WOSSNAME -- JANUARY 2007-- PART 2 OF 5 (continued)
- WOSSNAME -- JANUARY 2007-- PART 2 OF 5 (continued)
YOUR DISCWORLD HOROSCOPE
by Lady Anaemia Asterisk
A PET IS FOR LIFE, NOT JUST FOR HOGSWATCH
...and that means there's a good chance that you, my stars-struck
little marmosets, have no idea what to do with those unexpected
gift pets you found whining, shivering, yapping or widdling under
your Hogswatch tree last month. See, your well-meaning friends and
relative should have consulted your Friendly Neighbourhood
Stargazer first! Because each Sign, for those born under it,
bestows a natural affinity for certain pets...so here's a starter
list below of suitable pets for each of you. Hearken well, and
happy animal husbandry shall be yours *next* holiday season!
The Adamant Hedgehog 21 Mar - 20 Apr
Borogravian Borogove: also known as the Yellow-bellied Bellower,
the Borogove, a small but sturdy doglike mammal with the face of a
dyspeptic dowager duchess, gravitates naturally towards authority
figures, regimental sergeant-majors, Archchancellors and other
persons of a stentorian and officious bent who can easily dominate
the Borogove's tendency to be a vile-tempered bully (a clear case
of it taking one to love one). Keep your Borogove on a short lead
and shout at it frequently to keep it in peak condition.
Morpork: in the early centuries of Ankh-Morpork's history, these
small, pretty owls flocked as thick as sparrows-, that is, as
*thickly* as sparrows (not even a box of laundry detergent is as
thick as the average sparrow), with nearly every gabled roof
boasting its own nesting population of them and with morporkeries
gracing the gatehouses of every wealthy townie's mansion. Nowadays
the only known living Morporks are the heavily-guarded property of
the College of Heralds, so if you want a Morpork you'll have to
trawl the back storerooms of old established taxidermists or keep
an eye on the regular Sunday trash-and-treasure markets. A perfect
pet, your Morpork never needs feeding and won't object if nailed to
its perch. If you want it to act a bit more lifelike, a visit to
the Street of Cunning Artificers will soon get you the clockwork
modifications you need...and for a small extra fee, it can be made
to chime the hours and give weather forecasts. Perfect indeed!
Rook Lobster: face it, you know you always wanted a shellfish that
would perch on your shoulder and squawk out rude phrases when your
unwanted guests won't take the hint to leave. Didn't you? Well, the
Rook Lobster is just the ticket. These exotically feathered shore
dwellers came originally from Slakki and are easy to care for; an
occasional feed of entrails and a dusting of mite powder and your
Rook Lobster will thrive. And like many exotic pets, they make a
tasty meal when you get tired of them. Mind the pincers.
Gahoolie, the Vase of Tulips 21 Apr - 21 May
Giltfish: for those on a tight budget, this tawdry-looking specimen
is an excellent choice. The breed was developed by would-be
fanciers of the famous Agatean Coy Guiltfish, a breed with scales
so splendid that anyone looking upon its magnificence would burst
into tears of shame at being badly dressed in front of such a
gorgeous animal. Another good pet for the fiscally embarrassed is
the Limited Budgie; originally from Purdeighsland, this friendly
bird is known for its natural cry of "don'tbuythatitcostsstoomuch!"
Shamster: a true-breeding cross between a longhaired Cavy and a
Chameleon, your Shamster will give you hours of delight: stroking
its beautiful fur, watching it change colours according to mood and
temperature, and chasing it round the pantry as it attempts to
steal and store your favourite dried fruit and nuts. The Shamster
is also unique in that it can convert direct sunlight into energy,
so be sure to let it bask outdoors on sunny days.
Llamedos Raincatcher: a small batrachian with a big heart and bigger
gullet, the Raincatcher evolved in the ancient rain mines of
Llamedos, where early miners were quick to put it to use as a
tunnel-clearing pump. This little toadlike creature is an
inoffensive shade of mouldy moss green, but when its mouth and
throat are full of liquid its neck-skin expands and displays a
range of phosphorescent colours so bright that the same long-ago
miners also put it to use as a helmet lamp. Today Raincatchers are
popular all over the Disc, especially with children, who love to
slip their pet Raincatcher into the tin bath just before Nanna gets
in for her monthly scrub.
Herne the Hunted 22 May - 21 Jun
Lancre Reciprocating Fox: legend has it that the Reciprocating Fox
acts like a soldier on the eve of battle (i.e., it drinks a lot and
seeks indiscriminate sex), but foxes normally seek indiscriminate
sex anyway and the tales of dipsomania have never been
substantiated. Lovely coat, your Reciprocating Fox. It *does* show
a certain reciprocative behaviour, by the way, as it moonlights as
a sheepdog in recompense for its regular henhouse raids.
Peeler Bear: for those who want a truly unusual pet, the Peeler
Bear is just the ticket! This huge carnivore originated in the
NoThingfjord region; evolutionary necessity in warmer climates has
led to its seasonal moult, in which it sheds its entire coat and
outer hide in one easily tanned piece. The resultant embarrassment
makes the Peeler Bear shy and obedient. A good pet for those
considering entering the fur trade.
Mon-goose: from the faraway island of Sumtri, this is the only known
avian with a prehensile tail. A fascinating pet, it combines all
the less social aspects of the chimpanzee and the standard goose,
but it looks great in a jewelled collar and has a natural aptitude
for grinding hurdy-gurdy organs with its beak. The Mon-goose also
lays golden eggs, but you have to fight them for it, which can be
rather...well, just re-read the second clause of the second
sentence in this paragraph.
The Wizard's Staff and Knob 22 Jun - 22 Jul
Hermit Elephant: second smallest of the known elephants. Ye
venerable Dysk Companione describes it as thin-skinned and shy with
a preference for wearing abandoned huts as protection, and claims
that it causes huts to become abandoned by moving into them! This
has since been shown to be an exaggeration: your Hermit Elephant
will be quite happy if you build it a granny flat in the garden and
demonstrate that it's quite unoccupied.
Underclassman: also known in some less civilised countries as
"freshmen" (though Cori Celesti knows why - have you ever smelt a
typical first-year student's room? - or socks?). These curious
creatures make excellent pets and provide their owners with an
endless variety of tricks and laughable entertainment. Underclassmen
do need frequent disciplining, though; the rolled-up newspaper of
birch cane are recommended, but experienced breeders have had some
great disciplinary success through the application of grounding,
detention, and the posting of an Underclassman's name on lists of
an embarrassing nature.
Howondaland Dwarf Rhinoceros: these rare animals represent Nature
at its most charming. Only six inches tall, most of them have been
captured for bucking-rhino competitions at Gnome rodeos, and they
are reluctant to breed in captivity (the rhinoceroseses, that is; I
can't speak for Gnomes). Your Dwarf Rhinoceros is safer when polled,
as it has a tendency to gore its owners and their guests in the
ankles. Note: "polled" doesn't mean asking your rhino for opinions;
no, it refers here to the practice of cutting off the horns of,
well, horned beasts. Dictionaries are so useful...
Bilious, God of Hangovers 23 Jul - 23 Aug
Charibou: the only species apart from the Phoenix that self-
immolates upon reaching maturity, your Charibou, being herbivorous,
not only keeps your lawn tidily cropped during its youth but also
provides a tasty self-cooking barbecue meal at the end of its life
cycle. Charibou are gentle, shy, friendly and above all delicious!
Klatchian Land Prawn: this fierce crustacean evolved in the wilds
of Klatch when a sudden fly-by of Quantum Weather Butterflies
created a new patch of desert and caused a once-deep lowland lake
to become a tiny puddle overnight; understandably-furious prawns
retaliated by evolving armoured shells, multiple pincers and fangs,
and have since prowled the deserts annihilating and consuming any
innocent lizard, snake or scorpion that gets in their path. A
strong vivarium is recommended, and be sure to don protective
clothing when feeding your pet! At least it's easy to feed,
though, as Klatchian Land Prawns will eat anything. Or anyone.
HungHung Miniature Swine (popularly known as the Two-guinea Pig):
long ago, the cute, potbellied Miniature Swine were the favoured
pets (and snack-foods) of Agatean Emperors, but nowadays any old
commoner or vampire barbarian ghost can own one. Affectionate and
easy to care for, your Miniature Swine doubles handily as a refuse
disposal and winter bedwarmer. A warning, though - incautious
backbreeding by less reputable pig farmers has led to the
reappearance of throwbacks, so that adorable piglet may grow to
enormous size and *still* insist on sharing your bed.
Mubbo the Hyena 24 Aug - 23 Sept
Vermine: you can't go wrong with a Vermine, most royal of mustelids.
Well, actually, you *can* go wrong. Not only are they vicious and
cantankerous, but you'll spend an exciting time hiding your beloved
(and very expensive) pet from the clutches of eager fur-poachers,
and oh yes, did I mention that Vermine stink? But still - owning
the very animal that adorns the fine robes of kings, queens, dukes,
pretentious aldermen and random posh gits confers a cachet never
matched by having a cross-eyed spaniel or pet rock...
Prying Mantis: gloriously iridescent and enchantingly shaped, the
Prying Mantis is the most intelligent of insects. Not only does it
understand most of the known (or at least worth knowing) languages
of the Disc, it can also converse by means of rubbing its forelegs.
The Prying Mantis has a penchant for listening at keyholes, thus
making it a favourite pet of newspaper reporters, blackmailers,
couples undergoing acrimonious divorces, and anyone who thinks he
or she might be the named target of an Assassins' Guild contract.
Canny Island Cony: no cony was ever cannier than a Canny Island
Cony! This Llamedosian lakeland lagomorph digs warrens so intricate
and cleverly propped that they are often mistaken for ancient rain
mines. Patient Cony owners can teach them to dig privies and root
cellars, or to extend that rumpus room when getting the builders in
proves too expensive. Best of all, they make a delicious stew. As
ingredients, not cooks - they're not quite *that* clever.
End of Part 2, says my computer -- continued on Part 3 of 5
If you did not get all 5 parts, write: jschaum111@...
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