Thursday, March 11, 2010

As the foxes tell it... (part 2)

Over time the little birds cleared the nearby bushes of all the wonderful berries. Some had returned to picking remnants from the ground and others began to spread out searching for new sources. When more food was found, the scouts would cry out to callout loudly signaling the location to the others and all would converge together again and feast. This strategy seemed to work well and Sam (the first bird to call) gained a position of authority within the flock.

Sometimes the fox would hear the bird songs as he hunted rabbits in the meadow. If he had a taste for them it would have made an easier meal, but under the feathers there really isn't much substance to a bird. As the seasons changed the rabbits became harder to catch both fewer in numbers and spending more time in their burrows. Somedays he would catch a squirrel, but that was a rare treat since they dashed so quickly to the trees and warned from above as he came closer. Most of the time the fox had to scavenge what he could find along the riverbank.

One especially lucky day the fox came across a twisting squeaking writhing mass of fur near the river. As he crouched low and slowly approached it became clear that what he had come across were squirrels fighting, so focused and obsessed with themselves that they were unaware of his presence. It took only a moment to make the catch and once one was held there was no reason to chase the others as they ran to the trees. Only after he had finished the meal did the fox realize that sitting next to him, quietly watching, was a young squirrel.

"Why did you not run little one?" asked the fox, to which the squirrel unexpectedly said "I can not, and I wait here to accept my fate". Now the fox was full at the time, satiated and happy so he rolled onto his back and so looked upside down at the squirrel. It's deformed right foot was clearly a birth defect and not the result of the fight. The fox took a moment to think and then asked "Why accept so quickly what you do not know? Perhaps you can not run but surely you can walk". The squirrel (I think his name was Albert) explained that with the damaged foot he had no reason to live - he could not climb or jump or run as fast as the other squirrels, he could not carry as many leaves back to the nest, he could not compete for a mate and was in general picked on and shunned by the others.

As the fox rose and began to walk back towards the woods he felt sorry for the little squirrel, for as soon as he left the other squirrels would probably return and the fight would continue - the little one had no chance. Turning back around the fox whispered softly into the little one's ear "Your problems can all be solved by using the other senses you have, listen to the birds and you may yet find a reason to live", and with that, the fox walked slowly through the woods to stroll again across the meadow…

Copyright 2010 Chris Thoburn (Tanukifu) - All rights reserved. Do not republish without consent.