|This research is done on the series of books written by John Norman, the comments in italics are mine and my point of view.
Woman of Gor
|Free Women of Different Cultures
I heard a bird some forth or fifty yards to my right; it sounded like a marsh gant, a small, horned, web-footed aquatic fowl, brad-billed and broad-winged.
Marsh girls, the daughters of rence growers, sometimes hunt them with throwing sticks. Raiders of Gor, page 4
She was standing on a small skiff of rence, not larger than my own rush craft, about seven feet long and two feet wide, fastened together, as mine was,
with marsh vine; it, like mine, had a slightly curved stern and prow.
In her hand was a curved throwing stick, used for hunting birds. It is not a boomerang, which would be largely useless among the sedges and rushes, but
it would, of course, float, and might be recovered and used indefinitely. Some girls are quite skilled with this light weapon. It stuns the bird, which is then
gathered from the water and tied, alive, in the craft. The birds are later, on the rence islands, killed and cooked.
I moved the rush craft toward her, but not swiftly. Then, letting it drift, I put the tem-wood paddle across the craft, resting my hands on it, and watched
The cries of the marsh gants were about is now. I saw that her hunting had been successful. There were four of the birds tied in the stern of her craft.
She looked upon me, but did not seem particularly frightened.
Her gaze was clear; she had a dark blondish hair and blue eyes; her legs were a bit short, and her ankles somewhat thick; her shoulders were a bit wide
perhaps, but lovely. She wore a brief, sleeveless garment of yellowish-brown rence cloth; it was worn well away from both shoulders to permit her
freedom of movement; the brief skirt had been hitched up about her thighs that it might in no way bind her in her hunting. Her hair was tied behind her
head with a strip of purple cloth, dyed re-cloth. I knew then she came of a community that had contact to some degree, direct of indirect, with civilized
Goreans. Rep is a whitish fibrous matter found in the seed pods of a small, reddish, woody bush, commercially grown in several areas, but particularly
below Ar and above the equator; the cheap re-cloth is woven in mills, commonly, in various cities; it takes dyes well and, being cheap and strong, is
popular, particularly among the lower castes. The girl was doubtless the daughter of a rence grower, hunting for gants. I supposed the rence island, on
which such communities lived, might be nearby. I also supposed it might be her community which had placed the warning markers. Raiders of Gor, page 10-
The women of rence growers, when in their own marshes, do no veil themselves, as is common among Gorean women, particularly of the cities. Moreover,
they are quite capable of cutting rence, preparing it, hunting for their own food and, on the whole, of existing, if they wish it, by themselves. There are few
tasks of the rence communities which they cannot perform as well as men. Their intelligence, and the work of their hands, is needed by the small
communities. Accordingly they suffer little inhibition in the matters of speaking out and expressing themselves. Raiders of Gor, page 18-19
I knew her to be barefoot behind me, in the brief-skirted tunic of yellowish-brown rence cloth, cut away at the shoulders to give her freedom of movement.
She wore a golden armlet. Her hair was bound back with the bit of purple rep-cloth. She had, as the girls do in rence craft, tied her skirt high about her
thighs, for ease in moving and poling. I was terribly conscious of her. Her rather thick ankles seemed to me to be strong and lovely, and her legs sturdy
and fine. Her hips were sweet, her belly a rhythm made for the touch of a man, and her breasts, full and beautiful, magnificent, tormenting me, strained
against the brittle rence cloth of her tunic with an insolence of softness, as though, insistent, they would make clear their contempt for any subterfuge of
concealment. Raiders of Gor, page 27-28
Then there came a drumming sound, growing louder and louder, a man pounding on a hollowed drum of rence root with two sticks, and then, as suddenly
as the singing and clapping, the drum, too, stopped.
And then to my astonishment the rence girls, squealing and laughing, some protesting and being pushed and shoved, rose to their feet and entered the
clearing in the circle.
The young men shouted with pleasure.
