Tapwell: But to my story.
You were then a lord of acres, the prime gallant,
And I your under-butler. Note the change now.
You had a merry time of it--hawks and hounds,
With choice of running horses, mistresses,
Of all sorts and all sizes--yet so hot
As their embraces made your lordships melt,
Which your uncle, Sir Giles Overreach, observing,
Resolving not to lose a drop of 'em
On foolish mortgages, statutes, and bonds,
For a while supplied your looseness, and then left you.
Wellborn: Some curate hath penned this invective, mongrel,
And you have studied it.
Tapwell: I have not done yet.
Your land gone, and your credit not worth a token,
You grew the common borrower; no man scaped
Your paper pellets, from the gentleman
To the beggars on highways, that sold you switches
In your gallantry...
--from Phillip Massinger's A New Way to Pay Old Debts, 1633--
Foraging, it seems, has become fashionable for some people, with more dollars than sense, though their harvest can turn out to be deadly instead of healthy. Is it hard times or just wanting to "go green" that inspires even some wealthy ones among us to act foolishly? Perhaps they think they are godlike in their ability to avoid financial disaster or to summon immediate, expert medical attention, but even they will eventually succumb to the supreme masters of the universe, the lords of the Kingdom Fungi. We are familiar with some royal members of that kingdom by virtue of their fruiting phase, the mushrooms, which thrive in the woods, in our lawns, and in our gardens. These saprophytes, as they are known to biologists, perform important tasks in the environment and really do more good than harm, as long as nature neophytes are wise enough to leave them alone. Mushrooms require little energy to grow or reproduce, and they offer themselves as interesting subjects for observation. The Fishing Guy photo-captured a squirrel devouring a delicious looking fungus but recommends, with good reason, being very cautious about consuming mushrooms found in the wild. Even though a squirrel seems to find them appetizing and can eat them without apparent ill effects, humans are more susceptible to their mycotoxins and cannot expect the same results. We might not be able to consume them all, but we will all--even the rich and famous--become food for them someday.