A monster appearing in the works of Lewis Carroll. We don't have much information about it, except that it is frumious and savage, and that you want to shun it at all costs.
`Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!'
--Jabberwockyby Lewis Carroll.
Well, you've probably read that many times before. But what many people don't know is that we have a written account of an actual bandersnatch attack. This is the only documented case of a bandersnatch. I have here the most pertinent parts; still no real description of the monster, but it does go into some detail on the effects of a bandersnatch mauling.
And the Banker, inspired with a courage so new
It was matter for general remark,
Rushed madly ahead and was lost to their view
In his zeal to discover the Snark
But while he was seeking with thimbles and care,
A Bandersnatch swiftly drew nigh
And grabbed at the Banker, who shrieked in despair,
For he knew it was useless to fly.
He offered large discount--he offered a check
(Drawn "to bearer") for seven-pounds-ten:
But the Bandersnatch merely extended its neck
And grabbed at the Banker again.
Without rest or pause--while those frumious jaws
Went savagely snapping around-
He skipped and he hopped, and he floundered and flopped,
Till fainting he fell to the ground.
The Bandersnatch fled as the others appeared
Led on by that fear-stricken yell:
And the Bellman remarked "It is just as I feared!"
And solemnly tolled on his bell.
He was black in the face, and they scarcely could trace
The least likeness to what he had been:
While so great was his fright that his waistcoat turned white-
A wonderful thing to be seen!
--The Hunting of The Snark, The Banker's Fate, by Lewis Carroll.
Graphic, isn't it? Well, the Banker lived, but he was driven mad, and left (at least temporarily) mute. Happily, his mutilation and subsequent insanity did not delay the Snark hunt. Carroll has left us with only one other reference to the bandersnatch, this time a very brief and confusing reference in Through the Looking Glass:
"Would you -- be good enough," Alice panted out, after running a little further, "to stop a minute -- just to get -- one's breath again!"
"I'm good enough," the King said, "only I'm not strong enough. You see, a minute goes by so fearfully quick. You might as well try to stop a Bandersnatch!
Ironically, in The Hunting of the Snark, our most detailed account of a bandersnatch encounter, they did indeed stop a bandersnatch, and apparently they did it just by showing up. Granted, the bandersnatch showed no fear when faced by a lone banker, but a small group of mixed nutters was too much for it. Of course, we must remember that the King is mad.
Well, anyway, that's all that Carroll wrote. Other authors have used the bandersnatch since, but a full listing of appearances is beyond the scope of this writeup.