I've been reading"Huck Finn" with my sophomores for over ten years and we've been mystified by the scene where Jim's face is painted blue to accompany the"sick Arab" sign. Recently, during a presentation on the Crusades, a slide was shown. An Arab with a blue face was contending with a crusader. Can you or anyone shed some light on whatever connection there may be here?
The only book I have on hand on the Crusades is Runciman's splendid history, but I find nothing helpful there. Any answers to Mr. McDaniel's query?
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Richard Henry Morgan - 7/16/2004
Brian might be onto something. Tuaregs are known as the Blue Men, from their dress. But there's another possibility. Kaposi's Sarcoma is often described as blue-red, and is found mostly (before AIDS) in people of Near Eastern and Mediterranean descent.
Brian Ulrich - 7/16/2004
Maybe its some sort of cultural confusion with the Tuaregs?