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The Independent Culture
THEY SAY a cat has nine lives, but what if it is a reincarnating cat? We wondered who might come back as what, and why.

James A. Kelly reminds us that the Dalai Lama always comes back as . . . the Dalai Lama, and wonders whether he is in an occupational Panchen scheme? Claire Dalby suspects Dolly the Sheep will come back as . . . Dolly the Sheep - and thinks huntsmen should come back as foxes, so they can experience the real thrill of the chase. Bruce Birchall suggests Tantalus is now a jaded businessman in a lap-dancing club, the Delphic Oracle is a pack of Tarot cards and the Minotaur is an ecstasy tablet.

Clair Hubble has Orpheus become Jacques Cousteau, Croesus become Bill Gates and Zeus become Bill Clinton. Martin Brown has the Liberal Party come back as the National Grid, as it is their only chance of ever achieving power. Andrew Duncan has Ronnie Corbett reappear as the Beanstalk Giant, so he can tell some really tall stories. Susan Tomes has Tony Blair come back as St Teresa of Avila, so he will know what it is like to have a vision.

T.M. O'Grady has stick insects reborn as fashion models and Medusa as a Rastafarian. Katy Selisko has the paparazzi come back as a pack of wolves. Megan Conway thinks cats and mice should change places in their future lives, and Elise Rumary thinks Satan and God could do likewise. Katie Watsham thinks that all males should come back as females and see what it's like. Eleanor Hughes thinks pigs should return as ballerinas.

Matthew White sees Lionel Jospin come back as a Beefeater, and Eric Bridgstock has Lord Beeching as a redundant train driver. P.B. Thomas has Ian Paisley as a church mouse and Robert Maxwell as a member of Buoyzone. Sue Johnson has compulsive gossips return as Trappist monks, while Mike Gifford has Mike Tyson return as Vincent van Gogh, and thinks Louis XIV must once have been a moggy ("Le chat, c'est moi!").

Peter Holmes reckons that, if John Prescott's transport policies work, then he won't mind being reincarnated as a hedgehog.

Bruce Birchall, Martin Brown, Clair Hubble, Eleanor Hughes and Katy Selisko each win a copy of Chambers Dictionary of Quotations. (We had two more to recycle.)

Raymond Briggs's lovable grumbling, swearing, Father Christmas character was apparently based on his own father, a postman, and his understandable reluctance to go out in snow and blizzards. We wondered who or what might have been the inspiration for Briggs's other comic masterpiece, Fungus the Bogeyman?

Suggestions to Loki.Valhalla@btinternet.oom or Creativity, Features, The Independent, 1 Canada Square, London E14 5DL by Wednesday 15 December (Loki's first birthday). Results and three more Chambers prizes on 21 December.

Next week: Now you see it, now you don't: what some people would rather were hid from view.