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Prince Albert Voice

Tatiana Schatten

Introduction and Alteration

The introducing of a new species is an immense hazard to natural plants and wildlife. At times, there has been a viable excuse for such a dangerous action, but at others, there was none but sentimentality. Too frequently it has been done involuntarily and voluntarily throughout the ages and often with destructive effects.

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Aha!

Based on true events

“ Aha! Aha!” sounded the five Black-billed Magpies far above in the Manitoba Maples. “ Aha! Aha!” rang over the neighbourhood, jubilant yet criticizing and severe. It declared to all the world that the cat beneath their raucous cacophonic group had committed a terrible act against them. A normal puss they would have been overlooked, or ignored or paid little heed to, for there was no point in mobing an unoffending creature, but when it has perpetrated an act such as that, well! “ Aha! Aha!” heard the tabby as orange as orange could be, named Hi out of fondness. His tail was twitching in exasperation as he made his way through the urban green-space with the magpies hopping from branch to branch or swooping from tree to tree above him. Oh, what an accusatory note those avenging magpies called, their wish none other than to right the wrong which had been done against them. Suddenly, Hi had endured enough. Like an oversized squirrel, he shot up a tree in which one of the exotic-looking birds perched in the hopes of snatching it and intimidating the others. But his intended victim was too smart and swift. Swish! It launched itself to a safer vantage point while its companions burst into a louder scolding in their surprise. They knew that the cat could not now reach even one of them. In frustration, Hi perched himself between the two branches which shot from the trunk, his tail ferociously swatting invisible flies. At first the magpies came closer, eagerly awaiting the cat's next move and preparing themselves for a counter attack. But Hi only sat pensively, his eyes wide in annoyance, gazing about, his tail like a whip. For a while all the magpies were in patient attention, gazing down with shining eyes. But the longer Hi remained still, the more the determination of the magpies to bother this criminal of their laws ebbed. First one flitted away, then another until only three remained, settled stubbornly in their positions, their excitement now at its lowest. Now with a couple less followers, the cat decided to brave the way down the trunk he had ascended. Looking down, he surveyed from side to side, searching for the safest rout. The birds above pretended not to notice his actions and did not stir. Finally, Hi made the leap. Clinging firmly onto the rough tree bark, he thrust his hind legs in the air and with a flourish, he flipped about and found himself right side up, gripping the trunk like a woodpecker. With that done, he shimmied swiftly down the tree, but not without the notice of the avengers of the wrong he had committed. The remaining magpies again began to rebuke him with their squawking: “ Aha! Aha!”, following him at a safe distance with no intent of permitting him to leave their keen sight as he trotted along the forest floor. One even made a swoop at his offensive figure and together the symphony of severity, and the cat to which it was dedicated, made their way through the woods and out of sight, the “ Aha!” calls in the end hardly discernible from the rustle of twig and leaf. 

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The Little Green Cannon

Not based on true events

She wished with all her verdant heart that she would never be touched. It had been her hope ever since she popped up as a seedling by the twinkling crystal woodland spring. It was a perfect place for her wish to be fulfilled: lone and light with nought but the birds and very few beasts. She trembled every moment one of the creatures of the forest passed near, causing the sturdy ground to shake and rumble like a thundercloud beneath her roots. But thankfully, not one animal of the forest even brushed her delicate leaves or blooms or seed-capsules. A Gray Jay once landed near her stem, and very nearly swiped her with its feathery tail yet the peril was short-lasted and nothing touched her delicacy. But it was not to last, for one day there came a clumsy American Toad hobbling along like a stone with feet. Not caring where he went or how he went, the toad lumbered towards her, blind to all but his hazy goal, whatever it was. He did not jump, nor hop like a frog but crawled along heedlessly and soon his bulk was almost upon her. That moment, fate took care of itself. The amphibian, unaware of the plant before him, lifted a wormy-toed forelimb, and set it down-right upon one of her little seed pods! Plip! It popped open and the seeds within darted forth like speedy bullets, one catching the poor toad directly in his bulging eye while another bounced off his nose like a bead. What was that, the toad thought in surprise as he came to a standstill. Why does my eye ache? Why does my nose burn? ( He was exaggerating a great deal. In fact he did not ache at all.) For a moment, the toad could do nought but gaze in a sleepy daze about him, hoping to see the instigator of the attack, but he never would have guessed that it was the plant directly before him which sent the missiles. Finally, he decided that he would not chance another such fierce onslaught (the onslaught was in fact quite mild), and stomped off in another direction, trampling all in his path like a miniature elephant while behind him, unharmed and standing, was the little plant and her little cannon.

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The Imposing Insect

Not based on true events

What do you do when a fright takes you by surprise? What do you do when an imminent danger is grinning darkly down upon you? Do you cower and cringe? Does unstoppable and rigorous trembling overcome your body? Are your bones turned to stone or your nerves to steel? Above all, what is casting its shadow upon you? Is it a gargantuan rat glaring hungrily at his dinner?

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The Green and Red

Not based on true events

You may expect, by its name, for an Emerald Tree Boa to be emerald. What other hue could it possibly be? Could it be pink, purple, brown, or grey? Yet Coral, a month-old Emerald Tree Boa, was red! She thought herself quite a rare beauty for her colour, quite a gem in her vibrancy, yet she was about to have a immense surprise upon that point. It was on a colder day than usual when the memorable scene occurred, a day when being lazy was the surest remedy for a reptile, at least when it was in a patch of sun. And indeed she was. Coral had twisted her lithe coils about a branch which stretched far into a patch of light, and there, with the rays glinting magnificently off her ruddy scales, she rested. Her thoughts were upon her own unique beauty. She had beheld her parents once, yet they were of the of the normal verdant hue, and she pondered her luck in being so unusual unlike them. She was born to be admired, to stand out from the others, to go down in the history of snakehood, to- but Coral's thoughts halted their journey, for she heard a rustle of a moving being. It was among the foliage in an adjacent branch quite near to hers, and grew louder as the thing within became more active. Finally, it slithered out from its cover and Coral's eyes grew as wide as double suns in her utter astonishment. It was a bright fox-red boa! It was just like she, with orange scales interspersed upon its brilliant flesh! How could it be?! Her beauty was not her own alone? There was another with the same skin as she? Coral, in her devastation, dropped her head heavily upon the bough as the other young snake slithered away to other trees. It was as ruddy red as could be, indeed, thought she, and I am not alone in my beauty. 

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Wednesday November 17, 2021