Mittwoch, 9. August 2017

Tuesday, 8 August 2941 T.A: Butterfly-spotting in the treetops.

Even some British Purple Emperors are
almost as featureless as those of Mirkwood
On this day, in 2941 T. A., the Company descended into a valley of the Woodelves' realm, and when they had arrived on the ground of the depression, Thorin got a very Dwarvish idea: Have Bilbo climb up for a look-around! Anyone else would of course have preferred a hilltop, and the result of this effort was inevitable: Bilbo was not able to look far around and got the subjective impression that Mirkwood had absolutely no limits. Needless to say, his report did nothing to boost the morale of the Dwarves.

He made a keen observation on Mirkwood entomology, however: the discovery of the Black Emperors. This was a native species of butterflies apparently related to the Purple Emperor, apatura iris, of Southern Britain and Central Europe (said to be the second-largest British butterfly species) but without any of the familiar coloured markings. Douglas Anderson remarked on these in "The Annotated Hobbit" but failed to note their less pleasant characteristics: Emperors of any colour avoid "flowers, preferring rotting animal corpses, faeces, mud puddles - and even human sweat.... In Victorian times, the heyday of butterfly collecting, gamekeepers would attract Purple Emperors down to their gibbets by hanging out rotting carcasses of crows and rabbits." ( Such a species certainly comes not entirely unexpected in Mirkwood under Sauron's shadow!