29/30/31 January: the Merla days (hen blackbird), according to tradition are the coldest days of the year ~

It was a very, very cold Winter. That year the month of January put every effort to live up to his reputation as a freezing, windy month. The snow was high, and a layer of ice covered fountains, streams and ponds. Even the fire lit in every small and big house in the countryside, did not seem warm enough, in the bedrooms and in the attic, sometimes in the morning it was discovered that the chill night had even turned into ice the water in buckets and basins. People walked…

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Maneki Neko: history and legend of the Japanese lucky cat

Japan is a great country for cat lovers: there are, for example, islands with more cats that inhabitants, and the most popular is Tashirojima, or you can drink something in one of the many Cat Cafes, scattered around the country even if, ironically, most apartments don’t allow pets! If you want to obtain cute cat-like items, one of the most popular is without a doubt the Maneki Neko (招き猫), also often known as Lucky Cat. The Maneki Neko, literally the “beckoning cat,” is a very common Japanese figure. Its paw…

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25 best photos of working cats!

Although this might seems incredible, some cats don’t shy away from getting their paws dirty! And to prove that they got more important things to do than enchanting their human friends with their purrs, below there are some of the best pictures of the most hardworking felines. There have been numerous cats who held real jobs as well. For example, when Empirical Brewery in Chicago noticed that their grain is being eaten by rodents and insects, they started thinking about the best way to solve this problem and decided to…

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The incredible story of the man who fed a family of Polar Bears in Siberia.

In the second half of the ’70s a strange rumor began to run among the inhabitants of the autonomous region of Čukotka, the north-eastern end of Russia that looks beyond the Bering Strait to the United States. Nikolai Machulyak (Николай Мачуляк) a man who worked in an Artel, a cooperative of the Soviet Union, had become friends with a huge polar bear and her puppies, and fed them with meat and condensed milk. These photographs date back to 1976, and depict an adult bear weighing almost 300 kg, with two…

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Peppermint Pig: a curious Christmas tradition in Saratoga Springs, New York~

Yes. Smashing this pink candy pig with a tiny hammer is a curious Christmas tradition in Saratoga Springs, New York. Here, on Christmas Day families gather around tables to smash candies with hammers: a small pink candy with the shape of a peppermint pig, represent a tradition dating back to the 19th century. According to a local story, it was a regular quiet Christmas-Eve-night in the quaint Victorian village of Saratoga Springs. The first dusting of winter’s snow gathered in darkened downtown doorways and twirled by night’s wind seemed to…

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Pablo Eskobear: the incredible story of the bear that ate 40 kg of pure Colombian cocaine~

In Chattahoochee forest, in December 1985, as usual, there were several inhabitants: obviously bears, wolves and other animals, but try to imagine. One minute a bear trying to find enough berries to survive another boring day in the Chattahoochee forest and the next minute he’s ripping fat rails of pure Colombian cocaine! The black bear weighing about 80 kilograms, later called “Pablo Eskobear”, clear reference to the Colombian drug boss and the word “Bear”, found a series of plastic bags full of cocaine, weighing about 40 kilograms! Attracted by the…

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Hachiko, the faithful dog.

After a profound demonstration of devotion for his master, a dog becomes the symbol of loyalty for an entire nation. Eizaburo Ueno, professor in agriculture science at Tokyo University in Japan, had long wanted a purebred Japanese Akita dog. He had looked for the perfect Akita puppy for a long time, until one of his students encouraged him to adopt Hachiko, from the Odate city in the Akita prefecture of Japan. If there was one thing that Professor Ueno could count on, it was certainly the sight of his loyal…

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How the cat Simon earned a military medal.

For centuries, a close relationship of mutual esteem and affection has linked a category of rough men and accustomed to every danger, the sailors, to a small pet that today tends to associate with photographs on social networks and quiet family life, the cat. Cats are intelligent predators with a strong natural instinct for hunting and eliminating rodents. Because of this, they have been used on numerous ships across the world as killers of rats, mice, and various other disease-ridden animals. The rats climb on board using the peaks that…

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Wojtek: The unusual polish soldier that drank beer and went to war.

When at the port of Naples the british official Archibald Brown, looking at the roster in his hand, called out the name—“Corporal Wojtek”, nobody came forward. It was mid-February 1944, and the official was at Naples to help process a unit of Polish soldiers that had just arrived by ship from Alexandria in Egypt, to join forces with the Allies in their fight against Germans and Italians. One of his tasks was to check crew manifests and speak with new arrived soldiers. The official Brown consulted once again the document.…

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The curious funerals for pets in Victorian Times.

During the 19th century it was really common that the mortal remains of a pet, especially the house cat, were buried in the family garden. In Victorian times, however, the custom of celebrating funerals for these animals increased considerably. The grieving family were doing richly decorated caskets, priests performed funeral services for the dead pets and the stonemasons chiselled the name of the cat on marble gravestones. Many people celebrated this ceremonies, and they thought that did not represent an extravagant eccentricity of the rich, or yet another whim of…

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