Tribesman, 45


so Tuchuks had both... what about the tree and bush theory now?



for a change i post a topic for discussion that slings no shit... insults none... passes no opinion or judgements upon others... and my thread is pretty much dead. i DO thank those who have taken the time to respond. i will use such offer of information.

i see it has been read quite often. i wish opinions and other informaion that would assistme in adding good accurate pages to my home's webpages hopefully creating a better teaching tool.

i inquired of a friend of this thread... and they informed me they thought i intended it to be a slam or other such crap.

it is NAUGHT. though a light hearted presentation trying to be joking about a rather boring topic was the intended goal.

I am a Torvaldslander made Tuchuk. as a dear friend affectionately refers to me... a Torvaldchuk. *G*

i wish to look closer at the diet of Tuchuk. perhaps even the effects from a medical/healer point of view in regards to any adaptation or changes in one's diet in relation to geographic location and availability of food sources.

but to do that... it helps to get a foundation on which to build on.

so if you could add or assist in this... i would appreciate it greatly.

safe roads!!!

Posted by Mi§tral on January 21, 2003, 12:53:52 PM:

I had actually had a pretty long winded response to the long stem versus, short stem tospit written and I may yet add my two tarsk bits on it. But I have now end up reading to the end and see, what was either a test or a challenge. This I do not understand. I mean I understand the interest in the short stem versus the long stem, and actually thought it interesting enough to read and do a little research on it.

I even found that one of the girls had answered as I would have for the most part.

Perhaps that is really why there was so little response, that certainly you had the facts, indisputable at that even.

So you were asking a science question, or a farming question what have you.

Science is a very abstract form at best, as my science and math teacher used to tell me “you have to have faith that what I am telling you is true" and then he would go into how you hypothesized, and then tested, and then tested again, and again, and again, untill the results were rather predictable.

Fine sciences my ass!

At any rate to answer your question on your last post, it's hard to have an opinon about a fruit, when you already have all the facts before you.

You had already done the research, people had given I am guessing what the majority look at as sound answers and that was that.

Now a short version of my answer on bush versus tree, a stem is in fact a branch is it not?

If a tospit has a long stem does it not stand to reason that it would come from a tree.

There fore would not a short stem come from a small tree or bush?

An example could be cherries and olives, both approximately the same size, but their stems and the tree's they grow on (unless I have messed this up totally) are different sizes.

Short trees grow closer to the earth because why?

The land they live on is arid and perhaps may need to stay closer to the water source.

Tall trees grow further from the earth why?

Perhaps the area they grow in has multiple water sources eg. rain and the earth retains the water better.

The only things that I know really that grow from bushes are berries so I can't give any real examples of large fruits growing from them.

How about apples, they grow all over the world I believe *except either poles of course, and of course deserts, but they do have dates*

Apple tree's come in a variety of sizes at least the ones up here do.

How about oranges they grow in the oddest areas as well and does not their size, and shape, skin thickness etc. determine what type of tree they grow from.

Oh well it certainly got me thinking Brother but then you know what I determined ... I found that I was just comparing apples with oranges!


Now you have a good day ........ or NOT!

Stirs the pot and finds I have made apple sauce.....

Posted by silky{MTC} on January 21, 2003, 01:06:25 PM:

greetings Master

"The tospits, in the Forkbeard's orchard, which can grow at this latitude, as the larma cannot, were too green to eat. I smiled, recalling that tospits almost invariably have an odd number of seeds, saving the rarer, long-stemmed variety."

does this seem to say the long stems are rare and naught from the trees?

silk would think the first sentence says the tospits at that latitude were in an orchard, orchard would mean trees rather then bushes. the second sentence doesn't seem to have much relationship to the first other then His internal musing about tospits, it's not tied grammatically even to the first.

soooooo..... in this passage, she thinks He's saying tospits at that lattitude grew on trees. beyond that, i don't think much more can be inferred. the tree thing seems to be reinforced by the next quote, of orchards of tospits grown in an oasis.

"A great amount of farming, or perhaps one should speak of gardening, is done at the oasis, but little of this is exported... Larma and tospits are also grown at the oases, in small orchards."

as for Tuchuk, silk has long believed the saying from the quote below,

The Wagon Peoples grow no food, nor do they have manufacturing as we know it. They are herders and it is said, killers. They eat nothing that has touched the dirt. They live on the meat and milk of the bosk.

the sentence "They live on the meat and milk of the bosk." to her, means the same as in her People's culture about bison being the lifeblood of the plains. there is a similar reverence. the staple of the plains diet was meat/buffalo, but it wasn't the only thing. she thinks that passage has similar meaning about Wagon Peoples.

she thinks they ate nothing grown under ground or laying on the ground like tubers and squash. similar to the plains nomads of earth. we never had potatoes, most roots were medicines and we never harvested rooted foods. we ate them when visiting other camps that did such, but silk think's that's a politeness thing. she's been told her whole life not to refuse food she's given when in another's home.

as for nutrition, the berries, meat, fat, guts, all those things, provide a very high protein, complex carb, highly nutritious diet that was very well suited for an active lifestyle found in living on the plains. she has an old paper somewhere where a colleague of hers did a nutritional analysis of a traditional Blackfeet/Pikuni diet compared to the diet of today. she'll try to dig it up for more of the science stuff.

