Sunday, May 30, 2021

So You Think You Can Write; HA!

Here's a guy writing about toads. I don't care so much for toads and I'm guessing you don't either.
But read and be amazed:

Before the swallow, before the daffodil, and not much later than the snowdrop, the common toad salutes the coming of spring after his own fashion, which is to emerge from a hole in the ground, where he has lain buried since the previous autumn, and crawl as rapidly as possible towards the nearest suitable patch of water. Something – some kind of shudder in the earth, or perhaps merely a rise of a few degrees in the temperature – has told him that it is time to wake up: though a few toads appear to sleep the clock round and miss out a year from time to time – at any rate, I have more than once dug them up, alive and apparently well, in the middle of the summer.

At this period, after his long fast, the toad has a very spiritual look, like a strict Anglo-Catholic towards the end of Lent. His movements are languid but purposeful, his body is shrunken, and by contrast his eyes look abnormally large. This allows one to notice, what one might not at another time, that a toad has about the most beautiful eye of any living creature. It is like gold, or more exactly it is like the golden-coloured semi-precious stone which one sometimes sees in signet rings, and which I think is called a chrysoberyl.

For a few days after getting into the water the toad concentrates on building up his strength by eating small insects. Presently he has swollen to his normal size again, and then he goes through a phase of intense sexiness....


The only other toad story I know is a reference - Colonel of commandos Robert Laycock (later Major-General Sir Robert Edward Laycock) got stuck in the desert with one of his sergeants November, 1941, raids on four key points behind the German-Italian lines, including one of Rommel's headquarters led by Laycock himself. It was unsuccessful, but Laycock and a sergeant escaped and after thirty-six days of making their way through the desert, subsisting on such things as the entrails of a dead goat, were finally picked up by the advancing Eighth Army. The sergeant was particularly happy to be rescued, we are told, since Laycock whiled away the time on their journey by reading aloud to him The Wind in the Willows. "Safe at last!" the sergeant ejaculated. "Now, thank God, I shan't have to hear any more of that bloody Mr. Toad.''

Extra credit if you can name the author of the first story before clicking through.

School's out for the summer if you can name the author who used Laycock as his inspiration for one of his characters [pp9]