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Otters Oddities

Illustration for article titled Otters Oddities

Ancient Chinese secret, huh?

Silk. We all have heard about sheets made of silk, or underwear made of silk.

But, who actually uses any of that?

The Chinese came up with silk a long time ago. According to them, it was almost 5,ooo years ago. According to archeologists, they're right. Silk cocoons dating to 3,000-4,000 BCE have been found cut open with a knife. And, the only reason to do that would be to harvest the silk. If you just wanted the worm, you'd snip the end off and squish it out like a Freezy Pop.


Non one is really sure how silk was discovered.

One legend says a silk cocoon fell into the tea cup of a young princess, and when she tried to remove it, she noticed it was just one long strand of thread. She then got the idea to weave several strands together and see what she got.


Sounds pretty far fetched, right?

Well, it may not be too far from the truth. It's certainly more plausible than the more popular myth.


One day, a business man told his daughter he had to travel a great distance to finalize a deal, and that he would be gone for some time. A few days after he left, the girl was lonesome. She longed for her fathers company. So, she told her horse that if he could go and find her father and bring him back, she would marry him.

Well, to the girls surprise, the horse immediately ran off.

A few days later, the horse came back, with the girls father on his back. The father told the girl that it was the strangest thing. The horse came running up to him, and using it's head, tossed him onto its back, and headed home.


The girl told the father the story of how she told the horse to go find him. She left out the whole marriage part.

Over the next few days, the father noticed how the horse wouldn't do any of the tasks the father wanted done, like plowing, or hauling. But, every time the girl came near, the horse became agitated.


The father asked the girl about this, and the girl finally admitted to the part where she pledged to marry the horse.

Mortified that he may have a horse for a son in law, the father went out and killed the horse. He dressed it out and skinned it. The meat he kept for feeding the family, and the hide he laid out to dry so he could tan it.


The girl walked past the hide and said, "This is what you get for thinking you could marry a human!".

Well, the horse hide wrapped itself around the girl. She could not move. The only thing nearby was a mulberry bush, so she had to eat the leaves to survive.


A few days later, the father went looking for the girl. When he found her, she and the hide had been transformed into a giant silk worm.

The father noticed the thread she used to create her cocoon was of a make up he had never seen before, and he decided to try weaving it.


And, that's how we have silk today.

Ok. It's an origin story, so you can believe about......none of it.

But it's a good story, eh?

Now, silk is an amazing cloth. The Chinese protected the secret of it's making for as long as they could, but with something that good, you know the secret wont last.


And while silk was once the cloth of choice for royalty, it's now a fairly common fabric that anyone can have.

Here's an interesting tidbit about silk for you.

Atilla the Hun is said to have outfitted every one of his soldiers with a silk vest. The reason? When shot with an arrow, the tip of the arrow could not penetrate the silk. Instead, the silk encased the arrow head as in entered the soldiers body. When it came time to remove the arrow, instead of yanking it out can causing more damage, or just pushing it through to the back of the affected area, the silk allowed the arrow to be removed carefully from the entrance wound, with a minimum of damage.


So, wear silk if you think Robin Hood is gunning for you.

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