Pale Fire Easter Egg - Buried Treasure

One of the plot elements in Vladimir Nabokov's frolicksome novel, "Pale Fire," is the Crown Jewels of the kingdom of Zembla, hidden away during the upset of the revolution, and searched for by incompetent Russians who never find them. In the bizarre index to the book, prepared by its supposed author, the insane Charles Kinbote, when one comes to the entry, "Crown Jewels," it says "see Hiding Place;" and at "Hiding Place" it says "_potaynik_ (q.v.);" at _potaynik_ it says "_taynik_ (q.v.);" at _Taynik_ it says "Russ., secret place; see Crown Jewels."

The book never does reveal where the Crown Jewels are hidden.

In an interview, however, an interview given some years after the book was published, and printed as No. 6 in Nabokov's "Strong Opinions," the last question of the interviewer is "[W]here, please, are the crown jewels hidden.?" And VN replies, "In the ruins, sir, of some old barracks near Kobaltana (q.v.); but do not tell it to the Russians."

If one consults the Index to "Pale Fire" one finds "Kobaltana," and reads:

"_Kobaltana_, a once fashonable mountain resort near the ruins of some old barracks now a cold and desolate spot of difficult access and of no importance but still remembered in military families and forest castles, not in the text."

Waggish VN!

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Contributed By: rwelch on 08-30-2000
Reviewed By: Webmaster
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Comments

The crown jewels are actually not hidden at Kobaltana. I know where they are, and am very curious to find out if any other attentive readers have also found them. It is quite amazing that though this book has been reviewed and analyzed for about 40 years, nobody has yet disclosed its secret. Email me (Makhinam@yahoo.com) if you have found the jewels and would like to discuss the book.
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