Letters: Nov. 19, 1928

Cactus, Duck

Sirs:

Will TIME'S expression: "dry as a cactus" hold water? Desert travelers sometimes split a barrel cactus in half, squeeze the pulp through a cloth, get a cup of sweetish water. The giant cactus, a mass of pulp held together by fibrous ribs, absorbs water on rainy days and swells out like a toad. Woodpeckers drill holes in the trunk, occupy them.

An eminent naturalist (Dr. Horniday) tells of a duck disappointed with prohibition, who retired to the desert. Selecting a suitable giant cactus, she shoved out the woodpecker tenants and moved in....