My Life Among The Dogs Who Like To Bother Writers

…at least they’re usually cute while doing it.

The Doclopedia # 496

The Potawango Island Bestiary, Part One: Six Legged Hamsters

From the notebook of Dr. Thaddeus Silkmelon:

Our camp cook, Mrs. Hardapple, has informed me that we need to move our provisions into stouter containers due to encroachment by the ever hungry and devilishly fast Six Legged Hamsters of Potawango Island. These wee beasts, just a bit larger than ordinary Syrian, or as they are more often called, Golden Hamsters, are darker in coloration and, as the name implies, have six legs instead of four. This allows them great speed, which has so far confounded the efforts of both Mrs. Hardapple’s cat, Fanny, and my dog, Percy, in catching any of them. Not surprising since the hamsters can reach 40 miles an hour on level ground and can turn on a dime.

Like all hamsters they place large amounts of food, primarily seeds and nuts, into their cheek pouches to take back to their burrows. In our case, the food ranges from bread to beef jerky. Mrs. Hardapple, never an overly genteel woman, has taken to cursing in languages other than American English. We shall try devising some traps to try and alleviate her frustration.

The Doclopedia # 497

The Potawango Island Bestiary, Part One: Singing Crabs

From the notebook of Dr. Thaddeus Silkmelon:

I am informed by Abner and Miss Abigail that they have discovered another new species here on the island. In this case, it would seem to be a large species of land crab that is capable of singing! Oh, will the marvels of flora and fauna on this island never cease amazing me?

As Abner tells it, they were walking along the trail that leads to the so far unexplored highlands when they heard the sound of a barbershop quartet singing “When We Stroll Under The Apple Trees”. Upon closer inspection, they say a group of 24 of the large land crabs gathered around a Puddingfruit bush. While most of them ate, a foursome was singing various popular songs from about 30 years ago. Miss Abigail noted that they were in perfect harmony and did not miss a word. She also took note of their color, a swirling of deep blue and deep green and the fact that they looked to weigh between 5 and 10 pounds each.

After a short while, when the crabs had paused, Abner began singing, “When The Yanks Come Home!”, to see if the crabs would imitate him. Like I did upon hearing the era from which they were first singing tunes, Abner surmised that they must have learned these songs from The doomed expedition of Captain Grackle and Professor Thubbley.

Sure enough, after hearing Abner run through the song twice, the crabs began to sing it. Abner, never shy about exhibiting his vocal talents, then spent the better part of 90 minutes teaching them a great many popular songs, as well as a few of our old college fight songs. I’m also told that Miss Abigail taught them a few hymns and at least as many slightly bawdy songs.

Tomorrow, I shall go see them myself, taking our own Captain Booly with me so as to teach the crabs many songs popular with sailors.


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