1st - Today is the birthday of the Leaf-Rattler, a performance artist of the Modern Peculiar movement, who would rush into crowds while waving large jars full of dried leaves. “The leaves are speaking!” she would cry. “Ignore them at your peril!” She received several sizeable grants for her artwork, which she spent on larger and larger leaves. Her later years were spent trying to breed a giant-leafed banana tree that would survive the city’s coldest winters.
3rd - Today is the birthday of Janet Jonas, fashion designer, best known for popularizing leopard print. “Leopard is a neutral,” she often said. “It goes with anything. If you see a leopard in the street, it never clashes.” She went on to champion several other animal prints, including crocodile, giraffe, and wendigo.
8th - Today is the birthday of the poet Worms-Moving-Sideways, of the Mole People. Worms-Moving-Sideways is famed for his poetry, which was translated into many human languages. He was the first non-human Poet Laureate of the City, and performed his great work "Five Clay Poems and One Mud Poem" at the inauguration ceremony of the queen.
13th - Today is the birthday of Strawberry Roan, born Mary McGovern, one of the city’s most famous burlesque dancers. Her act included several carousel horses and over six hundred feet of satin ribbon. It was hailed as “daring” “innovative” and “dead sexy.”
15th - The Council of Sixteen, a group of mice engaged in warfare against the squirrels inhabiting the garden and attic of their two-story brownstone, delivered their official declaration of war to the squirrels.
15th - Today is the birthday of the artist Carlos Ermine, who painted one truly magnificent painting, threw his paints away, and went into chartered accounting. The single Ermine painting, titled “Girl With A Pink Hat,” hangs in the Royal Museum, where groups of artists regularly gather to mutter and drink heavily.
17th - The Council of Sixteen mice launched their first assault against the squirrel oppressors, sending sappers to carefully chew through the base of many of the branches favored by squirrels. In the ensuring chaos of snapped branches and plummeting squirrels, one squirrel was injured and many more were deeply humiliated. The mice suffered no casualties, although several had to have splinters removed from their gums.
24th - The Council of Sixteen sent a mouse spy, disguised as a young squirrel, to infiltrate the home of the enemy. Armed with a tail wig and doused in squirrel pheromones, Lady Vervain of the Eighteenth Wainscoting family went forth to spy upon the squirrel oppressors. The hopes of a grateful mouse tribe went with her.
27th - Today is the birthday of Ethel Khan, a barbarian chieftain noted for her savagery, hatred of monasteries, and exquisite table manners. She is estimated to have martyred well over a thousand people in religious orders. Historians speculate that time spent in a finishing school run by nuns may have contributed to this irrational hatred.
27th - The whale wisewoman “Six Notes Returning From The Western Stars” rescued nine seal pups from a small school of sharks. The seals were safely returned to their mothers and the sharks were given very stern looks until they went away.
27th - Eland the Younger documented tool use in potter wasps. Not content to simply build small baked-mud homes, some of the wasps had taken to shaping the mud with small sticks and pebbles, smoothing out rough edges and making pleasing designs.
29th - Today is the birthday of Gerald Stone, better known as Johnny Stone, one of the great musical icons of the 20th century. He rocketed to stardom in 1955 with his hit single “Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens” and followed it with “Johnny Stone’s Rockin’ Holiday Blues,” “God of Rock ‘n Roll,” and “Echo Harbor Rag.”
31st - The novel Eight Slices of Pineapple was published. Hailed as an extraordinary coming of age novel, a tour-de-force, and a work of maddening genius, it swept all the major awards, including the Royal Medal for Literary Valor. All this occurred despite the fact that no one knew the name of the author, and the book was listed as being simply by “Anonymous.”
31st - Lady Vervain, a mouse spy for the Council of Sixteen, succeeded in seducing the squirrel second-in-command and lifting the next week’s battle plans. As she was leaving the tree, her faux tail came loose and fell off, revealing her identity as a mouse. She boldly flung herself off a tree, breaking a leg on impact, and limped to safety before the started squirrels could follow.
3rd - The camel danced with the fanged things until midnight.
5th - Today is the birthday of the glovemaker Heinrich Tableroni, long acknowledged as one of the greatest of his time. He created the legendary Salamander Gloves, which remained damp and cool in hot weather, and was once called upon to glove a sparrow, which he did.
