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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Dingmaul.
THE DINGMAUL (THE PLUNKUS)
Saxicatellus vociferens

          Well known the White Mountains. In fact, above timber line in the col between Mt. Adams and Mt. Jefferson of the Presidential Range there is a conspicious, flat-topped boulder which for many years has been “Dingmaul Rock."
          Conclusive, exhaustive researches have clealy proven the existence of two distinct varieties—The Northeastern (S.vociferens var. pulsens) Both varieties are cat-like, being long, slim, slick, sorry-looking gentlemen having wolf-like pelts. Their bodies are long, with short, powerful legs. As Irving Cobb has put it, “He's built low to the ground like a carpet-sweeper.” The head is round, sessile, feline, with tufted ears and glowing eyes. Neither variety is harmful, but both possess a curious, inquiring nature. They are fond of lying out in open, sunny spots, (the top of Dingmaul Rock for example), and carefully scrutinizing what goes on in the valley below.
          The tall is very long, frequently twice the length of the body; but the California variety caries a medium-sized bony ball on the end thereof. This is used to keep off flies, to pound on dead trees to produce supply of soft silvers for lining the nests, and, in the mating season to beat on the male’s chest to call his mate. The female also wears a ball a shade bigger than the male’s. But she Only uses it to bean him with when he gets too obstreperous.
          Ranger Bill Gott once watched one of the California variety galloping along the crest of the Siskiyous, with the ball lashing from side to side and striking the trees with tremendous force “That,” commented Ranger Bill, “is the biggest kindlin’ cat I ever saw.”
          The cry of the Eastern species is a dreadful horrendous wail, while the call of the Western variety sharply resembles the toot of a logging donkey. The females of both species invariably whelp on the top of a large, exposed rock.
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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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