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July 10, 2005

Volume 3, Issue 10

Jorge Luis Borges, one of the finest writers to walk the Earth, published in 1967 El libro de los seres imginarios (The Book of Imaginary Beings), based on an earlier work called Manual de zoología fantástica from 1957.

In this work he described a great many fantastic beasts from literature and from his own imagination. Your task is to envision a new entry for the catalog of imagined creatures. It can be either from literature or completely made up. I suggest check out a few entries at the link above. Enjoy!

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The Eschatologist: The Exploding Carp of Huang Wei

First encountered over 2200 years ago along a small fishing village on the Yellow River, the Exploding Carp was believed to be a omen of impending doom. If caught properly, much like the blowfish, it can provide a tasty and exciting delicacy. Unfortunately, many Han dynasty chefs learned quickly about this delicious but dangerous fish. Over the years, it had seen use in battle by the forces of the Forbidden City against Mongol incursion, who had no fish defense. The philosopher Qi Yuan cautions against gifting the fish, as a Japanese Emperor discovered sheepishly when his imperial carp gardens were destroyed.

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Tanya: Geiselology

Once found in great numbers, the Lorax made its home within the trunk of an unusual species of tree. Thus they were originally confused with dryads, in much the same nearsighted way that mermaids were once mistaken for manatees. On closer inspection, however, there was very little similarity; Dryads being tall, lithe, and lovely, while Lorax is a small, furry brown creature with sad eyes.

Early in the 21st century, activists rounded up the endangered Lorax to "protect" them. They were removed from their truffula trees, and smuggled to a sanctuary in Nebraska. Within a week, the Lorax was extinct.

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Ted: Endangered?

The Greater and Lesser curly horned frogs are native to two ponds in Florida. The Greater makes the distinct sound that some have likened to the sound of rocks rolling in a velvet-lined steel drum. It is also diurnal, doing most it's hunting and mating in the daytime while spending the night singng.

The Lesser, though smaller, has a much larger horn. It makes no croak whatsoever. It's preferred prey is the Greater curly horned frog.

When the area around the ponds was slated for development, the cement trucks were attacked mercilessly resulting in the death of over twenty drivers.

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Stacy: Das Toad

The Boot Toad of central Florida is a rarely seen creature. It prefers small, dank places, and thus naturally gravitates to the footwear left outdoors by unwary homeowners. Snuggling down into the toe area, it weathers the heat of Florida days, venturing out at night to feed on insect life.

Sporting a poisonous spike on the back of it's head, the Boot Toad has stricken down more than one individual as they attempted to shoe themselves. Florida homeowners are encouraged to cease leaving their footwear outdoors, or at least, turn them upside down to discourage inhabitance by this venomous creature.

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Michele: Catcher Faerie

My name is Pretat and I am a catcher faerie.

Every few months a faerie - most often a child - will escape through the portal. Child faeries are naturally curious and it’s understandable why they go. Who doesn’t want to see how humans live and work and play?

But we must not mingle. It is dangerous to try to mix among the humans. They are unpredictable and prone to violence and things of that nature. So it is my job to go through the portal and fetch the foolish ones.

Sometimes the job is easy. Sometimes, I must take drastic measures.

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From the Comments: Allah

The Inuits called it muklukluk. An ordinary fish in all respects, except for the mysterious pigment that colored its scales a brilliant emerald green.

The pigment had an unusual property, they discovered: it made the fish taste differently to people depending upon their moods. Spite, hate, anger, and bitterness made muklukluk taste sweet. Love tasted salty.

It became a staple of Inuit wedding ceremonies, the couple's love confirmed when they took their first bite and felt a burst of saline.

That was their last bite, too. No couple ate muklukluk after their wedding day. The sweetness would have been unbearable.

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