Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Waspish Stingle

I have been recieving mysterious letters for some time now from a young woman named Madeline Brown.  She and her employer, retired biology professor T. P. Dunlap, have apparently discovered a land called Minglemist.  The location is uncertain.  There was mention in the first letter of some crumbling old notes and a dragon scale found in the Professor's basement which spurred a frenzied search (what biologist would not be intrigued?).  Eventually Minglemist was found when T. P. fell through a hole in his garden hedge.  Now he and Madeline are in Minglemist to study the lesser dragons, some of the bizarre creatures living in this land.  I will post parts of the letters as they arrive in the hopes that someone else might find Minglemist so others can explore it.  Following is a description of one of the first dragons Madeline and T. P. encountered.

The waspish Stingle, Dragunculus stinglii, is one of the smallest dragons in Minglemist, and one of the nastiest.  Stingles are three inches long with another nine inches in the tail.  They are scaly red, brown, green or blue with pale yellow bellies.  Stingles eat insects, fruits, especially crab apples and berries, and small pebbles, which they crunch with disgustingly loud noises.  Stingles travel in swarms and hang out in low trees or thick brush.  Then when someone walks by they swoop down with raucous brays of laughter and sting the unlucky person on the face, neck and arms with their long, whip-like tails, breathing out clouds of sticky purple smoke which stains everything it touches.  T. P.'s white shirts are turning deeper and deeper shades of purple because he's been trying to capture some stingles in his net for study.  I have been carrying an umbrella when I go out the back gate to the outhouse (no modern conveniences in Minglemist).  There's a large swarm of stingles living in the honeysuckle hedge along the garden and they always come after me.  But the umbrella keeps them at bay.  Now if I can just get T. P. to put a lock on the outhouse door so the gad-about fairies don't keep getting into it and doing nasty things.  I got a terrible shock the first time I opened the door and found a small, ugly man with a huge nose perched over the hole, his trousers dangling around his ankles.  Ugh!!!!

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