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The Poet's Introduction
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Table of Contents
Translator with Jeffrey
PROLOGUE
The Locusts on Migration
Migration: Page Two
Migration: Page Three
Migration: Page Four
The Poet's Introduction
Intro: Page Two
Intro: Page Three
Intro: Page Four
Intro: Page Five
Intro: Page Six
Intro: Page Seven
Intro: Page Eight
Intro: Page Nine
Intro: Page Ten
Intro: Page Eleven
Intro: Page Twelve
Intro: Page Thirteen
The Bison's Tale
Bison: Page Two
Bison: Page Three
Bison: Page Four
The Serpent's Tale
Serpent: Page Two
Serpent: Page Three
Serpent: Page Four
Serpent: Page Five
The Salmon's Tale
Salmon: Page Two
Salmon: Page Three
A Whale of a Tale
Whale: Page Two
Whale: Page Three
Whale: Page Four
Whale: Page Five
Whale: Page Six
Whale: Page Seven
Whale: Page Eight
Whale: Page Nine
The Hummingbird's Tale
Hummingbird: Page Two
Hummingbird: Page Three
Hummingbird: Page Four
Hummingbird: Page Five
Hummingbird: Page Six
The Tern's Tale
Tern: Page Two
Tern: Page Three
Tern: Page Four
Contact the Author
The Cricketary Tales of Jeffrey Jawser

I lay still as death and might have lied so forever had not a booming voice roused me.

"Birds, insects, hairy beasts - listen to me!"

But who is speaking?

"Here's my idea, short and to the point. Each of us, to make our trip go quickly, shall tell a story during our migration."

Where am I? Stunned, I rub my eyes. Then I see a bunch of animals with a big brown one speaking.

"The one who tells the best story - whoever teaches and amuses most - shall get his heart's wish or see her dream come true. Yes, when we reach our destination. Come, fish and fowl: don't be so shy. How about you, bear and caribou? Shall we hike in dumb silence? Can we plod on mute as stones? No! Let us sing and tell tales - campers' merry tales. Who shall begin? Here: let us draw straws.

Straw? I am sprawled in straw. And I ache all over. That storm, the ocean... A cold wind dumped me here! And now his hot air rouses me from my dreams. What dreams! Wet dreams: Pagoda's pheromones, phantom perfumes of my mind making my mandibles water. Yes, wet dreams: nightmarish sweats over the beatings, the screams, the crushed eggs, the trench of fire that was Pagoda's grave.

But I do hear every syllable of this booming speech. Or am I dreaming now too? No, there he is - a big, brown, elk-like beast. He HAD spoken, and "insect" was his very second word.

Now he stoops to gather straw. Still weak from my ordeal, I cannot jump away. And so when that beast bids each friend to choose a straw from his outstretched paw, how surprised are they all to see a cricket clinging to a stalk - yes, me!

Where Am I?

Ah, reader dear, please give me space and time.
My story in all justice demands rhyme.
It only stands to reason I should write
In VERSE the nature, looks and appetite
Of these strange beasts if snob or democrat.
And I'll begin by telling of a bat.
A bat there was who topsy-turvy swings,
Of all mammals the only one with wings.
Fruit he ate and pollen from the flowers,
But he would only dine nocturnal hours.
A big brown knight of darkness who could brawl,
And truth to tell I'd say he had it all:
Sonar and huge ears for navigation -
No better voyager in all migration.

Drawing by Robert M. McClung

With him there soared a swan, as white in hue
As bat was brown. These two together flew
So the swan could try his flying skills in strife.
For this old cob had flown just with his wife,
His pen of forty years: for life they mate.
In many pond and stream did they copulate!
No music in those swans - their dialogue
Was hiss and grunt; they barked like any dog.

Trumpeter Swans

A yeoman there was, one who grazed the grass.
But he was the last of his kind, alas.
The largest beast in this new world was he.
Sixty million strong once his family.
Fifty miles long his herd stretched forth
When bulls and cows and calves migrated north.
"Let me speak first!" Thus with hump-shouldered yell
The bison roared. "I have a tale to tell."

"Let me speak first!"