Extract from the Flaming Wheel taken from the month of May:

Mayfly season

"The life-history of this insect is a curious one. 'short as the life of a Mayfly' has become a proverb, yet the total sum of its existence is somewhat lengthy. The eggs are laid generally in the water, sometimes on some floating leaf, and hatch out into grubs. These live entirely submerged at the bottom of the stream for two years, feeding on tiny animalculae and minute vegetable matter. During their aquatic existence they know nothing of the world of air and sunshine so far above them.

After this long period of probation the grub or nymph rises one day to the surface of the water, buoyed up by the air which has accumulated between its first and second skins. Here the outer skin splits and out walks the young fly and takes a preliminary flight to some convenient leaf. This accomplished, the skin again splits and out comes the perfect Mayfly. It has four gauzy netted wings, a slender body and two or three long filaments or tails, a large head but no mouth, for it will never eat. It has a stomach but no food will ever reach it: it is reserved for a strange use for it becomes inflated with gas, which enables the fly to rise buoyantly into the air. It only lives to mate and deposit its eggs into the water. When the night has passed and the sun rises again upon the river, the Mayfly is no more."

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