Friday, April 20, 2007

octopus chicanery.

a photo of ze criminal:

and ze unsuspecting victim:

From H. Lee's 1875 book "The Octopus; or, The Devil-Fish of Fiction and of Fact":

"In May, 1873, it was found that some young lump-fish...were mysteriously disappearing from one of the tanks. Almost daily there was a fresh and inexplicable vacancy...and morning after morning a handbill might have been issued:-"Missing! Lost, stolen, or strayed, a young 'lump-sucker,' rather below the middle size, and enormously stout; had on a bright blue coat, with several rows of buttons on it, and a waistcoat of lighter colour..."

"What on earth can have become of them?" "Where can they be?" were the questions each attendant asked in vain of another.

One morning, however, Mr. Lawler, one of the staff, on going to count our young friends, found an interloper amongst them. "Who put this octopus in No. 27 tank? he inquired of the keepers. "Octopus, sir? no one! Well, if he ain't bin and got over out of the next tank!" And this was just the fact.

The marauding rascal had occasionally issued from the water in his tank, and clambered up the rocks, and over the wall into the next one; there he had helped himself to a young lump-fish, and, having devoured it, returned demurely to his own quarters by the same route, with a well-filled stomach and contented mind...he paid frequent nocturnal poaching visits to [the tank], and, after clearing up every remnant of his meal, regularly slunk home before daylight; until, like most criminals, becoming careless by frequently escaping detection, he, on the last occasion, indulged at supper-time in an inordinate gorge, and slept under his neighbor's porch instead of going home to bed."

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