One or two of the girls, giggling, tried to slip away, fleeing, but young men, laughing, caught them, and hurled them into the clearing of the circle.
The rence girls, vital, eyes shining, breathing deeply, barefoot, barearmed, many with beads worn for festival, and hammered copper bracelets and
armlets, stood all within a circle.
The young men shouted and clapped their hands.
I saw that more than one fellow, handsome, strongfaced, could not take his eyes from Telima.
She was, I noted, the only girl in the circle who wore an armlet of gold.
She paid the young men, if she noticed them, no attention.
The rence communities tend to be isolated. Young people seldom see one another, saving those from the same tiny community. I remember the two lines,
one of young men, the other of girls, jeering and laughing, and crying out at one another in the morning.
Then the man with the drum of hollow rence root began to drum, and one fellow had bits of metal, strung in a circular wire, and another a notched stick,
played by scraping it with a flat spoon of rence root.
It was Telima who began first to pound the woven rence mat that was the surface of the island with her right heel, lifting her hands, arms bent, over her
head, her eyes closed.
Then the other girls, too, began to join her, and at last even the shiest among them moved pounding, and stamping and turning about the circle. The
dances of rence girls are, as far as I know, unique on Gor. There is some savagery in them, but, too, they have sometimes, perhaps paradoxically, stately
aspects, stylized aspects, movements reminiscent of casting nets or poling, of weaving rence or hunting gants. But, as I watched, and the young men
shouted, the dancers became less stylized, and became more universal to woman, whether she be a drunken housewife in a suburb of a city of Earth or a
jeweled slave in Port Kar, dances that spoke of them as women who want me, and will have them. To my astonishment, as the dances continued, even
the shiest of the rence girls, those who had to have been forced to the circle, even those who had tried to flee, began to writhe in ecstasy, their hands
lifted to the three moons of Gor.
It is often lonely on the rence islands, and festival comes but once a year.
The bantering of the young people in the morning, and the display of the girls in the evening, for in effect in the movements of the dance every woman is
nude, have both, I expect, institutional roles to play in the life of the rence growers, significant roles analogous to the roles of dating, display and
courtship in the more civilized environments of my native world, Earth.
It marks the end of a childhood when a girl is first sent to the circle. 44 -45-46
“A Ubar,” pointed out Telima, “need give no accounting, no explanation.”
I seized her by the arms, lifting her up and holding her before me.
She did not seem frightened.
“This time,” she asked, “will you perhaps throw me up the stairs?”
“The mouth of rence girls,” commented Clitus, “are said to be as large as the delta itself.”
“It is true,” said Telima.
I lowered her to her knees again. Raiders of Gor, page 95
I would suppose that on his rence island he was not used to receiving such attention and deference from beautiful females. Rence women, on the whole,
tend to be ill-tempered, frustrated and jealous of men. Many of them seem to feel that it is demeaning to them to be women. Many of them, it seems,
would rather be imitation men than true women. Nowadays, with the increasing numbers of female slaves in the delta, a tendency muchly resented by the
free females, though for whatever reason it is hard to imagine, given their claims of superiority to such creatures, many of the men, those lucky enough to
own a slave, are less frustrated and deprived than once they were wont to be. Rence women, incidentally, once they themselves are enslaved, and learn
that their absurdities and pretenses are now irrevocably behind them, make excellent slaves, as slavers have recognized for years. I have mentioned how
they come often come to the delta to bargain for women, usually extra daughters. Interestingly the daughters are usually eager to leave the rence. So,
too, are many other women, who propose themselves to their village chieftains, for such extradition. On some rence islands I have heard, incidentally, that
the men have revolted, and enslaved their women. These are usually kept in cord collars, with small disks attached to them, indicating the names of their
masters. Branding irons, usually with the common Kajira design, are now supposedly a trade item in the delta. These men are supposedly the most
dangerous of rencers, being the truest of men. A similar abundance and release of masculine energy, it seems, has taken place in Tharna, dating from the
overthrow of the gynocracy. Vagabonds of Gor, page 341