Page 57. " a large folding screen with Chinese dragons painted on it "

Mural: Chinese Dragon
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeMural: Chinese Dragon - Credit: Franco Folini


The dragons of Chinese folklore and mythology are benevolent, powerful creatures. Revered in China, dragons bring good luck and are often used as a symbol for Chinese culture. Long and serpentine, the Chinese dragon is usually bearded, has four legs and nine anatomical references: a camel’s head, a stag’s horns, eyes of a demon, neck of a snake, belly of a clam, scales of a carp, eagle claws, cow ears and soles of the tiger.

Page 62. " Did they have fleas in their hair "
Scanning Electron Micrograph of a Flea
Public DomainScanning Electron Micrograph of a Flea - Credit: (CDC) / Janice Carr

The flea is a bloodsucking parasite that feeds off mammals. Fleas render skin itchy and irritated.

Page 62. " More likely it was nits "

Hunting lice by candlelight
Public DomainHunting lice by candlelight - Credit: Andries Both
‘Nits’ is a British term for head lice. Nit is also the term for the egg of a louse. Like fleas, these scary-looking insects generally feed on skin and blood.


The term ‘nitpicking’, which means trivial faultfinding, is derived from the act of picking nits from hair.



Page 62. " dip his whole head in turpentine "

Volcanic Oil/Turpentine
Creative Commons AttributionVolcanic Oil/Turpentine - Credit: bradleygee
 Turpentine is made from distilled tree resin. It has been used for medicinal purposes since ancient times, although it irritates the skin.

Page 69. " like a piece of hot pork-crackling "


Roast pork crackling
Creative Commons AttributionRoast pork crackling - Credit: Kai Hendry

 Pork crackling or scratchling is fried or roasted pork rind.