Saturday, 9 August 2008

The Countrymans Guide to Moorland Fauna by Caractacus Shroom

Sadly out of print for several of the most useful guidebooks ever about the Westcountry. A couple of extracts:

No-one is completely sure of the primary origins of the were-sheep. It is presumed that isolated rural practises involving oversize wellies, something ovine and woolly, attractive enough in the tail department to resemble one's cousin, coupled with confused pagan sexuality on a baleful full moon come the end of October, are all probably implicated somewhere down the line.

Evidence is sparse for their continuing existence in these days of ever encroaching human populations. However, enough chewed and bloody carcasses of farm labourers and big wild cats are found dragged into the higher branches of trees to suppose that the genus ovis sapien is still active in the wilder and more remote moorland regions.

Pasty Spiders:
These buggers are rare but big. We're talking boulder-sized big. Not an unfair analogy considering it is under boulders and rocks (big ones mind) that the pasty spider is want to lurk.

Named for their choice of diet, the pasty spider occupies a unique position in the Cornish food chain. Early encounters were in the deep shafts and addits of medieval tin mines. They would scuttle from a side tunnel with enough speed and mass to bear a fully grown miner to the ground and make off with his crib-box. Many an unsuspecting worker at the tin-face lost his lunch, as well as the occassional eyeball and pit pony to the pastix arachnis subterraeniae.

With the decline of the tin industry the pasty spider is now increasingly rare. The few breeding pairs that are known to exist prey fairly exclusively upon lost ramblers, sheep and the occassional small dog. The disused and often unmapped addits of the mines still provide their main abode and means of travel beneath the countryside, giving access to surface food sources in the remote moorland regions.

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