7th - The naturalist Eland the Younger first described the woolly pig. This four-foot-long, shaggy swine is believed to be one of the last survivors of the Ice Age. Woolly pigs live primarily above the arctic circle, though there is a remnant population partway up Mother Mountain.
7th - It is the birthday of Melinda Berman, the Masked Editor, who rode under cover of night through the city, correcting spelling and punctuation on signs and posters. She was eventually unmasked by an angry goat salesman and dragged into court, where she was found guilty of petty vandalism and fined one dollar.
10th - The naturalist Eland the Younger identified the Isolationist Penguin. Even at the time, this species was nearing extinction, as it prefers its own company, even during the breeding season. Isolationist Penguins today are found only in zoos, where they reproduce via artificial insemination and the eggs are hatched by surrogates.
10th - The anniversary, in the time before time, of the ascension of the god Mockingbird-on-the-Left, who came from the mountains to the south of the Glass Wastes and stole fire from the hearth of heaven.
12th - It is the birthday of Sparky the Friendly Snake, a long-time attraction at the Royal Zoo. Sparky lived in the reptile house for over sixty years, posing with school groups and giving out occasionally lethal hugs.
19th - It is the birthday of the science-fiction author Marcia Gutierrez, who’s books predicted the transistor, the X-ray, nuclear houseboats, and the macrobiotic diet. Her most famous novel, “Tearing Apart The Stars” sold over a million copies and was the foundation for two movies and three doomsday cults.
24th - The squirrels launched a counter attack against the mice led by the Council of Sixteen. Squirrels plugged up the drainpipe leading to the mouseholes, using mud and acorns, and set guards on every known exit. Fortunately for the mice, squirrels have very short attention spans, and they were able to forage for supplies during frequent periods of distraction.
26th - Today is possibly the birthdayof the assassin Gray Hemlock, who stated that she never killed people on her birthday. As there are no records of assassinations occurring during her lifetime on this day, scholars conclude that it may possibly be today. Gray Hemlock’s exploits were widely known, culminating in the death of the Librarian Prince.
28th - Eland the Younger first encountered the aardlion, a large feline-like creature of the distant wastes. He encountered the beasts when they attempted to eat him, and only timely intervention by his faithful servant Heinrich prevented bloodshed.
28th - It is the birthday of Seamus Tells-the-Trees, last of the great bards of the highlands. It was said that when a true bard spoke, the stones and waters would rise up to shame his enemies. His name has been linked to the suspicious mass-drowning of a number of tax collectors, though no proof was ever found.
3rd - The Pepperoni Pete’s Factory Fire killed twelve in the city’s industrial district. Greasy rags caught fire and burned unnoticed for over an hour. Fire suppression measures proved ineffective, as the sprinkler system turned out to have been installed upside down. Many were injured and at least one person tragically beheaded by a high-velocity frozen flatbread.
7th - It is the birthday of the Prime Minister of Qualm, who is also that small island nation’s mayor, chief diplomat, and taco seller. His tacos have been described as an affront to foreign policy, but his churros have averted at least two wars.
10th - It is the birthday of a large frog, who was spawned in a small mud puddle two years ago. She spent a frantic youth as a tadpole in the shrinking mud puddle, but pulled through thanks to unusually powerful spring rains. She plans to treat today as just another day, and requests that no one make a fuss.
12th - The [[Plague Doctor Accords], brokered at the Ravencoast School of Divinity, were ratified, codifying the status of these vital (and attractive) members of society. Plague Doctors are now granted pensions, basic health care, and living quarters in times of distress. While this was originally considered a very expensive solution, and the Prime Minister refused to ratify it, legend has it that he went into a back room with several members of the Docter’s Brotherhood. He emerged several minutes later, pale and shaken and muttering about the masks coming off, and immediately signed off on the Accords.
14th - The Burlap Drum, a peculiar musical instrument made from inflated feed sacks, was invented. It was hailed as a folk instrument and several scholarly articles were written about its cultural heritage, but eventually the fact that it simply didn’t sound very good caused it to fade into obscurity.
17th - It is the birthday of the famous jug-band player, Hummingbird Jones. The story goes that Jones went to the crossroads to sell his soul to the Devil, carrying his jug. The Devil reportedly said “Are you sure you don’t want to take up guitar?” and “How about the fiddle? The fiddle is good. I feel weird about this.”
17th - The bark peeled off a particular tree in the forest, revealing a poem of heartbreaking beauty written by the writhing tunnels of woodworms. A woodpecker eventually came along and correct the punctuation.
