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The Bison's Tale
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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


Such queer characters! What a strange and picturesque party! How, I wondered, would I ever paint their portraits? Only through rhyme, I reasoned. And yet... and yet my choppy, chirping verse fails, as you see, to do it with any great art. Well, these ARE the twenty beasts I found in the forest.

But the locusts! I'm forgetting them completely. And Pagoda! Perhaps she didn't die. She may be alive even now wondering what happened to me.


Dear Pagoda,

Where oh where are you? Alive or... No, I refuse to think of it! I can only imagine you flying by my side, singing and reciting poetry. What were those monsters who attacked us so viciously? Curse the fate that hurled you to the bottom of a burning ditch and flung me across an ocean wide! And now I have my claws full in this crazy place. A turtle and a swallow salivate when they see me, for in this strange land a cricket is a tasty morsel for a reptile or bird. The other pilgrims wrangle too: the bear tackles the salmon, the frog is hopping mad at the butterfly, the toad throws ugly looks at the moth, the spider conspires with frog and toad to... Ah, it's a hornet's nest of turmoil!

This evening at camp the bison tells his tale, for he drew the short straw. And so MY tale for this time, my dear Pagoda. But I write it with hardly any hope that you'll see it. Are you alive and jumping? Even if so, how will this ever find you? What carrier pigeon can deliver a letter to a locust lost in a burning ditch?

Yet I dream of the day we'll fly together again...

LOVE,
Your Cricket

All bickering and backbiting ceased the moment we learned the bison was ready to tell his tale. We were camped near a waterfall. It was a night wanting a moon and misty too. Happily, a few stars peeped forth, and by them the bat was able to guide and gather us into a circle. Foremost stood that deep-voiced brute of a bison. And he began in this fashion:

The Bison Speaks

Since I have leave to speak I will be blunt and bold. I am a plain beast. I did not go to a fancy school like the salmon. I do not jump around scribbling verse all day long like the cricket. Bovine they call me. And what does that mean? Sluggish and dull! We bison are stupid, no doubt you have you have heard. Bull will follow cow and cow bull; none will think at all for themselves. Yes, you know the hearsay: that if the beast before sinks into quicksand, the brute behind will march with him to a wet sandy death. And if we had been of more nimble wit we could have steered clear of those killers who made mincemeat of us. I'm sure every animal here has heard all this gossip. It is a widespread belief in the animal world that the bison is no fox for intelligence.

Yet listen to my tale. Just as I put my heart into winning our story-telling contest, so I set my teeth to convince you - sink or swim! - bison are not dumb!

Bison are not dumb!

Perhaps you have heard that in the dim distant past there was no land - only water, and on the water just three living things. One was a gigantic duck, and next to it two spirits. Floating in a stupor for a flow of time beyond measure, the two spirits grew weary. Infinite hours of boredom made them miserable. And so they called upon the duck to dive down in the water and return with mud. The duck did so and with the mud the spirits shaped a dry cake. Casting it on the water they made the land.

Then with clumps of dried mud from a second cake the spirits sculpted the figure of a magnificent being. Many such were formed: the first creatures on earth - the bison.

First Creatures on Earth