Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Blood-Eating Horses of Tibet

Horses and COACISSW have a long history together. From Guy Vanderhaeghe's lovely description of horse-entry in the Last Crossing to Reverend Joseph Goiffon's riveting true story of survival. Horses are, in many ways, the classic animal to cut open and crawl inside to survive a storm in the wild.

However, the relationship has had its share of controversy. Anonymous contributors to this blog have gone so far as to suggest that the horse should have cut open Reverend Goiffon, instead of the other way around, calling into question my "small-minded assertion that man is more deserving of life than horse." They submitted this photo of a shetland pony gazing into the camera as evidence. It seems that the cuteness of horses, and their supposed docility (promoted by the Big Horse Lobby and generations of little girls) have warped our society's perception of what is, at its heart, a vicious beast.

Well no more!

Deadly Equines, one of the most important books of our era, puts to rest these myths by detailing one horse-commited atrocity after another: The Man Eater of Lucknow, Rysdyk-killer of four, the Blood-Eating Horses of Tibet, Sir Ernest Shackleton's voracious Manchurian Socks, and the unfaithful mares of Kind Diomedes. The Deadly Equines site is full of helpful information on the subject, including a Map of Meat-Eating and Killer Horses, showing exactly where and when horse crimes were committed. For too long communities from Antarctica to Yemen have suffered in silence.

So, to anonymous I say this: sure those big buttery eyes may look friendly, but behind them lurks the cold calculating mind of a killer, waiting to strike. A horse will kill you for no reason, just for sport. If a storm is boiling on the horizon, strike fast, strike hard, strike before the horse strikes you. If you find yourself hesitating, just remember how Diomedes met his end.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Here at COACISSW we generally adhere to a strict no cutting-open-humans-and-crawling-inside-to-survive-a-storm-in-the-wild policy. However, in the timeless words of Spock just before he ventured into the lethally irradiated engineering room of the starship Enterprise, "The good of the many outweighs the good of the few, or the one."

Now imagine you are trapped in the Forbidden Forest, a massive storm--possibly natural, possibly the work of He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named--is brewing on the horizon. Acromantulas are closing in and the Arania Exumai spell isn't working to hold them back. And there, at your side, is Hagrid: twice as tall and five times as wide as the average man. His barrel-like chest cavity capable of sheltering your entire party for the duration of the storm.

Plus, he's half giant, so he isn't really a human at all.

Hagrid is friendly and softhearted. Use these qualities against him. Begin to cry, bemoaning your approaching demise. Tell him of all the things you wish you had done, the mountains you would have climbed, the tournaments of wizardry you would have won, the animals you would have treated more kindly, the man or woman you would have kissed. Ask him for a hug.

Sneak your blade into your sleeve and wrap your arms around his neck (be sure to get them under all that hair). As he's squeezing and comforting you, draw out your blade and jam it into his throat with all your strength. This first cut is crucial--Hagrid is quite strong. If you don't wound him terminally with the first strike he'll shake you free and stomp you to dust. Be sure to sever the carotid artery.

There will be fountains of blood. Leap out of the way. Let him tire himself out staggering around trying to staunch it. Ignore his pleas for mercy and his bellows of "Why? Why?" When he collapses, roll him onto his back, slice open his chest, remove his big warm heart, and crawl inside. The acromantulas will leave you alone safely inside their beloved friend, and the storm will pass.