21st - The Whopping Good Smells incense factory burned to the ground in the industrial district of the city. The cause of the fire was unknown, but the entire city reeked of Nag Champa for over a week.
26th - The Council of Sixteen finally broke the blockade that had kept them locked within the brownstone’s walls. A brave mouse diver named Cotton Whisker had entered the sewer system via the toilets, evaded hungry rats, and managed to come up behind the squirrels and distract them while the mice broke through the barricades. Cotton Whisker did not return for some weeks and was given up for lost, but eventually made his way home, having befriended an elderly rat who gave him safe passage through the sewers.
28th - It is the birthday of the social worker Rosemary Jackson, who worked tirelessly for the right of the poor to free education. “It is a terrible system,” she wrote, “that deprives a family in perpetuity of the chance at betterment, should any one generation slip into poverty, through mischance or ill-fortune.” Jackson schools were founded throughout the city and outlying lands, and were among the first non-religious early education options available to the working class.
31st - It is the birthday of Normal McGovern, motivational speaker and author of the books “Happy Power,” “Happier Power,” “Even More Happy,” and “How to Be Happy Anywhere.” He died fabulously wealthy, while anti-depressant sales reached the highest point in three decades.
31st - The Black Beast charged through a crowded market, overturning a table manned by Garlic Scouts, and making a noise varyingly described as a shriek, a moan, and an unholy racket. There were minor injuries among the Garlic Scouts, mostly skinned knees, and the Black Beast escaped up the side of a building. Several Garlic Scouts pelted it with cookie boxes, earning their Improvised Marksmanship badges, until the Beast was out of sight.
7th - It is the anniversary of the opening of the Royal Museum’s Saurian Wing, which included thousands of articulated dinosaur skeletons. There was an unfortunate incident early on when the velociraptor exhibit came to life, but as velociraptors are about the size of a large turkey, they were rapidly kicked apart by security guards and the skeletons were reassembled at a site that had not previously housed the Necromancer’s Local 501. Over half a million visitors come to the Saurian Wing annually.
7th - It is the birthday of the broadcaster Carl Viking, one of the great radio personalities of the last century. Viking began broadcasting at a local radio station where his grave, soothing voice became associated with serious, reliable newscasting. His reporting on the Battle of Tyson’s Crossing and the quarantine of Echo Harbor cemented his career, and he became the go-to person for breaking bad news in a sensitive way.
9th - It is the birthday of Lord Stephen the Collator, one of the most famed members of the Ancient Order of Linguists. Lord Stephen slew many enemies of punctuation on the field of battle, before eventually being felled by a rogue semi-colon. His tomb is a tourist destination for many English majors, featuring, among other interesting architectural details, a glossary made entirely of marble.
11th - Poet Ebon Lake died in his unheated garret. He was buried in a pauper’s grave, even as the first lines of his great poem “The Hollows of the Moon” were being inscribed over the entrance to the Royal Observatory.
11th - It is the anniversary of the Smilegod killings, which ultimately claimed more than a dozen victims. The victims were found laid out ritualistically, wearing clown paint. The final victim, however, broke this pattern and appeared to have committed suicide, after writing, in his own blood, “SERIAL MURDER IS DISPLEASING TO SMILEGOD.” Theories abound, most of them disturbing.
14th - Eland the Younger discovered the Ravenous Fire Chigger, by standing in a nest of the fearsome insects. The next few pages of Eland’s journal are a testament to this great naturalist’s extraordinary vocabulary. Ravenous Fire Chiggers are confined to a small area of the Glass Wastes, which is full of tall grass and deep lakes, and looks deceptively peaceful. The itching of a Fire Chigger bite has been compared to poison oak, only more so and with enthusiasm.
18th - A skeleton emerged from beneath the Kingfisher Bridge, walked to a food truck, ordered seven gyros and then climbed back under the bridge.
23rd - The naturalist Eland the Younger discovered the Ungrateful Saddlemoth. This enormous moth, a relative of the Common Saddlemoth, is of a size for riding, but strongly opposed to the idea. Attempted moth-riders say that the Ungrateful Saddlemoth can buck like a Titan Swallowtail and is not responsive to nectar bribes.
28th - It is the birthday of a medium-sized cumulonimbus cloud above and slightly to the left of the city. It plans to do that thing where there is a break in the clouds and visible sunbeams shine down, just as a nice gesture.
