The Bug-Eating Urchin

Just a humorous story I ran across involving an inventive genius and his childhood antics. A young Nikola Tesla, growing up in rural Croatia, set out to “harness the energies of nature to the service of man.” What medium did he choose to work with? May-bugs. Original, I guess, but not particularly effective.

Tesla’s strategy was to affix the bugs to a propeller, and use the bugs flight power to turn a disc attached to the propeller. Seems like an abject idea, but the young inventor was satisfied with his attempt at innovation. He writes that “These creatures were remarkably efficient, for once they were started they had no sense to stop and continued whirling for hours and hours.” Early success to the young inventor then. But wait! Tesla continues his story by adding, “All went well until a strange boy came to the place.”

Any guesses as to what this strange boy did?

Well if you guessed that he had an acquired taste for bugs and ate the source of Tesla’s motive power, then you guessed right! According to Tesla, “That urchin ate May-bugs alive and enjoyed them as tho they were the finest blue-point oysters.” As far as we know, this was the last of Tesla’s inventions-in-progress that was eaten by a random boy. Thankfully.

Tesla's namesake auto company has probably murdered it's share of bugs.


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