People often notice that language helps them think — and then they sometimes ask, Are there other ways to think besides in language? Doubtless a good question; but that, I think, is not the way to ask it. What the question means is, Are there languages to think in other than the ones in which we talk? And the answer is, Of course! There are the languages of mathematics, the languages of music, languages of colour, shape and gesture. Language is what something becomes when you think in it. Life as we know it thinks, it seems, in nucleic acids. The forest thinks in trees and their associated life forms: asters, grasses, mosses, fungi, and the creatures who move through them, from annelids and arthropods to thrushes, jays and deer. Humans often, but not always, think in words and sentences. Ideas, according to Marx, do not exist apart from language. Many others say the same. They are asserting that the only way to think is in the speech of human beings. The entire natural world stands as proof that this is false. Yet in a broader sense — a sense that is equally alien both to Marxist and to capitalist values — I suspect the claim is true: where there are ideas, there is language. Mythtellers, however, are prone to remember (and writers to forget) that the languages of words are not the only kind of human language, and that the languages spoken by humans are only a small subset of language as a whole. Some deeply human stories tell us this is so.