2nd - It is the birthday of the Duchess of Ellensburg, the most fashion forward woman of the mid 1800’s. Among her most extraordinary sartorial confections was a dress made entirely of horse hooves, a shark-shaped hat, and a waistcoat made entirely of highly trained squirrels who held hands in formation for an entire evening, with only occasional breaks to visit the restroom. The waistcoat was generally considered inferior, but the training of the squirrels was much lauded as a feat truly beyond the usual run of fashion.
5th - A daring daylight robbery took place, as the criminal Jack “Boggy” Burns hit five banks in a row, led police on a breakneck chase through the city, then jumped into the Autumn River and vanished with over eight million dollars in cash. Dredging the river eventually revealed a large rubber suit that looked like Boggy.
9th - Eleven hundred fedoras were recalled by the Hopping Hat Rack Hat Company, as they contained razorwire. The Hopping Hat Rack Company claimed that they had been sabotaged by a disgruntled employee, but the authorities declined to investigate on the grounds that the number of people who look good in fedoras are vastly exceeded by the number of people who think they look good in fedoras, and perhaps this would help to cool down an already over saturated market.
9th - Naturalist Eland the Younger discovered the Theatrical Opossum. Like many animals, the opossum plays dead to escape predators, but this one insists on reciting a small speech about the unkind hand of fate, clutches its chest, falls prone, recites another small speech about the encroaching darkness, and asks its predator to deliver a last message to its loved ones. Theatrical Opossums are limited to a very small range with very courteous predators, including the Apologetic Wolf, the Social Fox, and the extremely rare Kindly Wolverine.
12th - It is the birthday of Wiggens Aguirre, author of the popular “Miss Crabcake” series of mysteries. They began with “Miss Crabcake Goes Fishing” and ran to nearly eighty volumes, before culminating in “Miss Crabcake’s Final Bite.” They featured an elderly fisherwoman who would sail to various small islands, usually just before or after a murder had taken place, and solve the mystery using folksy wisdom and a large fish-gutting knife.
16th - It is the birthday of the Dunkelkhan Ogre, scourge of the lower highlands, who eats the bones of men and drinks vast quantities of tea. The Dunkelkhan Ogre should not be approached under any circumstances and if you happen to be traveling in the lower highlands, we suggest leaving your bones at home as a precaution.
19th - A small boy with a branch attacked an unspeakable foe. The results of this battle are not recorded.
21st - The Currency Stamp Rebellion, a grassroots campaign which attempted to get money out of politics by stamping anti-corruption slogans on dollar bills, was founded. Unfortunately the ink was quite poor quality and rapidly blurred into a large pink blob on the bill, and anyway, as various pundits pointed out, the number of politicians who could be bribed with a dollar bill are few and far between.
23rd - It is the birthday of Hayseed McGraw, founder of a series of feed stores throughout the highlands, which offered “Hayseed Brand Feed.” Each sack came with a cheerful saying printed on them, including such statements as “Health is Wealth!” “Eat and apple a day and you’ll live forever!” and “Hayseed Feed Cures Baldness.” Some of these statements were investigated by the Royal Medical Society and found to be not entirely factual.
28th - It is the birthday of some artist who drew a lot of things with wombats.
30th - The children’s show “Squeaky the Truck” which featured the adventures of a computer-animated truck in a town called Truckville debuted on this day. It had an all-star cast of voice actors and featured strong moral lessons. Adults described it, almost universally, as “Creepy as hell,” and “So deep in the uncanny valley you couldn’t find your way out with GPS.” It lasted ten seasons. Parents of small children during the show’s run can still often be reduced to twitching catatonia merely by reciting Squeaky’s catch phrase, “Keep on trucking, Squeaketeers!”
30th - A bitter battle was fought between rival gangs of raccoons over control of a particularly choice dumpster. Hostilities lasted nearly an hour and were followed by ritualized handwashing.
2nd - Today is the birthday of the great humanitarian Melissa Jacques. A child of privileged parents, she worked as a nurse during the War with the Mountain Kingdom, and later credited this experience with opening her eyes to the realities of poverty and suffering. She built seven hospitals and one of the first modern asylums that did not serve primarily as out-of-the-way warehousing for the mentally ill. When Melissa passed away, over ten thousand people came to the funeral. Many spoke movingly about her kindnesses.
