Palanquin

n. A covered litter for one passenger consisting of a large box and two poles carried by four to six passengers (Oxford American Dictionary).

Everyone has seen one of these.  Until last week, I never had a name for them.  My wife and I were carrying our daughter up a flight of stairs in her stroller.  She struck me like a young Indian rani being carted to her wedding.  Sadly, I didn’t have the word for the image in my head.  Litter came to mind, and while it might be an acceptable word, the term seems to be more commonly used for stretchers.

Serendipity shined upon me though.  The term was featured multiple times in Ariana Franklin’s Mistress of the Art of Death as the mode of transport for political and religious leaders.

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