Today I was visiting a girl in a little village, called Burgthann (Burg = castle & Thann, comes from 'Tanne' = fir tree & this small village situated on a small mountain has a small castle (no the inhabitants aren't dwarfes!) & is surrounded by large thick woods of firs & pines - anyway there's a German childrens christmas song called 'Oh Tannenbaum, oh Tannenbaum, wie schön sind deine Blätter' = 'oh fir tree, oh fir tree - how green your leaves are' - hmm - there's something wrong in that song - fir trees don't have leaves, they have needles - (whole text of Tannenbaum in kinderreimeseite )
This Burgthann is about 40 km (we don't have miles here) from Nürnberg, so as the weather was fine, I took my bycicle with me on the train to her village (no she doesn't own it) - because it's still a long walk from the station there to her adress - (hadn't considered, that this way was in most part very steep ascending, so I had to walk half the way there. But at least later on my way back, me & my bike very quickly descended that lane & I was so glad that my brakes weren't broke.
But as I had missed before to examine the schedule of trains for my return - I noticed at the station that the next train was about to go in one hour -
I didn't had the patience to wait one hour there -the sun was still shining, so I decided to drive 1 or 2 stations onwards in direction Nürnberg on ways close to the rail track - Mimberg (Berg = mountain) the next station was easy to reach, a nice path through the woods along the rail, - so why not go the next station, 'Ochenbruck' (Brücke = bridge - Ochen may comes from Ochse - ox (male cow))
But then the path didn't continue the railway - it spread more & more in distance to it, joined a main street, but still with a side way for passengers & bykers - the next village arrived me & my bike - but that wasn't 'Ochenbruck' - it was 'Schwarzenbruck' (schwarz = black) - & a sign told that Ochenbruck would be 1 or 2 km to the right - but straight on it was still some km to the next station
Feucht (Feucht = moist, but may it has another word origin) , & had still time for the next train & the nearer I would bike direction Nürnberg, the cheaper the train would be (you also have to pay for the transportation of the bike) -
I rued my continueing of the trip, when I noticed that there was a long, long way upwards to drive, which exhausted me that much that I partly walked.
But I don't write this, to tell you through which villages I drove -
now while driving to Feucht - still on a path through the woods (Wald = woods) I saw a snake slithering slowly away from the path to the grass nearby - argh - never go out of house without your dicicam!
I was still walking - you know the long mountain - & she looked so pretty, shimmering metallic like gold.
In fact it wasn't a snake - it was a 'Blindschleiche' (no you read it totally wrong - to read it like it sounds in German, you have have to spell it bleend shly cha - but Americans speak the 'ch' like 'k' - no it's spelled like the spanish 'j' e.g. in 'pajaro' or 'jardin' - or if you know how to speak in spanish garaje (or garage?), then you exactly know how to speak the 'che' like the spanish 'je' - but Americans rarely can speak this letter, just like the French can't speak 'h')
Blindschleiche is called in english slow worm - both, the German & the English words are partially wrong -
Here is a picture of a Blindschleiche:
Doesn't this legless lizard look pretty, shimmering all golden, like a precious little bracelette?
& just that golden but a bit smaller, looked the exemplar of Blindschleiche I saw today.
But what's wrong in the names?
In German the name Blindschleiche could be translated to blind & schleiche = sneaking or crawling very stealthy - but it
comes from the old-German word 'Plintslicho' - where Plint later became 'blind' but was meant as 'blendend' = 'blending' - because of it's metallic shimmering - & slicho of course was 'schleichen' - sneaking.
in older times a lot of Blindschleichen got killed, because people believed they were snakes, - but they are in fact lizards, where the legs have been diminuished to short extensions on the backbone.
& they can close their eyes like lizards - snakes can't do that.
Apperently this German Blindschleiche was also translated to english, because there exists also the word 'blind worms' for 'slow worms' - & the word worm is also totally wrong.
I even learnt in school, that they are blind legless lizards - now we know: they have eyes. Just another sample that stupid sayings overwhelm easily the facts of truths - someone misinterpretes something wrong & then the misinterpretation (lie) seem to people much more convincing than the truth, already half forgotten..
I really like such seldom meetings to an animal you only see few times in your life.
In all of my life - and as a child born on the countryside, me & my 2 brothers played a lot in the woods - I've seen only 4 times in my life 'Blindschleichen' in nature (argh & I've never seen a fox in nature in all of my life - foxes are clever) - the first time I saw a 'slow worm' I was about age of 30 - hmm & well all the last 3 happenings meeting them were within the last 2 years - & they were all in about the same region in the woods between Burgthann & Feucht. So there seems to be a big population of them there.
Just today I have learned by googling 'Blindschleiche' (Anguis fragilis), that they get about 50 cm long - but only few of them get that long, because if they are attacked they can throw away their tails (just like lizards do) & this tail moves wild & vividly, so the Blindschleiche has chances to escape - but in contrary to lizards, their tales won't grow again -
But by knowing by now, that they can get to 50 cm - I became aware, that the imagined 'snake' I saw last year there, slithering away from me, that was about 50 cm, was also a Blindschleiche - Before that those I had already seen were about 10 to 20 cm & I couln't imagine which 'snake' that one could have been.
Here in Germany there exist only 2 kinds of snakes, the 'Kreuzotter' (Kreuz = cross & Otter = viper - the name 'cross' because they have a pattern looking like crosses on their back (topside)) - slightly poisonious, very seldom people die by their bite (children & old people - but really very very seldom (wirklich sehr selten))
Kreuzotter (vipera berus)
- & the 'Ringelnatter' (grass snake - latin: natrix natrix)- eats frogs & mice, but is not poisonious. Ringelnatter's like to live near water & often swim in lakes for their prey.
I once saw a Ringelnatter in a lake (about 1 meter long), but never in my live a 'Kreuzotter' in nature (they are very seldom)
But I didn't wanted to talk about snakes today, just about these presious little lizards 'Plintslicho'.
& after all - I arrived the station in Feucht just in time - about 5 minutes too early - but then the train was another 5 minutes late - all in all perfect timing & sportive too.
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