THE SACRED BEETLEby@jeanhenrifabre


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This was how it came about. We were five or six, I the oldest and their professor, still more their comrade and friend; they, young fellows with warm hearts and lively imaginations, overflowing with that youthful vitality which makes one so open to impressions and so eager for knowledge. Talking of one thing and another we followed a path bordered with elder and hawthorn, where already the Rose Beetle was revelling in the overwhelming scent of the clustering blossoms. We were going to see if the Sacred Scarabæus had yet appeared on the sandy plateau of Les Angles, rolling the ball of dung which ancient Egypt looked on as emblematic of the world; we wanted to discover whether the running stream at the bottom of the hill might not hide young newts under the net of water weeds—newts whose branchiæ look like tiny sprays of coral; to see if that elegant little fish of the rivulet, the stickleback, had donned his wedding cravat of azure and purple; if the new-come swallows were [2]dipping on pointed wings over the meadows chasing the midges which scatter their eggs in their airy dance; to see if the Eyed Lizard was sunning his blue-spotted body at the mouth of a hole made in the sandstone; or if the flocks of Laughing Gulls, come up from the sea after the legions of fish which ascend the Rhône to spawn, were hovering over the river, and now and again uttering their cry like the laugh of a maniac. But enough; suffice it to say that, like simple folk who find much pleasure in living with the brute creation, we were intending to spend a morning in enjoying the ineffable awakening of life in springtime.
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by Jean-Henri Fabre @jeanhenrifabre.I was an entomologist, and author known for the lively style of my popular books on the lives of insects.
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