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It was my usual charge in and grope my way in the dark. I needed some things from the office, so I felt for the right shaped key, found the lock – turned the knob and entered the dark cave I call my study. I reached out my hands and felt around the desk. Bother – I’ll have to put the light on. Click goes the switch and – 6 inches from my nose dangling on an invisible thread is this:

Well, we just stared at each other for about 30 seconds. I think I won because the huntsman aka triantelope abseiled up his rope and disappeared behind a rafter. Nothing to be afraid of – they are quite harmless and will even eat meat morsels proffered by hand.

It reminded me of this piece of doggerel by C J Dennis:

There’s a very funny insect that you do not often spy,
And it isn’t quite a spider, and it isn’t quite a fly;
It is something like a beetle, and a little like a bee,
But nothing like a wooly grub that climbs upon a tree.
Its name is quite a hard one, but you’ll learn it soon, I hope.
So try:
Tri-
Tri-anti-wonti-
Triantiwontigongolope.

It lives on weeds and wattle-gum, and has a funny face;
Its appetite is hearty, and its manners a disgrace.
When first you come upon it, it will give you quite a scare,
But when you look for it again, you find it isn’t there.
And unless you call it softly it will stay away and mope.
So try:
Tri-
Tri-anti-wonti-
Triantiwontigongolope.

It trembles if you tickle it or tread upon its toes;
It is not an early riser, but it has a snubbish nose.
If you snear at it, or scold it, it will scuttle off in shame,
But it purrs and purrs quite proudly if you call it by its name,
And offer it some sandwiches of sealing-wax and soap.
So try:
Tri-
Tri-anti-wonti-
Triantiwontigongolope .

But of course you haven’t seen it; and I truthfully confess
That I haven’t seen it either, and I don’t know its address.
For there isn’t such an insect, though there really might have been
If the trees and grass were purple, and the sky was bottle green.
It’s just a little joke of mine, which you’ll forgive, I hope.
Oh, try!
Tri-
Tri-anti-wonti-
Triantiwontigongolope.

 

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