No. 4.—The Beaver.

BEAVERS, THE ARCHITECTS of the animal kingdom, are best known for their skill in construction. It must be said, however, that, as architects, they produce designs that are consistently workmanlike but generally clichéd and devoid of inspiration. The depressing sameness of most beaver architecture may be due in part to the beavers’ reliance on outdated technology: to this day, many beaver lodges prefer slide rules and T-squares to computer-aided drafting.

Beavers are famous for their dams, but it is in the lodge that a beaver is most truly a beaver. Here the beavers don their tall hats, drive their miniature cars, and often drink themselves into a furry stupor. The exact nature of the rituals practiced in these lodges is a closely guarded secret; but the beavers’ claim that their traditions go back to ancient Egypt must be dismissed as unlikely, as there is no evidence that beavers existed in the Nile valley in ancient times.

In Victorian days, beaver hats adorned the heads of well-dressed gentlemen everywhere; these were not, as popularly supposed, hats made of beaver pelts, but rather hats made in the style of the hats beavers wear in their lodges.

The Beaver signifies Hope, in that he builds for the future on the unquestioned presumption that there will be a future.