Theodore Roosevelt > Through the Brazilian Wilderness > Page 192
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Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919).  Through the Brazilian Wilderness.  1914.

Page 192
 
encountered huge black ants, an inch and a quarter long, which were very vicious, and their bite was not only painful but quite poisonous. Praying-mantes were common, and one evening at supper one had a comical encounter with a young dog, a jovial near-puppy, of Colonel Rondon’s, named Cartucho. He had been christened the jolly-cum-pup, from a character in one of Frank Stockton’s stories, which I suppose are now remembered only by elderly people, and by them only if they are natives of the United States. Cartucho was lying with his head on the ox-hide that served as table, waiting with poorly dissembled impatience for his share of the banquet. The mantis flew down on the ox-hide and proceeded to crawl over it, taking little flights from one corner to another; and whenever it thought itself menaced it assumed an attitude of seeming devotion and real defiance. Soon it lit in front of Cartucho’s nose. Cartucho cocked his big ears forward, stretched his neck, and cautiously sniffed at the new arrival, not with any hostile design, but merely to find out whether it would prove to be a playmate. The mantis promptly assumed an attitude of prayer. This struck Cartucho as both novel and interesting, and he thrust his sniffing black nose still nearer. The mantis dexterously thrust forward first one and then the other armed fore leg, touching the intrusive nose, which was instantly jerked back and again slowly and inquiringly brought forward. Then the mantis suddenly flew in Cartucho’s face, whereupon Cartucho, with a smothered yelp of dismay, almost turned a back somersault; and the triumphant mantis flew back to the middle of the

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