4th - Today is the birthday of the whale wisewoman “Six Notes Returning From The Western Stars.” Her exact age in unknown. Interviews are difficult to conduct, as the whale language takes a great deal of time to convey anything and has no past tense. Dolphin transcriptionists claim that she is several hundred years old and fond of squid.
6th - Today is the birthday of the heroic barista Emma McLaughlin, who won the freedom of her people from the barbarian chieftan Ethel Khan, by producing a single, perfectly made Columbian depth charge, which requires all the ingredients to be added in the correct order, steamed, then strained. Ethel Khan, who loved her conquest but loved her coffee more, freed McLaughlin’s tribe and allowed them safe passage over the border.
9th - Today is the birthday of the great potato breeder Manuel Allpa, who studied among the mountain people and brought back many cultivars on the brink of extinction. Among these were Golden Fish, a slender, yellow-fleshed potato excellent for the water’s edge, and Hummingbird Heart, a tiny red potato roasted and eaten as a snack. It is estimated that nearly 20% of genetic variability in modern potatoes can be traced to Allpa’s work.
11th - The Island of Bones appeared in the harbor. Fortunately it did not stay long, because it is an unpleasant sort of place.
16th - Noted entomologist Reagan Gennault passed away, in pursuit of the famed Great Morpho butterfly. The Great Morpho is believed to be extinct, or possibly mythical. Gennault, who described a number of species of louse, was not actually interested in the Great Morpho, but on lice which he believed would live on this giant butterfly’s wings.
16th - The barbarian chieftan Ethel Khan attacked the convent of St. Almathea, burning the skunk cabbage fields and advancing despite the acrid smoke. She captured three hundred nuns and put them to the sword.
18th - It is the birthday of the seventh Prime Minister, who introduced a number of notable reforms and ushered in the historic peace with the mole-people. Unlike his short-lived predecessor, he remained in power for many years, before retiring and passing away peacefully, surrounded by his children and grandchildren.
20th - It is the birthday of noted cookbook author Annie O’Riley, who has produced such works as “1001 Uses For Leftover Turkey,” “Ham For All Occasions” and “4-Ingredient Meals For Funerals.” Her published, Cryptic Cooking Books, has stated off the record that working with Mrs. O’Riley is “printing money” and has sent assassins after anyone who dares to suggest that she might be a conglomerate of eleven overworked cooking school students.
4th - It is the birthday of Lady Ebonlock the Conjugator, one of the great heroes of the Ancient Order of Linguists. Known for her berserker fits, during which she would chew the edge of her index, Lady Ebonlock slew many foes of grammar. She was eventually brought down by a cowardly free-verse poet, who stabbed her in the back and then began declaiming over her body. Fellow battle-linguists rushed to her aid and the poet died before finishing his poorly spelled tirade. Lady Ebonlock was given a hero’s funeral, set adrift in a burning boat garnished with correctly used Oxford commas.
9th - Whale wisewoman “Six Notes Returning From The Western Stars” composed her famous haiku “Thoughts of the Barnacle.” This haiku follows the required 5/7/5 format but takes eleven days to perform, as whale syllables last much longer than other people’s.
11th - It is the birthday of noted patron of the arts John Wilding, who sought out street artists and bought their paintings so that they could eat. Upon his death, a warehouse of artwork was found under dust sheets. Many of the paintings were terrible, but there were also extraordinary early pieces by many famed artists. "I don't actually care for art," Wilding said. "Never have. But it's an addiction these poor souls were born with, and there's no cure, so I try to lighten their suffering a little."
14th - It is the birthday of a hummingbird egg. The actual hummingbird was born some days later.
16th - It is the birthday of the interior decorator Agnes Moonshort, who described thirty-seven hundred different shades of the color green. Her comprehensive volume “From Chartreuse To Sage” was three feet thick and consisted of endless color swatches, which had to be silk-screened to insure total color fidelity. The book was a staple of high-end paint stores and a number of the colors, including “Alder Underleaf” and “Week-Old Bamboo Sprout” are still popular today.
18th - It was on this day that the naturalist Eland the Younger discovered a small nest of baby hummingbirds. A few moments later, the adult discovered him and set his mane on fire. Eland thus went on to describe the Ember Hummingbird, the smallest form of phoenix then known to science. (The Bumblebee Phoenix, discovered nearly a century later, is the smallest currently known.)
