Koan #20...

By Vichara

A man traveling across a field encountered a tiger. He fled, the tiger after him. Coming to a precipice, he caught hold of the root of a wild vine and swung himself down over the edge. The tiger sniffed at him from above. Trembling, the man looked down to where, far below, another tiger was waiting to eat him. Only the vine sustained him.

Two mice, one white and one black, little by little started to gnaw away the vine. The man saw a luscious strawberry near him. Grasping the vine with one hand, he plucked the strawberry with the other. How sweet it tasted!

depredate • \DEP-ruh-dayt\ • verb

1 : to lay waste : plunder, ravage

2 : to engage in plunder

Example Sentence:

“[O]ne of our party, after being asked by the owner to help depredate a few of the green, squawky birds at a feedlot, took 4 shots and killed over one hundred.” (The Bakersfield Californian, August 16, 2008)

Did you know?

"Depredate" derives primarily from the Latin verb "praedari," meaning "to plunder," an ancestor to our words "predator" and "prey." First appearing in English in the 17th century, the word most commonly appears in contexts relating to nature and ecology, where it is often used to describe the methodical, almost automatic destruction of life. That’s how the film critic Stanley Kauffman, for example, summarized the plot of the famous horror movie Jaws (1975): “A killer shark depredates the beach of an island summer resort. Several people are killed. Finally, the shark is killed. That's the story.”

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