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Paul Muad'Dib Calling His First Sandworm (by John Schoenherr)
"The hawk and the mouse are the same!"

Muad'Dib was the name adopted by Paul Atreides after he was accepted by the Fremen as one of their own.


The symbolic definition is broader in complexity.

It was part the chosen name of manhood that Paul selected when he was accepted into the Fremen. It was one of two names that Paul maintained within the tribe. Stilgar explained that the first, Usul, meant "strength of the base of the pillar". That was his secret name, his troop name, that only Sietch Tabr could use and none other may presume.

The second name, Muad'Dib, is that by which Paul was known openly. Paul's choice of the name pleased and impressed Stilgar, and other Fremen of Sietch Tabr.

"Muad'Dib is wise in the ways of the desert. Muad'Dib creates his own water. Muad'Dib hides from the sun and travels in the cool night. Muad'Dib is fruitful and multiplies over the land. Muad'Dib we call 'instructor-of-boys.' That is a powerful base on which to build your life, Paul-Muad'Dib."


Although the English pronunciation of this word calls for a long "i", there is an almost exact word in Arabic like it (Mu'adib), which means "private tutor" or "teacher". It used to be that the Caliphs, the rulers of the Muslim world, would hire a Mu'adib to teach their children. The practice seemed to be common for other strata of society as well.


Paul was reluctant to throw away his full past and get rid of the full name his father gave him, which is why he first wished to be called Paul-Muad'Dib. Unfortunately, this name was soon forgotten and became simply "Muad'dib". Also, it was hoped that by keeping the name his father gave him, he could prevent the mass slaughter that would occur later in his name. Sadly, he could not.

The meanings of both Usul and Muad'Dib have powerful ramifications and foreshadowing for the purpose Paul has on Arrakis.

After escaping the successful invasion of Arrakis by House Harokonnen, and proving their value to the Fremen, Paul and his mother Jessica Atreides, were accepted into Sietch Tabr by the Naib, Stilgar.

Paul was instructed to take a Fremen word as his new name. While lost in the deep desert prior to being intercepted by Stilgar and his clan, Paul had spotted a small but nimble creature foraging on a rock outcrop. The creature had been a desert mouse. Upon asking the name of the creature, and being told it was called "Muad'Dib" by the native Fremen, he chose it as his new name.

His choice in name was also marginally influenced by the prescient visions he had begun to have after arriving on Dune. In one recurring vision he saw throngs of Fremen chanting the word "Muad'Dib" at him in a subservient manner.

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