The Story of the

UMLAUT

by Stänley Mööre


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The Umlaut is a small, shy creature belonging
to the family Diacritica. This family is in the
same Order as the more familiar bookworm.
It is native to Europe, and found primarily in Germany.

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A closely related species occurs in Arabia,
and it is believed that the European Umlaut
migrated north from there many centuries ago.

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Umlauts inhabit books and other printed
material, and have even been observed,
albeit fleetingly, on web pages
of the Internet .

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They are quite curious creatures, and will
watch people for long periods, but since the
adult Umlaut's body is nearly transparent,
the eyes are all that is ordinarily seen
as they peer out over the tops of letters.

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They much prefer the letters A, O, and U,
and despite rumors, there are no confirmed
reports of their being seen near any
other letters or numbers.

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The majority of European Umlauts
migrate to the Scandinavian countries,
particularly Sweden, to breed.

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A single egg is laid atop an A.
Upper case A's are preferred -- probably
an evolutionary advantage since it is
harder for predators to reach them there.

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A lower case a will reluctantly
be used for a nest if no big
A's are to be found.

Curiously, eggs are never laid on O's or U's even
though these may be abundant. The reasons for this
are not known, but some Umlautists speculate
that these letters are rejected because eggs would be
prone to roll off of the O's, and fall inside the U's.

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After hatching, the larva normally remain
underground where it is warmer, but in the
southern most part of their range, i.e., Spain,
they can frequently be found sunning
themselves on top of the letter n.

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Umlauts are usually solitary creatures, but
they do form small groups when migrating.
A group of Umlauts is known as an "ellipsis".