"Only the rare, long stemmed tospit contained an even number of seeds, on the Plains of Turia, or in the Land of the Wagon Peoples, it was available only late in the summer."

~grins and tackles this one~ well, the plains were not the barrens and there are trees along rivers and other places where there are springs. rare, but not wholly absent. sooooo, seeing as the long stemmed tospit is rare and needs a very long growing season, she still believes it is grown on trees and probably by the river where trees could survive.

~nod nod nod~...... yup, that's what this stubborn little mule eared, savage Earthen, Tuchuk slave thinks......

~chuckles and blows kisses~ thank You Master..... ~races off for her journey over the mountains to the plains to the east, skitters to a stop, head tilted as she sees her grammer shot to heck, knowing her mind has gone back home and she's thinking in her language, she shrugs, hoping she makes sense~

Posted by Dracul GreyEagle on January 26, 2003, 05:43:23 PM

Am going to have to go get the books and do a bit of research myself....

But considering the fact that JN has soooooooooo many opps and contradictions and parts of the story left out to concentrate on others, I would say it's just one of those things that didn't mean enough to keep consistent. That's just my personal take on it.

Even thought I have to disagree that science is abstract. perhaps biology you have to go on faith ... chemistry there is not a lot of faith in *grins* besides getting your reaction to work and not blow up in your face. You don't have to trust someone to believe it's true you can see that it is.... but I digress.

*S* Here's another thought for you Ubar Ragnar. If JN had taken the time to fully develop every bit of flora and fauna and backdrop of the gorean landscape, would the story be as interesting? Or would it read like a biology textbook?

Further Tospit Quotes

"On the way back to the hall, cutting through the tospit trees, we had passed by the sul patch."--Marauders of Gor, 103

"She had been carrying tospits and vegetables to the deck locker, to fill it. Wulfstan, once of Kassau, now of Torvaldsland, in charge of supplying the ship, leaned over the rail. ‘Fetch more tospits, Slave Girl,’ he called. ‘yes, Master,’ said Thyri."--Marauders of Gor, 289.

"A great amount of farming, or perhaps one should speak of gardening, is done at the oasis, but little of this is exported. At the oasis will be grown a hybrid, brownish Sa-Tarna, adapted to the heat of the desert; most Sa-Tarna is yellow; and beans, berries, onions, tuber suls, various sorts of melons, a foliated leaf vegetable, called Katch, and various root vegetables, such as turnips, carrots, radishes, of the sphere and cylinder varieties, and korts, a large, brownish-skinned, thick-skinned, sphere-shaped vegetable, usually some six inches in width, the interior of which is yellowish, fibrous and heavily seeded. At the oasis, because of the warm climate, the farmers can grow two or more crops a year. Larma and tospits are also grown at the oases, in small orchards."--Tribesman of Gor, 37.

"He was unwary; his attention was fully focused on his target; did he think I was a slave girl on the plains of the Wagon Peoples, standing, a tospit in my mouth for his lance sport?"--Tribesman, Chapter 22.

"I knew he would return, to finish the feeding, with another draft of water, a spoon of salt and a slice of the bitter tospit. Bit by bit, flake by flake, dampened, struggling, trying not to choke, I swallowed the crusts with which my mouth had been crammed."--Slave Girl of Gor, 320.

"'Thank you, Master,' I said. The slice of tospit was thrust in my mouth. The cage gate behind me was snapped shut. I bit into the tospit. It was bitter, but juicy. It was relished by my body. I made each drop last as long as I could. I had not finished it even when the feeding was done and the hatch closed, shutting us again in the darkness of the hold of the slave ship."--Slave Girl of Gor, 321.

"I reached into a wooden bucket and took a tospit, bit in open and began to suck at the juice. No one stopped me."--Slave Girl of Gor, 360.

"The tables were covered with cloths of glistening white and a service of gold. Before each guests there were tiny slices of tospit and larma, small pastries, and, in a tiny golden cup, with a small golden spoon, the clustered, black, tiny eggs of the white grunt."--Fighting Slave of Gor, 275.

"Lola now returned to the small table and, kneeling head down, served us our desert, slices of topsit, sprinkled with four Gorean sugars."--Rogue of Gor, 132.

"I supposed that if Kamchak had known his name was being used in this fashion, and mispronounced at that, and Boots was within his grasp he might have, as a joke, for Kamchak was fond of jokes, had Boots put in a sack and put out in front of the bosk, curious to see if they would move in that direction on that particular morning. On the other hand, perhaps he would only have challenged him to a spitting contest or one in which the number of seeds in different sorts of tospits were guessed and then, if Boots lost, put him out with the bosk, to see what way they might move that day."--Players of Gor, 228.


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