18th - It is the birthday of the bardBrigid Slashmoss, who is considered a lesser light in the bardic firmament. Her work tended to be rather pedestrian unless she was extremely angry. She once exploded fifteen fire hydrants while protesting a traffic stop, merely by declaiming, but such events were few and far between. Her greatest claim to fame is having trained the last great highland bard, Seamus Tells-the-Trees, as well as his rather less successful brother, Herman.
21st - It is the birthday of the poet and activist Manuel Santana, who said “All of us are prisoners, but some of us are granted more comfortable chains.” Described as “a bit of a downer” by his peers, Santana nevertheless crusaded tirelessly for the rights of the imprisoned and is credited with improving prison conditions throughout the country.
23rd - The skeletal grunions run. These small, dead fish wiggle their way onto the beach in vast numbers at high tide, engaging in what would be egg-laying behavior if they were living fish. When they have finished--and who can really tell--the tide washes them back out to sea again, where they go about their business for another year, being dead. Skeletal grunions are a major food source for undead toothed whales.
23rd - It was on this day, some four months after the signing of the Plague Doctor Accords, that the first pensions were granted to elderly Plague Doctors. Prior to the Accords, even Plague Doctors who had served their communities faithfully and well were often reduced to poverty when they could no longer serve. The Ravencoast School of Divinity offered the first retirement home for these valued--and good looking--members of society. This home is still active to this day and fields a championship shuffleboard team.
30th - It was on this day that the naturalist Eland the Younger first described the Giant Fruitbat, which is actually only about two inches long but lives primarily on giantfruit. A transcription error by the publisher of Eland’s journals led to years of confusion, as later naturalists scoured the jungle looking for these giants and finding nothing. The Giant Fruitbat was listed as critically endangered, probably extinct, until a researcher went back to the original sources and pointed out that Eland was probably talking about an entirely different bat, which was plentiful and increasing, as giantfruit are rather weedy trees.
1st - It is the birthday of the ancient philosopher Cicero. Not the famous one, but a different one.
4th - The naturalist Eland the Younger discovered the Dwarf Weeping Cedar, a form of miniature cedar with downturned branches. Compared to many other species discovered by Eland, this one could not be considered scientifically significant. Nevertheless, the Dwarf Weeping Cedar has proved so profoundly useful to gardeners and landscapers, spawning over two hundred cultivars, that it seems appropriate to take note.
8th - It is the birthday of fashion designer Alexis Beard who pioneered a line of white ceramic deer heads that became enormously popular in interior design circles. Beard followed this success with ceramic wolf heads, dragon heads, rhino heads, and slug heads, but none quite achieved the same popularity. He eventually passed away, nearly penniless, in a warehouse surrounded by ceramic animals. Those who found him described it all as extremely creepy.
27th - It is the probable birthday of the graffiti artist known as “Raygun,” whose spray-painted artwork decorated the city for nearly two decades in the 1990s. The identity of Raygun was never confirmed, but on this day every year, a painting would appear somewhere in the city. This painting featured some form of beverage—a cup of tea, a pint of beer, or something similar—inscribed with the words “Happy Birthday to Me.” Raygun’s artwork ceased in 2001, possibly indicating that the mysterious artist had died or moved away. While many of their paintings were lost, they were recognized as a National Treasure in 1998 and the surviving images protected by royal decree.
10th - A gigantic neon sign, erected in violation of all building codes, fell down. The sign was put up by the Pickwick Casino, who cheerfully paid for the code violation, saying that the revenue brought in far exceeded the daily fines.
15th - Eland the Younger described the Burning Eyespot Caterpillar, a large caterpillar with gigantic black eyespots on the tail end, designed to frighten birds. In the event that birds are not sufficiently frightened, the eyespots are iridescent and flash in the sunlight, resembling burning eyes.
24th - Eland the Younger discovered the Volcano Sanderling, a small shorebird that had evolved to take advantage of the area directly around active volcanoes. While normal sanderlings run back and forth a few steps ahead of the tide, Volcano Sanderlings prefer to run back and forth in front of magma, picking up anything seared to a crisp by molten rock.
16th - The clipper ship Remedial Stag was lost at sea under disputed circumstances.
16th - The birthday of the playwright Eleanor Anomalous, who wrote three plays before her sixteenth birthday.
16th - The birthday of a small tan lizard that lives in a dry fieldstone wall several miles away.
18th - The naturalist Eland the Younger first described the wood whale, a form of hover whale found only in old growth forests.
27th - The birthday of twin naturalists David and Eileen Horrowitz, who travelled the world together cataloging exotic species.
