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Monday, 13 December 2004

A Most Extraordinary Thing

Yesterday I saw
A most extraordinary
Thing

I was sitting in the cool shade of the mbalasa, reading. Actually I had only half an eye on my book, and the rest on the washing line, watching out for thieves attempting to steal my lovely John Rocha bedlinen.

A long thin black flying beetle thing landed in the dirt near my foot. I stared at it, for it was a peculiar shape, with a longer, fatter green tube on its underbelly. Then I realised, FlyBeetle was carrying a Green Caterpillar. FlyBeetle unceremoniously dumped Green Caterpillar out of his pin-thin legs/arms/antennae things. FlyBeetle then began digging a hole in the dirt, obviously intended for Green Caterpillar.

FlyBeetle’s pin-thin legs worked like fury. He dug so fast you couldn’t see the dirt flying out. Every so often he extracted a ‘rock’ of dirt the size of a thimble and carried it away. In the space of about a minute FlyBeetle had dug a hole about 2cm wide and 10cm deep. He did a better, faster job than most UK builders. I began to wonder, why was FlyBeetle going to bury Green Caterpillar? Was Green Caterpillar dinner, to be recovered later? Was Green Caterpillar FlyBeetle’s dead friend, who deserved a respectful burial? And then, something disturbing happened.

Green Caterpillar waved his tail in a rather pathetic way. He was not dead. So FlyBeetle was going to bury Green Caterpillar alive, in the hope that his deep deep hole would suffocate him and render him a late lunch. FlyBeetle dragged and hauled that Green Caterpillar over to the hole. He stuffed him in, neatly. Then those little legs began to speed once more as he whipped all the dirt and 'rocks' back in on top of Green Caterpillar. FlyBeetle smoothed the dirt over the top, patting and tapping it all down. Then he flew away.