Monday, December 21, 2015

CANCER INGLISENSIS

CANCER INGLISENSIS
"For it was covered with great caterpillars, a foot or more in length, which crawled over it. They were faintly luminous, and it was the light from them that showed me the room. Instead of the sucker-feet of ordinary caterpillars they had rows of pincers like crabs, and they moved by grasping what they lay on with their pincers, and then sliding their bodies forward. In colour these dreadful insects were yellowish-grey, and they were covered with irregular lumps and swellings. There must have been hundreds of them, for they formed a sort of writhing, crawling pyramid on the bed. Occasionally one fell off on to the floor, with a soft fleshy thud, and though the floor was of hard concrete, it yielded to the pincerfeet as if it had been putty, and, crawling back, the caterpillar would mount on to the bed again, to rejoin its fearful companions. They appeared to have no faces, so to speak, but at one end of them there was a mouth that opened sideways in respiration."

'“It has got funny feet, too,” he said. “They are like crabs’ pincers. What’s the Latin for crab?”

“Oh, yes, Cancer. So in case it is unique, let’s christen it: ‘Cancer Inglisensis.’”
E.F. Benson, Caterpillars

2 comments:

  1. Wonderful stuff - this story made me (pleasantly) nauseous with horror when I first read it, and your illustration conveys much the same frisson.

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