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A Lesson In Emu's Death

The Hartford Courant, Editorial, November 27 2006

Of all the animals on Earth, man is by far the most complex and dangerous.

Man is a predator who wars against his own and has caused the disappearance of other species. On the other hand, man is presumably the only animal that can reason and feel and ponder the meaning of his own existence.

Occasionally, something happens that casts doubt on pat theories about man's exclusivity within the animal kingdom.

Recently, an emu named Friggin that had escaped from Simsbury's Flamig Farm more than four months ago died of heart failure at the moment that it was captured, to be returned to the farm.

Emus are flightless, spindly legged birds. They resemble ostriches, but are about half their size. Farmers breed the birds for meat, leather and for the oil they produce, which is used to heal arthritis, wounds, burns, insect bites and stings. Sometimes emu feathers are used as hat ornaments.

Residents who spotted Friggin during its four-month breather couldn't help commenting that the emu seemed to be in a state of bliss as it romped through the woods of Simsbury, Avon, Canton, Burlington and New Hartford.

One wonders whether the emu's heart gave out because it realized that its life on the run had ended. Life is cheap. But living, truly living, even for four months, is priceless.

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