Speaking of plant intelligence (see previous posting) Jean Shepherd once repeated on his radio program this fictional story he had read relating to plant intelligence:
A man had built an electrical device that converted high frequency sounds to something within our hearing range. When he had soldered the last wire and first turned it on, still down in his basement, he heard what sounded like thousands of indistinct voices all talking at once, like at a baseball stadium between innings.
He carried the device upstairs, and the voices became louder, but still unintelligible. When he took it outside, the voices became very distinct and he realized it was the shrubs, trees, and all the vegetation chattering away to each other. Just as he began listening to what they were saying, the voices were drowned out by tremendous shrieking. His neighbor had begun cutting his grass.
Does this story sound familiar? Tell me if you know who wrote it. I would love to read the original. Shepherd was a fan of early 20th century newspaper writers such as H. L. Mencken, George Ade, and Ring Lardner, if that helps any. It sounds like something one of them would have written, but that is only a guess. Or, he could have been paraphrasing “The Sound Machine,” (The New Yorker, 9/17/1949) a very similar short story by Roald Dahl, author of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and once married to actress Patricia Neal. This, too, would have been typical of Shep.