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  • Mosquitoes Throughout History

    When we tell stories, we incorporate the things around us into tales of how the world began, where animal came from and more.  Consequently, there are a number of stories from around the world that show us how peoples at different times in history have thought about the mosquito.

    In Islamic legend, Allah sent mosquitoes to punish Nimrod.  According to the legend, a mosquito entered Nimrod’s head, and the constant humming of the mosquito was so disturbing that Nimrod ordered one of his guard to strike his head with a stick.  Eventually, the guard hits him so hard that his head splits open, and the mosquito escapes into the world.

    A Tuscarora legend recounts the tale of the origins of mosquitoes as well.  In this legend, the mosquito is a giant, so large he blocks out the sun from the sky.  He would eat one or two people at a time for his meals.  Despite their best efforts, the warriors were unable to kill this great beast.  The medicine men of the tribe prayed with their chief that the great creator would show them how to overcome this monster.  Their prayers and chants were heard by Bat and Spider, who came to help.  Bat planned to battle the monster until it died, while Spider spun a web to catch Mosquito.

    Overhearing this plan, Mosquito decided to run away, fearful that he wouldn’t be able to best Bat in battle.  He flew so fast that he couldn’t be seen.  All that could be heard was the buzzing of his wings as he flew.  But Bat was also fast, and he chased Mosquito.  As Bat began to overcome Mosquito, Mosquito glanced back, only to fly directly into Spider’s web, where he was caught fast and destroyed.  As the blood of the dying Mosquito flew in splatters in all directions, from each drop of blood was born a small mosquito, one with sharp stingers.  These thousand sons of Mosquito still bite us today, and still must continue to elude Spider, who still spins a web to stop them, and Bat, who still hunts for them in the night.

    Finally, Aesop tells the tale of a fox that crossed a river, only to find itself tangled up in a bush, unable to move.  Seeing the predicament the fox was in, a group of mosquitoes decided to take advantage of the situation.  They settled down upon him and began to dine on Fox’s blood.

    A hedgehog strolls up and takes pity upon the poor fox.  The hedgehog offers to drive away all of the mosquitoes that are biting the fox.  The fox thanks the hedgehog for his offer but declines.  When the hedgehog asks why, the fox says that the mosquitoes have already had all they could eat and that he fears if they’re driven away, more will come to take their place and, because of their voracious appetite, he will be bled to death.

    Although these stories don’t offer any concrete advice on how to rid yourself of the pesky nuisances that are mosquitoes, they do provide an interesting background glance into the colorful history of the mosquito.