#AtoZChallenge Day 24: X



“X is for Xerxes, devoured by mice.”  Now I won’t deny that it would be possible for mice or rats to come along after someone was dead and start eating their body, because they’ll east just about anything, but to suggest that they would do so while the person was still alive isn’t very realistic.  If there is another source of food around, they will take it first, and only if they were absolutely starving with no other food source available would they resort to this, or even to cannibalism, to survive.  I suppose this is one of those that parents would have worried about at different points in history, especially during the days of the Black Plague, before people knew what caused it and how it was transmitted and wanted to blame every animal they didn’t like, from cats (especially black ones) to mice and rats, when in reality it wasn’t the animals themselves but the fleas they carried around with them that did the most damage, and because the disease was very contagious, once one person in a village had it, the village was soon wiped out, and any visitors that came through would become sick as well and pass it on to other villages, assuming they made it out of there while still well enough to travel.  In any case, while technically feasible, it’s not a very likely cause of death, especially in the twentieth century (which is when this book was written).

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