Monday, July 21, 2008

Hunting Squamp

Instructions for Foreigners

The squamp as a game animal places great demands on the personal accomplishments no less than on the gear of the hunter. Inasmuch as this beast has, in the course of evolution, adapted itself to meteoroid rains by developing an absolutely impervious integument of armor, squamp are hunted from the inside only.

To hunt a squamp, one must have:
A) in the preliminary phase--base spread, mushroom sauce, chives, salt and pepper;
B) in the phase proper--a whisk broom, a time bomb.

I. Preparation in the field.
One hunts a squamp with bait. The hunter, having besmeared himself beforehand with the base spread, crouches down in a furrow of the torg, after which his companions sprinkle finely chopped chives over him and season to taste.

II. In this position one awaits the squamp. When the animal approaches, one should remain calm and with both hands take firm hold of the time bomb gripped between one's knees. A hungry squamp will usually swallow at once. If however the squamp does balk, one may encourage it with a gentle slap across the tongue. When a miss seems likely, some advise additional salting, this however is a most dangerous move, for the squamp may sneeze. Very few hunters have survived the sneeze of a squamp.

III. A squamp that takes the bait will lick its lips and walk away. Upon being swallowed, the hunter immediately proceeds to the active phase, i.e., with the whisk broom he brushes from himself the chives and spices, so that the spread may freely work its purgative effect, whereupon he sets the time bomb and withdraws as quickly as possible in the direction opposite to that from which he came.

IV. Upon leaving the squamp, one should take care to land on one's hands and feet and not hurt oneself.

Warning. The use of sharp spices is forbidden. Also forbidden is the planting of time bombs already set and sprinkled with chives. Such an act is considered poaching and will be prosecuted to the limit of the law.

from The Star Diaries by Stanislaw Lem, "The Fourteenth Voyage"

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