Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Scorpion in the Boot

Francis Buckland, Curiosities of Natural History, First Series, 4th ed. (London: Richard Bentley And Son, 1883), p. 188.

In India, scorpions are naturally fond of secreting themselves in holes, and have a nasty habit of getting into Wellington boots. One day an officer was putting on his boot. He felt something in it, and thinking it was a scorpion, he pulled it on instantly and stamped violently on the floor, thus killing the scorpion. He narrated this at mess. A few days afterwards another officer was pulling on his boot, when he, too, felt something in the boot. Recollecting the scorpion story, he thought he could not do better than stamp his foot down also in the boot. He did so, but the experiment did not succeed, as there was no scorpion this time, but a regimental spur with the rowel upwards.