“Ossva is for Ossvanian ivory, which comes from the buttons shed every winter by Ossvaniyra. The buttons are gathered by children in early spring after the snow melts, a tradition comparable to an Easter egg hunt. Ossvaniyra are semifossorial, and their burrows are sometimes spoiled by the unchecked enthusiasm of immature humans. A few of the more unruly children may disappear during the button gathering. Ossvaniyra are not over-large but they are omnivorous, and a small brat can make a tasty treat. The buttons are carved by tinsmiths into traditional shapes like cabbages, beetles and rabbits.”
Top image: Decorative captial letter Ossva, shaped as an Ossvaniyr.
Bottom image: My usual lousy photograph of the cheap paperback edition from the seventies. You can see the 1926 first edition cover here.