Henry H. Tryon's
“ F E A R S O M E   C R I T T E R S
( 70th A N N I V E R S A R Y   H Y P E R T E X T   E D I T I O N )

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Deformis corniger lacrimans

          Reported in Maine many years past, and in 1895 captured and positively identified near Rhinelander, Wisconsin, by Mr. E. S. Shepard, the Hodag is indubitably one of the best-known of the larger and more dangerous woods varmints. It is now very rare, probably owing to the increased use of lemons in cookery, for Hodags and citrus fruits are in the same ratio as wolves and wolfbane—probably more so.
          A distressingly ugly animal. The knobbledy head wears a pair of prominent, bulging eyes and two heavy lateral horns something after the fashion of a male stag-beetle. The claws are stout and powerful, the tail carries a terminal hook, while a row of jagged, stegosaurian dorsal spines complete the picture. The smaller front teeth were formerly often used for umbrella handles.
          The Hodag is fully aware of his upsetting appearance, and is given to frequent fits of bitter weeping. I once had a handful of the extremely rare crystallized Hodag tears, but an acquisitive lady friend collected them, believing them to be fine amber. She had them strung into a neck-yoke—and then went and spilled a Tom Collins on herself. Of course the lemon juice dissolved them instantly.
          This fellow can’t endure being laughed at. When angry, he is fierce and dangerously aggressive. But a pair of lemons is ample protection against a whole herd.

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Fearsome Critters, Written by Henry H. Tryon • Illustrated by Margaret R. Tryon
(Cornwall, NY: Idlewild Press, 1939) Original Text and Illustrations Public Domain License.
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