William T. Cox's
“ F E A R S O M E   C R E A T U R E S   O F   T H E   L U M B E R W O O D S
( 100th 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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(Saltipiscator falcorostratus.)

        If you have ever paddled around Boundary Pond, in north- west Maine, at night you have probably heard from out the black depths of a cove a spat like a paddle striking the water. It may have been a paddle, but the chances are ten to one that it was a billdad fishing. This animal occurs only on this one pond, in Hurricane Township. It is about the size of a beaver, but has long, kangaroo-like hind legs, short front legs, webbed feet, and a heavy, hawk-like bill. Its mode of fishing is to crouch on a grassy point overlooking the water, and when a trout rises for a bug, to leap with amazing swiftness just past the fish, bringing its heavy, flat tail down with a resounding smack over him. This stuns the fish, which is immediately picked up and eaten by the billdad. It has been reported that sixty yards is an average jump for an adult male.
        Up to three years ago the opinion was current among lumber jacks that the billdad was fine eating, but since the beasts are exceedingly shy and hard to catch no one was able to remember having tasted the meat. That fall one was killed on Boundary Pond and brought into the Great Northern Paper Company's camp on Hurricane Lake, where the cook made a most savory slumgullion of it. The first (and only) man to taste it was Bill Murphy, a tote-road swamper from Ambegegis. After the first mouthful his body stiffened, his eyes glazed, and his hands clutched the table edge. With a wild yell he rushed out of the cook-house, down to the lake, and leaped clear out fifty yards, coming down in a sitting posture—exactly like a billdad catching a fish. Of course, he sank like a stone. Since then not a lumber jack in Maine will touch billdad meat, not even with a pike pole.

Page Forty-Three.

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Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods, With a Few Desert and Mountain Beasts
Written by William T. Cox • Illustrated by Coert Du Bois • With Latin Classifications by George B. Sudworth
(Washington: Judd & Detweiler, Inc., 1910) Original Text and Illustrations Public Domain License.
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