Alexis’ Bestiary: An Interview With A Jackalope

jackalope
This photo was taken from the internet. My guest declined to be photographed.

Well, folks, I have a special treat for you today. I have secured an interview with a creature of folklore: the Jackalope. What follows is an accurate description of our encounter, except where I have embellished to add interest.

In the interests of full disclosure, I should note that I claimed that the interview questions I used were submitted by my readers in order to avoid personal injury, as some of the questions are quite sensitive in nature and the Jackalope is known to have an irascible temperament.

I arranged the meeting to take place in a neutral location, the back garden of a friend’s house. This not only provided us with a quiet and relaxed setting, but also prevented any possible unpleasantness that might otherwise arise. Like extra dishwashing, or the Jackalope learning where I live.

He was large, for a rabbit, about the size of an average labrador. His fur had come in thick and glossy against the coming winter, and of an attractive color: light tan darkening to an orangy brown on the shoulders and the back of his large ears. As the legend suggests, he also boasted a set of impressive antlers. Six points on one side, and five on the other. One had apparently been broken off in some mishap. The points were intimidating and looked as though they had been polished, if not actually sharpened.

Having hopped up on the lawn chair set up for our interview, he sat upright on his haunches with his forelimbs tucked against his chest, an incongruously bunny-like posture, compared with his relatively imposing stature.

I leaned back in my own, uncomfortable, lawn chair in what I hoped was a casual manner, and pulled out the notebook with the interview questions and a pen with which to record his responses.

“So, Mr. Jackalope,” I said.

“Just call me Jack.”

“Okay.” I had no intention of calling him Jack.

“You said there’d be whiskey.”

“Yes, so I did.”

Lacking hands he couldn’t actually hold the tumbler I gave to him, but he managed to grip it between his forepaws nonetheless. I was a little worried he would spill it all over himself when he tilted it back to take a sip, but he seemed confident.

“A lot of legends way that whiskey is a favorite of yours. Can you tell us how that became part of your myth?”

“I don’t know how these things get started. I do like whiskey, though. But I also like bourbon. And beer.”

“Do you prefer beer with hops?”

He stared at me for a few second before breaking out in a peal of raspy laughter. “That’s very offensive.”

The fact that he kept chuckling through the following monologue assured me that he was not, in fact, offended.

“You’re lucky I don’t believe in political correctness,” he said. “Some people these days can’t take a joke. That’s funny. Hops. But really, whether or not a beer has hops doesn’t matter, so long as all the flavors are in balance. It can’t go crazy and overwhelm all the other flavors. Balance, that’s the key. And it always tastes better from the tap than a bottle. Why does that make a difference? Can you tell me why that is? Why should it matter out of a tap or a bottle? But it does.”

“I’m afraid I don’t know. Getting back to the origins of your legend, some people say that the legend of the Jackalope is derived from sightings of rabbits infected with the Shope Papilloma virus, which sometimes results in the growth of tumours on the forehead.”

“If that’s true, people need to have their heads examined.”
“Don’t you mean their eyes?”
“That too. Someone seeing some poor deformed rabbit, and thinking it’s me– That’s just not reasonable.”
“What about the brothers Ralph and Douglas Herrick, who claimed that the legend came out of a clever bit of taxidermy they did?”
“It could be that happened, but my lot have been here long before them two. My Native American name is Manabozo.”
“So you’re endemic to North America?”
“Well no, actually my ancestors were the Wolpertingers from the Black Forest of Germany. Rather a fetching name, don’t you think? Like wolf-tiger.”

 

wolpertinger
The majestic wolpertinger
“I don’t think that’s what that means, but never mind. Beyond origins, there are a few other pieces of your mythology I wonder if you could shed light on.”
“Sure.”
“Some people say that the milk of  the female jackalope has magical healing properties. Is that true?”
He didn’t answer, but just tilted his head in a way that suggested a raised eyebrow, and something like a smile formed on his muzzle.
“Okay, we can move on from that. I’ve also heard that you can be quite dangerous. Some have suggested wearing stove pipes on the legs when traveling in jackalope country.”
“It would take a lot more than just stovepipes. I once cleared a twelve-foot wall. Stovepipes. Honestly.”

“Well, it seems that’s all the time we have for today. Thank you very much for coming.”

He nodded graciously. “You’re welcome.”

All the facts in this otherwise nonesensical bit of fiction are from: mythology.net/mythical-creatures/jackalope
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