I will admit that I was always one of those who has found "'A Story' by John V. Marsch" to be deeply puzzling. There are, of course, mysteries aplenty in "The Fifth Head of Cerberus", but in the latter story you can read and enjoy it on a much more basic level. The most basic plot — clone, grows up, tortured by father, murders father, takes over—is not hard to figure out. All the allusions, puzzles, etc, are enrichments to the reading, not prerequisites of it.
But with "A Story" I have found it otherwise. Every time I've read it — at least twice before this one, maybe thrice, I'm not sure — I've found it deeply mysterious, simply on what we Jews would call a pshat level: the basic understanding of what is going on.
All of which is to say that while I have (obviously!?) loved your podcast to date, this may have been the single most helpful episode for me yet. I particularly loved teasing out the various symbolisms, the parallels to Fifth Head (which I'm embarrassed to say escaped my notice before), the reading it against David's claims in Fifth Head, the addressing of the epigraph: it was all extremely useful. Above all, just going through the text that slowly was, I think, invaluable.
One thing I didn't quite follow was your discussion of names. You made some generalization about women's names, but (I think?) we only have one that we're sure of, "Cedar Branches Waving"; not much to go on. You also assert that Bloodyfinger and Flying Feet were men, which sounds plausible, but I don't see that we're told. Maybe we just need to wait until we have more on this? And why "Cedar Branches Waving"? That's a big, juicy name, given right up front in the story, but you didn't say much about it.
A few small points:
• The bit about Eastwind and Sandwalker reminded me of Alice and the Red King, with each dreaming each other. (Conceivably even an intentional echo.) I would say that just from the first few pages, it's unclear if Eastwind exists at all; that he might be simply a dream of Sandwalker.
• Glenn speculates that perhaps twins are always born. That contradicts the bit in paragraph three: "His grandmother was holding his brother, not knowing that two were to be born, and for that reason his feet beat the ground for a time with no one to draw him forth."
• Brandon says the first novella "somewhat inexplicably" on the abos , given that it was originally meant to stand on its own. That's what I was trying to explain in my comment on your Novella #1 wrap-up episode — possibly inadequately, but that was my guess, anyway.
Can't wait to listen to more — although, given Passover, I will have to. Soon, though, soon — Until then, a good holiday to all with holidays to celebrate this weekend.