7th - The birthday of Olivia Stone, who pioneered the effort to vaccinate city dogs against rabies. It is due largely to her tireless efforts with a blow-gun that rabid dogs are no longer the city-wide menace that they used to be.
11th - An unknown number of years ago a cloud of mayflies achieved sentience. As evening neared, they channeled all their remaining energy into a dance that expressed everything they had learned in the course of their civilization’s single day.
11th - It's the birthday of Heinreich, the faithful manservant of naturalist Eland the Younger, who accompanied him on his many research trips. Little is known of Heinreich’s origins, although Eland’s writings praise his level-headedness, and cooking abilities.
13th - It is the anniversary of the second discovery of the Coriander Isles, by an idiot explorer who thought he was going to Troyzantium. The Coriander Isles were, of course, first discovered by the ancestors of the islanders, who had arrived in small wooden boats some millennia earlier.
13th - It is the birthday of the smallest duck in the park… or so it claims. Ducks are not to be trusted.
18th - Today is the birthday of Agatha Marlon, a furniture maker who codified the Art Tableaux style of furniture.
21st - The birthday of Angus Stewart, last of the great Haggischarmers. These showmen, with their troops of performing haggises, were once common throughout the highlands of the northeast. As the number of wild haggises dwindled, however, so did the Haggischarmers, and few young people showed an interest in this ancient art.
23rd - The birthday of the poet Gustavus Savoricus, born John Templeton, who called for a re-discovery of the classics and insisted on giving poetry readings in Latin while wearing a toga. His "Ode To An Impertinent Starling" was translated and sold thirty thousand copies before government censors realized that it was about a prostitute.
25th - The birthday of the great humorist and humanitarian Ellen Harriet Walking, who said "Whatever you see around you, at the age of eight, becomes the way the world is supposed to be."
28th - The birthday of Maxwell Hines, known as the "poet of the desert." At the age of twenty, he saw a desert for the first time and fell in love with the landscape. The rest of his life was spent making pilgrimages into dry lands.
30th - The birthday of the great mime-hunter Elaina Golden, credited with almost single-handedly reducing the mime population to non-threatening levels.
4th - Today is the birthday of Marcus McNaught, who invented the electric lightbulb after an incident with a taxidermied cat and a toaster oven. Witnesses report that he shouted “Eureka!” over and over again while his home burned to the ground. He patented it and made a modest fortune selling “McNaughteries” before far more savvy businessmen turned his invention into a household essential.
6th - Today is the birthday of Amelia Driade, whose memoir of survivorship Even The Mice Wear Masks won the Gloriana Prize for Literature in 1980. Although Ms. Driade died young, proceeds from her memoir went on to fund a series of women’s shelters throughout the city and is considered a classic today.
8th - On this day the naturalist Eland the Younger described the Whiskered Cobra, a sightless venomous serpent found in shallow caves. Whiskered Cobras have long vibrissae, which they use to feel their way around the floor of bat caves, seeking fallen bats and insects which feed upon bat guano. Whiskered Cobras can reach up to five feet in length and their venom causes ulceration in humans.
11th - Today is the birthday of Reagan Gennault, noted entomologist. He travelled the world describing new species of lice. Among these were chewing owl lice, burrowing lion lice, and what he described as “The King Louse” – thumb-sized dragon lice. His studies did not bring him widespread fame or fortune, but there is a bronze bust in the foyer of the Royal Society for Insect Studies in his honor.
13th - On this day Saint Bartholemew Argus led the snakes out of the Coriander Isles. When they reached the beach, they were loaded into boats and taken to the nearby Isle of Nork, where they spent a pleasant year frolicking in the sun and being catered to by local staff. On this day, the following year, Saint Bartholemew led them back onto boats and back home again.
15th - Today is the birthday of Thomas Lord, who standardized milk delivery in the city. Prior to Lord’s Union, milk delivery was in the hands of various dairy cartels. Depending on what neighborhood one was in, milk delivery could range from erratic to mandatory. Lord’s Union of Bonded Milkmen took the uncertainty and occasional terror out of milk delivery.
18th - The naturalist Eland the Younger first described the sand herring, which gathers in shoals in the deserts of the Glass Wastes. A small, silvery fish approximately eight inches long, sand herring shoals can number more than ten thousand individuals. Like most sand fish, the sand herring has functional lungs and only uses its gills for threat displays.
