Cautionary Fables for Darwin’s Birthday (2018)

by Mike Bendzela

ScreenHunter_2964 Feb. 12 16.19Tribes

In the spacious class of mammalian vertebrates, antagonism arose between the egg-laying monotremes and the marsupials. Neither aspect may perhaps well peek the loads of by itself terms, every insisting it changed into once the Appropriate kind Mammal.

An opossum (Didelphis) complained, “The platypus is a monstrous pretender! It won’t admit that it is a failed duck, a builder of nests and hatcher of puggles, unable to hover!”

For its piece, the platypus (Ornithorhynchus) sought revenge on the marsupials by sowing doubt about their child-rearing skills: “We’ve seen the opossum abandon its newborn babies at birth! The downhearted issues are doomed to forage for a nipple and dwell in a pocket!”

Stunning: Exact misrepresentation is the executive hazard of tribal membership.

Show screen Lizard versus Cobra

Some observe lizards (Varanus) that had been adverse to the increasing presence of cobras (Ophiophagus) of their midst, held a public meeting to air their issues. One outspoken lizard talked about to those gathered, “Fellow Lizards! The cobras intend to encompass us, defeat us, and resolve our land. Nevertheless they won’t conclude there; we all know the way snakes are. If we don’t operate one thing rapid, they’ll swallow all our young!” Infected by this speech, the lizards rapid mobilized. They sought out the snakes, surrounded them, and defeated them. Nevertheless for reasons no one has been able to fathom, the triumphant lizards then devoured every snake egg they may perhaps get.

Stunning: The most unpleasant acts will possible be dedicated within the establish of preventing depravity.

To Be a Bat

The odd sciurid wished to be admitted to the say Chiroptera, “for the Aves appropriate giggle at me,” he talked about. This flying squirrel had staged several demonstrations for the many orders of birds; however the songbirds and the woodpeckers mobbed him and chased him off, whereas the falcons and owls tried to bear close him. The sciurid bought away on every occasion.

The bats may perhaps well peek his point. The sciurid changed into once as furry, warm-blooded, and winged as they had been. Sciurids shared about a of the bats’ dietary habits, fed at night, and nursed their young. Nevertheless the bats had been aloof left scratching their heads. So, they offered the sciurid a trial membership to peek how he would fare as a Chiropteran.

It changed into once soon apparent the flying squirrel may perhaps well now not produce as effectively as the bats. They’d perhaps conclude aloft for hours, and they also cleverly located their prey by sound somewhat than discover. The flying squirrel may perhaps well operate none of this. Nevertheless the sciurid did plot how effectively to loathe.

The barn in which the bats dwelt changed into once timid by a feral felid that snapped up any pups that fell from the rafters and even swatted adults appropriate out of the air. In a uncover for space, the flying squirrel swooped down on the cat to be martyred on behalf of the Chiropterans.

Stunning: Neighborhood identity is a mindless fiction that robs us of autonomy.


The spacious albatross (Diomedea) preened herself in front of a penguin (Spheniscus) that bobbed in chilly waters attain the rock on which the spacious rooster stood. “She have to the truth is feel pretty silly,” the albatross inferred upon seeing the penguin’s pitiful fin stumps. “Is she fish or beast? I don’t instruct even she knows.” The spacious rooster persisted straightening its honest feathers.

Accurate then the penguin launched out of the water and with addled gait took up a stance on the rock now not some distance from the loads of rooster, and she or he started preening in like manner. Because the penguin drove its beak into the stubby feathers of its breast, and picked around below its forelimb, and shook its head impulsively aid and forth, the albatross acknowledged, with anguish, that those unlucky fin stumps had been wings appropriate like her bear; and, cantilevering her capacious wings over the edge of the rock, the scandalized rooster took her preening someplace else.

Stunning: Homology is the final humiliation for folk that mediate they are above nature’s dross.

A Pastoral Parable

On the barren slopes dwell the shepherds. These within the valleys below elevate swine.

The herders are seasonal: they lunge with the herds of sheep. From the hills, they’ll peek down on the swineherds below.

“How loathsome, the sedentary life, living deep within the clefts of the hills,” sniffs one shepherd to 1 other. “Their livestock dwell amongst their dwellings, shitting within the same assign, day after day! That’s the definition of unclean.”

His associate provides, “Scrutinize how even their children’s noses flip up on the conclude.”

In the interim, the swineherds espy the herders haunting the outskirts, like feral beasts. One swineherd remarks to 1 other, “You may perhaps well possibly scent those shepherds coming a league away.”

“Certain,” rejoins the loads of, “and for many who had to haul your livestock around with you, in all places you crawl, day and night – even to sleep! – why, you’d stink, too.”

Stunning: Familiarity will not be any guarantor of toleration.

* * *

These fables are from the unpublished sequence, “Adaptations on the Metazoa: Evolutionary Fables and Assorted Emblematic Tales.” Mike Bendzela lives in Maine.

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