The Mythological Zoo

Language: English
Published: 1 month ago
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How did Medusa do her hair?
The question fills me with despair.
It must have caused her sore distress
That head of curling snakes to dress.
Whenever after endless toil
She coaxed it finally to coil,
The music of a Passing Band
Would cause each separate hair to stand
On end and sway and writhe and spit,—
She couldn't "do a thing with it."
And, being woman and aware
Of such disaster to her hair,
What could she do but petrify
All whom she met, with freezing eye?

The Siren may be said to be
The Chorus-Lady of the Sea;
Tho' Mermaids claim her as their kin,
Instead of fishy tail and fin
Two shapely feet rejoice the view
(With all that appertains thereto).
When to these other charms we add
A voice that drives the hearer mad,
Who will dispute her claim to be
The Chorus-Lady of the Sea?

The Dolphin

The Dolphin was, if you should wish
To call him so,—the King of Fish.
Though having neither gills nor scales,
His title should be Prince of Whales.
While too small waisted to provide
A Jonah with a Berth Inside,
The Dolphin has been known to pack
A Drowning Sailor on his back
And bear him safely into port,—
He was a Taxi-whale, in short.

If you will listen to advice
You will avoid the Cockatrice—
A caution I need hardly say
Wholly superfluous to-day.
Yet had you lived when they were rife
Such warning might have saved your life.
To meet the Cockatrice's eye
Means certain death—and that is why
When I its features here portray
I make it look the other way.
O Cockatrice! were you so mean
What must the Henatrice have been!


Dear Reader, should you chance to go
To Hades, do not fail to throw
A "Sop to Cerberus" at the gate,
His anger to propitiate.
Don't say "Good dog!" and hope thereby
His three fierce Heads to pacify.
What though he try to be polite
And wag his Tail with all his might,
How shall one amiable Tail
Against three angry Heads prevail?
The Heads must win.—What puzzles me
Is why in Hades there should be
A Watch dog; 'tis, I should surmise,
The last place one would burglarize.

She was half Lady and half cat—
What is so wonderful in that?
Half of our lady friends (so say
The other half) are Cats to-day.
In Egypt she made quite a stir,
They carved huge Images of her.
Riddles she asked of all she met
And all who answered wrong, she ate.
When Œdipus her riddle solved
The minx—I mean the Sphinx—dissolved
In tears. What is there, when one thinks,
So wonderful about the Sphinx?

The Sea Serpent

O wondrous worm that won the Height
Of Fame by keeping out of sight!
Never was known on Land or Sea
Such a Colossal Modesty;
Never such arrogant pretence
Of Ostentatious Diffidence.
Celebrity whom none has seen,
Save some Post Prandial Marine,
No magazine can reproduce
Your Photograph.—Oh, what's the use
Of doing things when one may be
So Famous a Nonentity!

The Salamander made his bed
Among the glowing embers red.
A Fiery Furnace, to his mind,
Hygiene and Luxury combined.
He was, if I may put it so,
A Saurian Abednigo.
He loved to climb with nimble ease
The branches of the Gas-log Trees
Where oft on chilly winter nights
He rose to dizzy Fahrenheits.
Believers in Soul Transmigration
See in him the Re-incarnation
Of those Sad Plagues of summer, who
Ask, "Is it hot enough for you?"

The Jinn

To call a Jinn the only thing
One needed was a magic ring.
You rubbed the ring and forth there came
A monster born of smoke and flame,
A thing of Vapor, Fume and Glare
Ready to waft you anywhere....