House of Herps #12 – The Apocryphal Edition

Part 1.
This is the twelfth edition of House of Herps, so that means I have the honour of presenting the last post for the first year of this blog carnival.  In the scheme of things, a year is not much, but I thought this would  be a good time to present a little known but ancient antecedent to House of Herps.

What follows is the first publication of select verses from the Munchhausen¹ papyrus, a 2000 year-old document now known as The Book of Serpent. Like the related document, The Gospel of Judas, it is one of many church-rejected apocryphal books that ran parallel with, and some times counter to, the canonical books established at the Synod of Hippo in 393 CE. The Book of Serpent was considered particularly heretical due to the sect that formed around it in 325 CE.

(N.B.If ancient history

House of Herps No. 11

Welcome to the October edition of the House of Herps blog carnival.

Before I go further, just let me clarify that ‘herps’ are reptiles and amphibians (as in herpetologist), NOT unpleasant, sexually-transmitted diseases.

It’s late in the dry season here.

With no rain for six months, the ground is parched and bare, the trees are leafless, and the wildlife, bony and gaunt.
Temperatures rise into the 40s C (104 F), sapping the last moisture from everything, living and dead.

But the rains may come any day.
Or not.

Almost palpable, spoken silently by plant and animal alike, is the question: can I survive until it comes?

Watching this saga, day after day, as the rainclouds build up and then drift away again, I’ve come to appreciate why humans – in every culture and on every continent – turn to superstition and ritual in a bid to influence Nature.

With so …

House of Herps #10: The Frog Prince

Come sit beside me, I’ll tell you a tale
Of loving and longing and terrible betrayal;
A story quite sad, but wonderful, too.
Here, have a seat; come and listen, won’t you?

Our story begins with a maiden so fair,
With sparkling eyes, and long flowing hair.
Her heart glowed as pure as the light of a star,
And men came to court her from near and afar.

She saw many suitors, but none she desired,
And as the years passed she grew ever tired.
Was there really no man for whom she could fall?
She couldn’t believe there was no one at all.

The thought made her sad, so one sunny day
She paused at a well that she passed on her way.
She extracted a coin and she tossed it inside.
“I just want true love, nothing more!” so she cried.

Of course, nothing happened, it was just …

House of Herps #9: Back to School Edition!

Welcome to the ninth House of Herps blog carnival, August 2010!

August is more than halfway over, and September is just around the corner … which means that, in the United States, at least, it’s back to school season. Every store smells of office supplies and new backpacks (fifty percent off – this week only!), teachers are busy putting together last-minute touches to their courses and students, from kindergartners to college students, are trying to find every way they can to make summer last for just one more week …

And, of course, the House of Herps blog carnival has gotten into the spirit of things – our contributors this month have come together with a great selection of eleven short classes, all focused on the amazing diversity of reptile and amphibian life. So, I invite you to sit down with your packed lunch and a freshly-sharpened number two pencil, …

House of Herps #8: The Reverse Constellation Edition

Welcome to House of Herps #8, July, 2010!

Our host for this edition had a last minute change to her schedule, so the challenge of presenting this month’s contributions in a new and interesting manner has come my way.  Having very recently spent a week playing with my 9yr-old niece (who visits every summer), my thoughts gradually turned to our visit to the planetarium.

During the planetarium show, I was reminded of how many constellations have been named for animals, and herps – real and imagined – are well represented among them. To wit:

The Dragon stuck in my mind, as I considered how many constellations must have taken a great deal of imagination …