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a Curious Occurence of Caterpillars

12 July, 2010

Introducing the Pine Processionary Caterpillar, as encountered by the Author in the pleasant countryside near Agen, France.  These fuzzy creatures dedicatedly follow each other head-to-tail in single-file.  Never will they deviate from their path!  The Author and her accomplices arranged an assortment of obstacles, including a copy of Canterbury Tales, but nothing could break these fellows apart.  The French naturalist, Jean Henri Fabre concocted an experiment to test the their dedication.  He arranged a group of them in a circle around the edge of a flowerpot, and they followed each other round and round the flowerpot for seven days.  Nothing can break their line!

Nothing except…see third photograph.


On a perfectly innocent bike ride into the closest village, the Author met, in a most tragic and traumatic fashion, a long long line of Caterpillars.  Oh the Horror!  The march was split in two, with the result of immense confusion for the Caterpillars.  The fellow, whom the tyre missed by inches, saw his squashed companions ahead of him and, with no one ahead to cling to, look to and fro for a friend.  As the rest of the procession carried on, unaware, the second section was in distress and disarray.  The memory of it brings tears to the eyes and crippling guilt to the breast of the Author.  My sincerest apologies, oh Pine Processionary Caterpillars!

I fear I unwittingly rode over one

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