Monday, May 28, 2012

Gargan Death Carrot

Yesterday I was alerted to the existence of the Gargan Death Carrot.

I know you think I made that up but I didn't.  Admittedly, even Google only seems to be aware of it tangentially, and Wikipedia not at all, but I can assure you it is real.

If you want to verify the truth of what I am saying, travel to the misty shores of far off Adelaide.  Go to the Botanic Gardens, just to the east of the Royal Adelaide Hospital, where the bamboo sways to unfelt breezes.  And find therein the eternal Museum of Economic Botany.  Enter by the door on the south side, amidst the deepest shadows.  Turn away from the temporary exhibit of Banks' Florilegium and the grim posturings of Robert Hughes displayeth on video beside.  Turn ye to your left and inspect the display of the members of the carrot family in the glass cabinet before you.

And quake as you behold the Gargan Death Carrot.  Marvel at the shrivelled pieces of unrecognisable vegetable matter in front of you.  Wonder at the simple description that from it can be extracted a resin that is mixed into plaster.  And leave, because that's it.  Yes, having included an exhibit called the Gargan Death Carrot, the curators then failed to provide any information on it beyond some simple home decorators tips.

What is the Gargan Death Carrot?

Is the carrot deadly?  Is it poisonous?  Is it very sharp and pointy and can be hurled like a spear?  Is it hard and useful as a bludgeon?  Or perhaps it incites in its devourers a murderous rage?  Perhaps, like the mandrake, it shrieks as it is uprooted, slaying all those in earshot.

Or is it a symbol of death?  Did the Society Of Assassins in distant Garg have as its symbol the native carrot, for reasons unknown?  Or were condemned criminals permitted one final meal of Gargan carrot, which is so delicious that consumption is otherwise only permitted to the Prince Regent in his Black Tower?  Or were slices of carrot used to weight down the eyelids of the dead, granting them eternal rest?  Are the shades of the dead welcomed to the gardens of paradise by the carrot?  Or perhaps the dead are terrified of the carrot, so bunches hang in every peasant hovel to guard against witches and hobgoblins.

I looked long and hard through the rest of the exhibits, searching for similar items of eldritch lore.  I sought out, but did not find, the Guinean Haemorrhagic Yam.  I heard rumours of the Batavian Agony Pea, but could not confirm its whereabouts.  And the Apoplectic Prussian Leek was conspicuous only by its absence.

The wheels of knowledge turn slowly.

No comments: