A Modern Bestiary

Texas Bush A deciduous shrub, found in abundance in oily soils. The bush is remarkable for its life-cycle. Each plant spawns two offspring which then compete with each other to cover as wide an area as possible in extremely dense foliage. This plant does not change noticeably with age. Al Gorse A deciduous shrub, identical in appearance to the Texas bush. The two can be differentiated only in that the Al Gorse fares less well in swamps. Now an endangered species. Ariel and Taliban A supernatural comedy double act, first seen in the 1610-1 season, who still think it funny to insert themselves in bestiaries for a laugh. Age has not treated them well, as they often fall into a rage upon seeing their faces in the mirror; nor has it done any favours for their routine, allowing their critics to accuse them of "living in the past" and "rehashing old material". Unlikely to become extinct any time soon. Arafat A large, mountain-like creature that sits implaceably and preys on arks that land on its tip during periods of inundation. Spawns innumerable offspring that wander a short distance and then explode. Arafats recognise their prey by the doves (and other symbols of peace) sent out as they approach. Arafats are either long-since extinct or immortal; there does not seem to be a great deal of difference. Osama An unnecessarily tall antelope-like creature that grazes on Texas bushes by running into them and knocking them over. An extremely retiring, but hardy, creature. Saddamp A kind of mould endemic in low-lying river regions. Saddamp is often mistaken for oil, and so is frequently pestered by Texas bushes trying to plant themselves on it. Very hard to eradicate. Mugabush An African species of shrub, which reproduces by stealing the seeds of the Tsvangrass it grows near. Blair A species of fox-like creature, parasitic upon the Texas bush. When cornered, it hides behind its teeth. Has no natural predators of any competence (see the duncansmith). Widdecombe An enormous and weighty creature, which charges anything it sees and fights to the death or until it falls asleep. The male of the species is believed to be long since extinct, probably of its own volition. Ecevit A bovine animal that exists solely on a diet of curds that get in its whey. It spends its life trying to join nearby herds of other animals. When close to death, it becomes incapable of movement and remains where it is until it expires. Fidel A large, hairy and extremely long-lived animal that grazes on tobacco and Texas bushes. Farmers of the latter often try to prevent it from breeding by castroating it, but with no success. The Fidel's mating call lasts for four hours. Mandelaphant An animal that thrives in captivity but gets lost easily once returned to the wild. Has a fondness for spices. Puting A species of lemming that directs other lemmings' movements, which are generally of the brief, vertical variety. Currently feeding on patches of saddamp. Kenedies Elegant, sleek and plentiful game animals. The kenedie shooting season runs from 22 November to 3 April. Mushiraffe The Asian species of giraffe. Spends most of its time resenting the fact that it cannot help but stick its neck out. Duncansmith An animal. Avoids extinction by being dead to start with.

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