Thursday, October 8, 2009

beautiful young adult's book

Warriors, Warthogs, and Wisdom: Growing up in Africa is a lovely read written for young adults. Lots of heart and some smelly facts, authored by Lyall Watson.

The young Watson befriended an orphan warthog who became part of the farm's family and gained the name Hoover. In Watson's longer book Whole Hog: Exploring the Extraordinary Potential of Pigs he could emphasize pigs' olfactory expertise.

Hoover ran away one day to be eventually found at the site where he was originally orphaned when
his family had been killed and eaten. A bush elder tracking low to the ground in search for the pet says to the boy, “Intibane, the ugly one. He has very smelly feet.”

The author continues, "Which is true. Pigs have poor eyesight and only average hearing, but their sense of smell is fantastic. They are walking scent factories, with special glands on their faces, at the corner of the eyes, on the chin, in the mouth, under the tail, and even on the ankles. And warthogs have particularly strong glands on the pads of their feet. Everywhere they go, they leave tiny little droplets of their own personal smell behind them, which can last for days. Every warthog lives in a world filled with messages from every other warthog in the area – so that each one knows exactly where everyone else is, how they are, what they have been eating, and how long ago they passed this way. It must be like getting lots of letters every day from all your friends and family, letters filled with news and gossip, but written in ink that slowly fades away."

"He (pet warthog Hoover) had a great memory and never forgot an odor."

 ... the imagery of smells as ink stories that slowly fade away.

Reminds me of
the burnaway cypher silks in Leo Marks' Between Silk and Cyanide.  

photo: BS Thurner Hof 
Illustration: Color Wave Lura Astor