Last night it sounded as though a great army were running through my walls. I’m accustomed to the usual scrapes and scratches this old house produces; I know that there are creatures who live here just beyond my sight and I’m ok with that. The rodents tend to stay away since Bubo has a remarkable appetite and the bats tend to stay nearer to the attic in the eaves.
These noises were new and different and I am still puzzled as to who my new house guests could be. Or what they could be.
Which brings me to this Wednesday’s Word.
Myomancy [mye-uh-man-see] is a noun originating from the Greek for mouse. It is divination by the movements of mice.
Before you throw up your arms and laugh, think about it. Is it not completely logical to study and follow the patterns of our little creatures, since certain voles have an ability to anticipate earthquakes and field mice have been known to change their behaviors in anticipation of lean or abundant harvests?
There are numerous ancient Greek and Roman stories alluding to major generals taking cues from mice and rats; if one’s shoelaces were chewed by mice, for instance, you’d best not go into battle (for a number of reasons, I’m sure).
Honestly, our scientists today study mice and rats even more fervently than history’s most avid myomancer.
As do most New York City subway riders.