THE MOON

- Chapter 3 -
The animals on the moon


 
T
he animals on the moon come in many different species and categories - in the air, on the ground, and in the water, just as on Earth.
 
 
As already mentioned, there is only one kind of tame animal on the moon, which you, in your earthly language, would call a "moon sheep." All the other species are not tame, that is, not useful. The body of the moon sheep is fully round, like a full sack of flour. It is carried on four legs, which are no longer than eight inches (20 centimeters), with four hooves. The head resembles the head of an earthly sheep and rests on a neck twenty-four inches long (60 centimeters) and six inches wide (15 centimeters). It has two long ears similar to those of a donkey, but has only one horn protruding from its head, with very pointed protuberances, finger-long, that extend in all directions. The tail resembles that of a lion, and has a tuft of hair at the end. The coat is white and woolly, just like the earthly sheep.
 
 
The usefulness of moon sheep to the dwellers on the moon is great. Most importantly, the moon dweller nourishes himself with its plentiful, gold-colored milk. From the wool the moon person fashions all his clothing, which consists of a kind of shirt and coat and is of the same style for both male and female. In addition, the moon sheep, with its horn, loosens the soil, wherein the people throw the seeds of the root crops. These crops reach full maturity in the very short time of fourteen earth days (one moon day).
 
 
The species frequently reaches an age of ten earth years. When it dies it is skinned, and the skin is used as a resting rug in the subterranean dwellings. The flesh is placed upon an insect mound. The insects resemble your ants on Earth, and devour all the flesh from the bones in a very short time. The bones and the horn are then taken by the moon people and made into tools. There are, of course, many more animals on the moon's soil, all of which bear some resemblance to the animals on Earth. However, all of them are much smaller than their earthly counterparts, and also smaller than the moon sheep. Besides the sheep, there are two more remarkable animals: the three-footed muzzle monkey and the one-footed leaping ducker. The three-footed muzzle monkey is as large as a cat. Its head resembles that of an earthly monkey, only with the difference that the mouth cleaves down half the length of the throat. The two front feet are similar to the paws of a monkey, while the hind leg resembles the trunk of an elephant and may be retracted to eight inches (20 centimeters) and extended to a length of about twenty feet (6 meters).
 
 
Why does this animal have such a peculiar shape? You already know that the temperatures on the moon are quite different from those on Earth. During a period of twenty-eight earth days, the moon's surface is covered once with several yards of snow; in the next seven earth days, it is flooded in all directions, and, immediately following that, is subjected to the greatest of summer heat. Therefore this animal must, in accordance with its nature, have its head in the atmospheric air; that is why it requires its trunk-like foot. Also, during night time or in winter it stands on its elongated foot above the surface of the snow. It baits a species of night bird (resembling little bats on Earth) into its vicinity and allows them to fly into its wide-open mouth, which exudes a comfortable warmth and wherein the birds are consumed.
 
 
If the snow has begun to melt, the water often rises several feet, covering the lunar plains for miles. These plains on the habitable side of the moon are surrounded by high mountain ranges. Then this animal may, by means of its hind foot, keep its body above the surface of the water so that it does not drown. During the heat of the day it travels to the rivers, and often remains there in the water for several days in such a manner that only the head and paws are above the surface. When the water rises, it extends its foot; when the water subsides, it retracts it accordingly.
 
 
When such a river runs dry, the animal moves forward by extending the hind foot. It then holds onto something with the forefeet until it has drawn in the entire trunk-like foot. It repeats this procedure by embedding its four long toes at the end of the hind foot into the ground, and so moves the body quickly forward until it has reached water again. Its nourishment during the day is a species of flying crayfish, which resembles your stag beetle on Earth.
 
 
The one-footed leaping ducker is another variety of the three-footed muzzle monkey, with the difference that its foot possesses considerably more elasticity than the three-footed muzzle monkey. That is why its forward movement is done by jumping. The reason why it is also called a "ducker" is that it has the ability to constrict itself. While in this position, it takes on the appearance of a medium-sized loaf of bread on the ground. If it then decides to jump, it suddenly expands to a length of ten feet (3 meters) and propels itself forward in a bow-like manner to heights of from thirteen to twenty feet (4 to 6 meters); such a jump frequently attains distances of forty to forty-six feet (12 to 14 meters). This animal repeats this movement in such quick succession that it accelerates so as to be able to overtake any bird in flight. Its nourishment and abode are the same as those of the three-footed muzzle monkey. These animals live on the lunar plains and rarely come in contact with the human beings there, who live upon the mountain drifts.
 
 
In these mountains, besides the sheep and ant-like insects, live a large number of small birds, the largest of which is no bigger than a sparrow. But the smallest is no bigger than a fly on Earth.
 
 
The waters contain many species of fish, worms, and also many crayfish. Among the crustaceans, there is a peculiar animal called the "blue ball"; on Earth, such an animal is nowhere to be found. This ball can divide itself into two halves that are connected to each other by short muscle fibers. It nourishes itself by crushing worms between its two halves, and consuming the liquid and flushing away the waste with water. This blue ball, which has the size of a melon, also possesses another attribute: at night, it emanates from its surface such a strong glow that the rivers and lakes have a much brighter gleam than do the oceans of the Earth at the solstitial points.