Keepers of the Egg

One day a cow laid an egg. The egg was a large egg and oval--an unmistakable egg. This surprised the cow roundly. She turned to investigate.

"Looook at that!" the cow wondered.

Curiously the cow sniffed the large oval egg. Humph. Then the cow licked the large oval egg. Humph. Grumble. Grumble. Then, being an adventurous cow, the cow thought, "I suuupose I could incuuubate this egg." Philosophically, the cow added, "Why not?" And she began shifting her great rotund weight.

The cow backed her lumbrous size over the large oval egg. First the cow squatted over the egg. Then the cow knelt over the egg. But finally, in the end, the cow found it best to lie on the egg. Any of the barnyard hens could have told the cow this at the start, but the cow had to learn it for herself. The cow positioned the soft warm udders of her belly over the large oval egg, smothering it completely. Then the cow settled in to incubate. She incubated this egg for many years, once in a while graveling forth a throaty satisfied moo.

One day, after many years and quite a number of satisfied moos, the cow felt, in her smothering udders, a tapping from the egg. Stirred from her repose, the cow leaned and edged; the cow strained and pushed; the cow laboriously muscled her weight up off of the tapping egg. The cow stood weakly then, on wobbly legs. The cow hoofed around stumblingly then, with big wide eyes. The cow looked.


The egg was now ten times bigger!

The cow sniffed the large tapping egg. Humph. The cow licked the large tapping egg. Humph. Grumble. Grumble. The egg smelled like its smaller version, the cow thought. But its taste was decidedly dryer than before.

Then, without warning, from very far away, came a buzzing. The cow flapped open her hairy ears. The cow widened her big wide eyes. The cow turned aside her heavy curious head. The cow looked for the source of the buzzing.

The buzzing came from very far away. But, even coming from so far away, it still eventually neared. When the buzzing neared enough for the cow to discern its source, the cow thought to herself, inwardly:

"Humph. What a funny sound for a voluuuminous green cloud to make."

Yes, it was a green cloud. And it was voluminous. And it was coming toward the cow.

The green cloud neared and closened. The green cloud closened and neared. Finally the green cloud arrived at the cow. Then, without warning, the green cloud swarmed the cow.

"EEK," the cow mooed.

Thousands of praying mantises!

Many of the praying mantises lit on the cow's heavy curious head. Many more of the praying mantises lit on the cow's hairy bristling back. But most of the praying mantises swarmed eagerly over the large tapping egg. Judgingly, the cow observed the praying mantises swarm the large tapping egg. The mantises seemed to the cow very respectful of the large tapping egg.

"That's goooood enough for me," the cow uttered.

And the cow stumbled away for a well-deserved meal. And boy was she hungry!

Meanwhile, the praying mantises went to work on the large tapping egg. The praying mantises crowded around the large tapping egg. The praying mantises bustled for positions nearest the large tapping egg. Then, without warning, the praying mantises leapt on the large tapping egg. Ten or twenty at a turn, the mantises leapt. They rubbed the egg's dry shell vigorously with their delicate paws. The mantises rubbed the shell till it glowed a flaming red-orange, till it glowed like a fiery ember. For many years the mantises rubbed the large tapping egg in this way. Usually they could be heard churring as they did so.

Finally, after many years and quite a lot of shell-rubbing, the praying mantises felt, through their friction-warm paws, something new.

A knocking!

The mantises hopped off the large knocking egg. A knocking? Yes! The mantises backed away from the large knocking egg. A knocking! Their respectful praying-mantis movements ceased. Their usual praying-mantis churrs silenced. They stood motionless, mute. They watched.

Near the knocking place of the egg, a crack formed.

This was the signal!

Hundreds of praying mantises then, hundreds and hundreds of them together, attacked the large cracking egg. With their delicate paws the mantises tugged at the egg's cracking shell. With their delicate paws the praying mantises pulled and wrenched at the egg's cracking shell. They opened many more cracks in the egg's cracking shell. And from those many more cracks they opened many more.

This went on, apace, for some time. But not for too long. For, at last, most of the egg's cracking shell had been dispatched. Anew, the praying mantises crowded around the large broken egg. Again, the mantises stood motionless, mute. Here before them lie a crumbled nest of eggshell fragments and dust. Here above them rose the secret of the large broken egg.

The secret of the large broken egg was this: It was an aura--an aura golden-bright. The golden-bright aura rose sparklingly from the large broken egg. The golden-bright aura rose formlessly from the large broken egg. Slowly, the aura ascended. Slightly, the aura pulsed. It was a fantastic robe, throbbing. It was a supernatural mist, shining. Pulsingly, formlessly, inchingly, sparklingly, the golden-bright aura ascended. After some days the slow ascent ceased. The aura hovered. Then, without warning, on a whirr of giddy churrs, in an ecstasy unashamed, the multitude of praying mantises leapt into the golden-bright aura. The mantises dove into the aura's midst. The mantises filled the aura with their flutterings. And then, without warning, together, all of the millions and millions of praying mantises together, taking on that golden-bright aura together, like one shining body for all, like one shining being for each, they flew away. The praying mantises flew away with the golden-bright aura. Very soon the praying mantises were very far away with the golden-bright aura. And so very soon they could be seen no more.

This may sound like an unbelievable tale since praying mantises cannot fly, but it's true.

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John Dishwasher

Keepers of the Egg