Sunday, March 1, 2009


I imagine most of us are familiar with the legendary Land of Nod, to which Cain fled after breaking the moratorium on murder. Nod has engendered small amounts of controversy because Cain knew his wife after he moved to Nod, but there is no mention of any women besides Eve to this point. Biblical anti-literalists have cited this as evidence that Adam and Eve were not, in fact, the only humans in the world.

It came to my surprise to learn that The Land of Nod, besides being a place of eternal wandering, is also a Children's Furniture chain owned by the much more reasonably named Crate & Barrel.

Clearly associating yourself with Cain is the new chic. Are they trying to suggest that, like Cain, their customers' children shall be marked with a Mark that means no one may ever kill them? Or that you should eat your vegetables instead of cheaply giving them away to God?

I can't figure this out.

There is also, incidentally, a small hamlet in Yorkshire called Land of Nod.

According to Wikipedia (and I take this with hearty sodium):

"The Land of Nod is also a small forested estate situated in Headley Down, Hampshire owned by the Whitaker family. Its history dates back to the Middle Ages when the owner, Mr Cain, was excommunicated from the Church; he named his home The Land of Nod, thus making direct reference to Genesis 4:16[citation needed]."

Emphasis on 'citation needed'. At least this story, even if apocryphal, makes sense, as does the name of the nefarious organization in the Command & Conquer video games. Children's furniture, not so much.

Lastly, the Land of Nod was famously located East of Eden, a book I haven't read, and won't.


  1. People sometimes use "the land of Nod" to mean sleep or dreams, as a pun on the phrase "nodding off".

    This is just cutesy enough that it makes a good name for a children's furniture store, especially if they sell a lot of beds.

  2. Varieties of Unreligious Experience:

    "Calvert Watkins associates the word nod with a number of 'loosely-related Germanic words referring to pinching, closing the eyes'—these include nap (sleep), nip (bite), nibble and niggard. It is, of course, unrelated to the Hebrew: and yet, I wonder if we can see in its use the ghost of Nod, of the wandering Jew?"

    Land of Nod:

    Part one:

    Part two:

    Part three:

  3. @squid: That makes... complete sense.

    I don't know why I didn't think of that.

    @Demosthenes: This one I DID think of. Nod also means 'wandering' directly--or so I am told. It would be an awfully nice coincidence if the poor Jew cursed to wander the Earth eternally after Christ's crucifixion happened to be the one fellow already so cursed. I'm sure Cain wouldn't mind.

    This subject inspired me to check John Gardner's Grendel out of the library. Read it in my youth. May as well give it another try and see what the scions of Cain have to say about the matter.

  4. Blame it on Cain
    Don't blame it on me
    Oh, oh, it's nobody's fault
    But we need somebody to burn

    In other news, East of Eden is probably the least repulsive selection available from John Steinbeck's ouevre (there are people who leave the story *happy*), but it's still not that good.