[originally posted by the Alienist last summer, but worth another look]
Coal miners traditionally brought canaries with them below ground as an ‘early warning’ system for silent carbon monoxide gas exposure. When the canary stopped singing, the miners knew it was time to get out – immediately.
This particular small yellow bird was apparently not only a working canary, but a favored pet as well. Inscribed on its custom-made coffin is the message, “In Memory of Little Joe, Died November 3rd, 1875. Aged 3 Years.”
It is unknown if Little Joe died in the line of duty or not.
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