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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          In sifting the host of letter sent me, I have tried to sort out such animals as seem to enjoy, or to have enjoyed, a fairly wide distribution. Creatures of limited range and only occasional appearance, unless possessed of highly unusual qualities have not been included. For instance, I think I should mention here, but without detailed description, the Cross-feathered Snee, Montana, which can exist only in subzero weather, the Linkumsinice, Maine, the Snow Worms, Washington, and the Timberdoodle of Pennsylvania, which bites savagely and won’t thereafter open his jaws until he hears thunder. With these should appear the Celofay of Maine. This is a unique beastie, and it is only after much consideration and chiefly because he doesn’t seem to be any too well vouched for that I have not accorded him a place among the “regulars.” He is a sort of phantom wildcat equipped with ventriloquistic powers, and can easily project his fearsome squall clear across a section, right up beside you, in fact Or he can reverse the situation and toss his ‘yowl into some distant cedar swamp while he stealthily stalks you with malicious intent. His name reveals his French-Canadian origin, being an obvious corruption of “C’est la fee.”
          To the foregoing should be added the Will-am-alone, Maine, a small, squirrel-like animal of playful but vicious tendencies. He loves to roll up little balls of poisonous fungi and drop them on the eyes or in the ears of sleeping woodsmen, causing strahge dreams. Parties well foxed with alcohol seem to be his especial prey. Then there is the Pomola, the Mount Katahdin area, the Wunk, mentioned in Riley’s poem “The Raggedy Man,” the fearsome Wendigo of Canada to which Dr. Drummond has devoted an entire poem, the Wympsis and the Whopperknocker. You can’t shoot this last-named fellow.

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His vision is so keen that he can see the sparks in the chamber of your rifle before the bullet leaves the muzzle.
          I have striven to confine myself wholly to the woods animals. There are numerous other fields open for similar exploration. The lore of the cow-camps, for example, is richly studded with glittering accounts of most peculiar varmints. But I have consciously not included any of these, finding plenty to do in my own territory, that of the logger and the lumberjack.
          To make proper and complete acknowledgment of the many courteous, interested and helpful suggestions I have had would fill a fair-sized volume. My most sincere thanks are herewith expressed to all of these good people who have helped make this book, and in particular to Mr. William T. Cox for permission to use certain information from his book “Fearsome Creatures of the Lumber Woods,” to Professor Fay Welch of the New York State College of Forestry Faculty, to Mr. B. B. Bickford, the veteran guide of Gorham, N. H., who has generously laid at my disposal his years of experience in the White Mountains, to Mr. Lake Shore Kearney for permission to employ certain abstracts from his book, “The Hodag,” to Mrs. P. M. Clemens for the fascinating data on the Yamhill Lunkus, and to Professor Charles E. Browne of the University of Wisconsin Faculty for a whole tote-load of accurate and authentic facts. Nor should I omit mention of the “Idaho Statesman” and Mr. N. C. Villeneuve, who has granted me leave to reprint both the story and the picture of that amazing feline, the Wampus Cat. Without the help of these, and literally dozens of other kindly folk, my collection would have remained a rather thin affair.

The Black Rock Forest,
New York, U.S.A.

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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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