20th - Today is the birthday of the poet Ebon Lake, who wrote the epic poem “The Hollows of the Moon” while living in an unheated garret in the Glass Quarter of the city. The poem enjoyed wild success, but Lake died of hypothermia while working on its sequel.
2nd - Today is the birthday of Dr. Jacob Hammersmith, who developed the vaccine for lycanthropy. Early versions of the vaccine were only partially effective and required a painful series of boosters in the event of a bite, but today the Hammersmith vaccine is safe and effective. Lycanthropic outbreaks have been largely eliminated, except among certain religious enclaves and young idiots who don’t understand how herd immunity works.
9th - Today is the birthday of the great ornithologist Hannah Maier, who lobbied tirelessly against the unregulated “collection” of specimens, a practice that generally involved a gun. Ms. Maier’s crusade corresponded to great improvements in binocular technology, which allowed it to gain popular traction. Maier’s Silver-foot Plover was named in her honor.
11th - Naturalist Eland the Younger noted the discovery of the Giggling Hyrax. This small rodent-like creature is distantly related to elephants and lives in rocky outcroppings in the Glass Waste. It finds everything funny and will begin laughing hysterically at the slightest provocation. “Collection of this specimen was exceedingly simple,” Eland notes, “as it saw me, pointed, laughed, fell over, and was so convulsed with merriment that it did not notice Heinrich behind it with a rock.”
13th - Today is the birthday of Calico Jane, one of the most notorious outlaws in history. She wore women’s clothing during bank heists, which she would tear off to reveal men’s clothing while making her getaway. Newspapers of the day were extremely confused. She was never caught and dropped out of sight in 1849, having racked up nearly a hundred thousand dollars in stolen banknotes. Various parties, both male and female, came forward over the years claiming to be Calico Jane, but none could produce the money and the mystery appears to have gone with her to her grave.
16th - Today is the birthday]] of Joseph Ilex, owner of the largest private collection of birdhouses in the world. His collection ranged from the functional to the baroque and included some hundred thousand specimens. Upon his death, his daughter bequeathed the collection to the Royal Museum, on the condition that they “get all these goddamn birdhouses out of the attic.”
20th - On this day two field mice attempting to evade a red-tailed hawk shared a brief, fraught liason under an oak leaf. Both mice later chalked it up to “just one of those crazy things that happen,” but remembered it fondly later in life.
20th - Today is the birthday of the sixth Prime Minister, who was assassinated within six weeks of taking office. Mourning was brief and largely perfunctory. “He was always telling me to go get coffee,” said one member of the cabinet. “I’m the secretary of agriculture. I have more degrees than God. Frankly, it couldn’t have happened to a nicer man.” The seventh Prime Minister was significantly more popular and introduced several notable reforms.
23rd - Today is the birthday of the acclaimed banjo player Jack “Fatfinger” Henkel. He is credited with singlehandedly popularizing many old banjo tunes. Perhaps his greatest achievement was the introduction of banjo solos to the classic wedding march, a musical tradition that continues to this day.
27th - On this day the naturalist Eland the Younger first described the Lantern Bug, a brightly colored insect related to fireflies. Unlike fireflies, however, Lantern Bugs can grow to eight inches long and are solitary creatures. They are occasionally used as light sources, but must be provided with tiny muzzles, as they have extraordinarily powerful mandibles and feed on mice.
27th - Today is the birthday of the Witch of the Blasted Waste. She is probably dead, but since she has a habit of showing up at christenings and weddings, we at the Hidden Almanac prefer to be on the safe side. Happy Birthday.
28th - A dozen axolotls clasped one another’s front feet in a long line, and swam together across the bed of the lake in which they lived.
28th - Eland the Younger records his discovery of the Gray Sea-Eagle, an immense bird described as having wings “like barn doors.”
30th - On this day the infamous Ceramic Murderess was hanged. Rachel Abhorsen was a potter who lost four husbands under mysterious circumstances. Each disappeared, often after Mrs. Abhorsen had taken out large life insurance polices on them. It was later determined that she was drugging the men, shoving them into her kiln, and firing them at cone ten. The remains would then be pulverized with broken pots and mixed into clay.
30th - Today is the birthday of “foraging” expert Jacob Crumb, who advocated foraging for city dwellers. He published many books on the topic, including “Chickweed Salad and You,” “Ten Edible Urban Weeds,” and “How to Cook a Sewer Rat.”