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The Green Life: Long Live the Emperor

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November 04, 2010

Long Live the Emperor

Emporer the stag They called him the Emperor of Exmoor because at 12 years old, he weighed 300 pounds, stood nine feet tall, and sported an intimidating set of jagged horns — a likely unchallenged leader. The stag was the largest land animal in England, celebrated for his monstrous size and stoic demeanor.

Naturally, he had to be killed.

The Emperor is dead now, after game hunters from an array of nations descended on the forests of Exmoor. Prepared to shell out hefty chunks of change to just get a shot at the creature, hunting laws made their actions completely legal, despite the protests of horrified nature lovers all over the world.

But, like Phila the unkillable rhino in Johannesburg, South Africa, was the Emperor able to withstand the attempt on his life? Word flooded in after his supposed demise that the stag was alive and well, still stalking his kingdom with the piercing gaze of an animal who'd looked death in the face . . . and death blinked.

Until today, when Johnny Kingdom, a wildlife expert and personality destined soon for B-level celebrity,  claimed to have witnessed the beast's death firsthand. Regardless of where the truth lies, the Emperor's legacy lives on, in mythic heroic status, the reconsideration of England's deer-hunting laws, and a new full-bodied ale.

No hunter has yet come forward to make the claim of being the killer, maybe because he doesn't want the wrath of nature lovers upon him. Or perhaps because no hunter yet exists who could take down the Emperor.

--Justin Klugh

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