Orra Facts anent Merk o the Pharaoh

This Tintin adventure is called Les Cigares du Pharaon in the original French. In Scots, the title is The Merk o the Pharaoh, in allusion to the central image in the story, the symbol of Kih-Oskh – and also because it sounds suitably sinister!

The name of Pharaoh Kih-Oskh is a pun on ‘kiosk’. Hergé chose this name in allusion to the kiosks or news-stands where the first Tintin comics were sold.

The half-heard conversation between Tintin and Professor Cartouche, at sea in their floating sarcophagi, is an allusion to a well-known Scots joke, based on the phrase aw ae oo, meaning ‘all to the same purpose’ (literally, ‘all one wool’). It was published as follows in the 19th century by E.B. Ramsay, and much repeated since: Customer (inquiring the material), Oo? Shopman. Ay, oo. Cus. A’ oo? Shop. Ay, a’ oo. Cus. A’ ae oo? Shop. Ay, a’ ae oo.