No. 7.—The Crane.

CRANES ARE LARGE and impressive birds with vivid plumage and long necks, with a pulley at the top of the neck and a winch at the bottom of it. They wander from one construction site to another, feeding on steel beams, concrete slabs, and other detritus too large or heavy for the other scavengers to carry off. Construction workers generally welcome cranes as performing a useful function in construction-site ecology, or at least as too large to risk offending for no good reason. The main natural enemies of cranes are the wandering packs of hyaenas that plague construction sites from time to time. Individually a hyaena can do nothing to a crane, but in packs the hyaenas can overwhelm a crane with insulting personal remarks. Cranes are proud and sensitive birds, and will generally retire rather than face public humiliation, leaving the choicest bits of steel and concrete to the hyaenas. On these the hyaenas invariably choke, which of course serves them right.

Monday through Friday, the crane signifies Abundance. It takes weekends off, unless it is paid time and a half on Saturday and double time on Sunday.