Stacks Image 2080
Allegra Marquart
How Armadillos Happened, 2010
  • Glass
  • Fused and sandblasted
  • 44 1/2 x 9 (inches)
  • AMQ 062
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Rudyard Kipling wrote a tale about the evolution of armadillos as part of his Just So Stories. I give you here a much shortened and much less colorful written version and visually, my interpretation is in a very different format and style than Kipling would have used.

The Tortoise and the Hedgehog were much distressed by the attentions of a young jaguar. Jaguar’s mother had told him that if he turned a tortoise over he could scoop the animal out of it’s shell and have a passable meal in drought times. Alternatively he could toss a hedgehog in the water so it would uncoil. But the young one couldn’t get the directions straight and the small ones were able to confuse him enough so that they could buy some time to strategize.

The Stickly-Prickly hedgehog decided to learn how to swim and Slow- and- Solid Tortoise resolved to learn how to curl himself into a ball which would not allow any scooping.

They practiced together diligently until Slow-and-Solid began to loosen his plates so he could curl a bit and Stickly-Prickly was in the water so long his prickles began to soften and grow together.

When young Jaguar came upon his former acquaintances he didn’t recognize them. He called to his mother and pointed out that Tortoise wasn’t a tortoise and Hedgehog wasn’t a hedgehog.

Mother Jaguar, equally confused but wanting to put a good face on the matter, said: “Nonsense, everything has its proper name. I should call it Armadillo till I found out the real one. And I should leave it alone.”

So that’s how armadillos got their start even though there are still tortoises and hedgehogs who have declined to make the change.