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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Side-Hill Gouger.
Membriinequales declivitatis

          We’ve had a good bit of perceptibly acrimonious discusion as to the correct vulgate name of this engaging little animal. Some Easterners say “Side-hill Badger,” some Californians insist that “Side-hill Winder” is correct, there are some vigorous proponents of “Godaphro,” “Prock,” and “Side-hill Wowser,” while a few technical parties claim that “Gyascutus” is the one and only. The majority, of the pleadings are in favor of the “Gouger,” so We’ll stand on that.
          Always a dweller in hilly county. He has to be, since his nigh legs are shorter than the off pair. There are six to eight pups in a litter, and once in a great while some of them arrive with the relationship reversed. After being weaned, these sports are rarely seen again by their orthodox-legged, brothers and sisters. Normal Gougers must obviously, travel around the hillside, and in making their daily rounds for food they wear the characteristic, partly gouged-out paths so familiar to woodsmen. These paths were once very common in New England, but to-day they are thought to be most frequently seen in the partly forested regions of the West.
          I am indebted to Mr. Bill Ericsson of North Haven, Maine, (and various other points) for the following account of how the Gouger population migrated from New England, “It Seems,” said Bill, “that the Gouger population was getting too thick. There warn’t enough food to go around and somebody just had to move out. A pair of these ambitious little varmints, one orthodox, one abnormal-legged, got together and decided to strike out for a new location. Of Course they could navigate on the hillsides and slopes all right; but they knew mighty well they’d bog down, on the flats, so when they struck level going they just leaned against each other with the longer legs ###################################
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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.
Copyright © 2006-2014 Thrill Land.