World: Aller aux Champignons

Of 2,000 species of mushrooms that grow in France, 39 are poisonous. This slight but real possibility of toxic consequence has little effect on the millions of Frenchmen who cannot resist aller aux champignons—tramping into the woods for mushrooms when the delicacies sprout, with particular abundance, during the first turning of the leaves. Last week, thanks to a wretchedly wet summer, the Gallic countryside was laden with a bumper crop—and some 45 persons were dead of mushroom poisoning. Countless others lay ill at home or in hospitals.

Blame for 95% of the victims was laid on an innocent-looking toadstool with a greenish...

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