Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Curious creatures

In James Thurber's The Beast in Me and Other Animals, published in 1948, there was a collection of drawings which he called A New Natural History, featuring such creatures as the Hopeless Quandary.....

...the Whitefaced Rage and the Blind Rage.

I wonder whether Thurber got the idea from A Phenomenal Fauna by Carolyn Wells, with pictures by Oliver Hereford, which came out in 1901. I discovered this charming old children's picture book today in Project Gutenberg, where it was posted this week as an addition to its library of 100,000 free downloadable books. Here is the Brick Bat and its accompanying verse:
Oft through the stillness of the summer night
We see the Brick Bat take his rapid flight.
And, with unerring aim, descending straight,
He meets a cat on the back garden gate.
The little Brick Bat could not fly alone,—
Oh, no; there is a power behind the thrown.

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