For the short story reader. Updated every Monday.

The Short Form

“Bestiary”

Aaron Thier

Excerpt

Bears give birth to a shapeless fetus—white in color, with no eyes—which the mother then sculpts with her mouth.

Panthers give birth only once in their lives, which is perhaps an explanation for their diminishing numbers.

Bees are produced from worms, which are themselves produced when one beats a dead calf with a stick. One may produce hornets in the same way by substituting a horse for a calf, and wasps by substituting an ass.

The animal kingdom is indeed rich and varied, and there is no more complete zoological guide than the Bestiary, from which one also learns that if a lion eats too much, it inserts its paws into its mouth and pulls some of the food out, that hyenas live in tombs, that snakes despise clothed men and fear naked men, and that if a beaver fears it’s being pursued by a hunter, it will gnaw its testicles off and throws them in the hunter’s face, knowing that its testicles are the object of the hunter’s desire. Very effective medicine can be made from a beaver’s testicles.

We read it in The Buenos Aires Review.