FROM FABRE'S BOOK OF INSECTS
This week's arts and culture piece is on the wonderful self-taught French scientist and insect lover: Jean-Henri Fabre.
Here's how it begins:
Jean-Henri Fabre’s “Book of Insects” is a 1921 classic, with beautiful, tissue-paper-protected color plates by E. J. Detmold.
If you can get your hands on a copy (I checked mine out from the L.A. Public Library), you’ll discover a whole wondrous world. The glow worm, the grub, the locust, the mason-wasp — all your favorite insect pals are here.
Fabre (1823-1915) was an ardent Catholic with a deep sense of God’s design. In the opening chapter, he tells of coming upon the nest as a boy of a “lovely bird” that held six eggs of a “magnificent azure blue, very bright.” Thinking to carry one home as a trophy, he “walked carefully home, carrying my blue egg on a bed of moss.”
He met a priest.
“Ah,” said he. “A Saxicola’s egg. Where did you get it?”
I told him the whole story. “I shall go back for the others,” I said, “when the young birds have got their quill-feathers.”
“Oh, but you mustn’t do that!” cried the priest. “You mustn’t be so cruel as to rob the poor mother of all her little birds. Be a good boy, now, and promise not to touch the nest.”
READ THE WHOLE PIECE HERE.