THE ORIGIN OF THE FLY. (March 8, 1842)
1. The fly, a small animal indeed and often troublesome to man as well as other living creatures on earth, especially at that time of the year when the rays of the sun beat upon the ground, is not so insignificant in the order of things or so purposeless as it may seem to be.
2. In order to examine all this completely and usefully, we must pre-examine the natural state of this little animal.
3. It would be superfluous to show you the shape of the yet-to-be-discussed fly, of which you will surely have many, but we should not neglect her interesting details or her coming into existence, which should be observed with diligence and an attentive spirit.
4. How and what is the origin of the fly?
5. Scientists may know that the fly lays eggs which are so small that they can hardly be seen by the human eye, and are, therefore, so light that the eggs, like sun-dust, can stay in the air very easily.
6. But where does the fly lay its little eggs, since their number often exceeds millions, and how and where are they raised? Have you ever seen a young fly? However, the gnats are not young flies.
7. Understand, the fly, upon reaching maturity, lays her eggs wherever it sits down, and then it forgets about them. Millions are scattered by the wind into all regions of the earth, millions go into the water, yes, you probably cannot think of anything on earth, which remains free from its eggs. Since there is, so to speak, nothing so holy on which it might not land or which it may not sniff, therefore, other than glowing coals and a blazing fire, there is almost nothing, which the fly might not smear with its eggs.
8. Where the fly lays her little eggs and how they appear we already know, but how they hatch and how many survive of the countless numbers that are laid, we shall understand at once.
9. Most of these little eggs, which are laid on moist walls of houses or preferably in animal stalls or on rotting wood or some other moisture-holding mold, are safe, but the eggs blown away by the wind, of these only a very few hatch. Nevertheless, nothing is lost; instead it has another wise purpose, including those that are inhaled by man and beast, often amounting to millions, with just one breath. But let us leave those that are destined for another purpose and return to those that do hatch.
10. How will these hatch?
11. Please note, when the sun has warmed the earth sufficiently, these little eggs begin to grow until they are so big they can be seen by a reasonably sharp eye as a whitish-gray flower pollen. Naturally, they are seen only at the spots where they have been laid by the fly. This is the time of hatching which happens thus:
12. The little eggs are compelled to break open by the awakened spirits of the pre-animals of the natural order congregated within the eggs. These spirits combine into a life in the form of a scarcely visible worm. This worm nourishes itself for a few days from the moisture available at the place where it was hatched. The period of nourishment is not determined exactly, but is determined by the quality and richness of the nourishment present.
13. Up to this point, the reproduction process of the fly occurs in the normal way.
14. However, I asked you at the outset whether or not you had ever seen a young fly. See, the actual miracle of the little fly is concealed in this. It is suddenly here and nobody knows where it came from or where it was born.
15. Then, how does this miracle happen?
16. Perhaps, on occasion, you have heard old people say, ‘”The flies come partly from dust and partly from the scattered parts of dead flies.” It appears to be thus but, of course, in reality it is not so.
17. As soon as the worm has reached the proper size, which is approximately the size of a comma of a medium type script, the little worm bursts open and turns itself inside out. Then the former outer skin reforms, expands and stretches out to become the actual body of the fly, well provided with all the inner digestive organs; the former inside of the worm then brings forth the outer, visible parts of the fly, which, as soon as this transformation has occurred and comes into contact with the outside air, reach their final stage of development within a time frame of five to seven seconds maximum, at which time the fly is fully developed.
18. Comprehend well, this is the birth or, rather, the most noteworthy coming into being of the fly, and to every observer this must appear as a sufficient miracle! Nevertheless, this is the least miraculous attribute of this little animal. What will follow soon will astonish you greatly and leave you in awe! - so let us continue this noteworthy subject another day.
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