This foxy gentleman arrived in my letterbox today, from Josie Mara in Canada. Number 6 in the Shannon Ganshorn Swap. He is delightful in his jaunty top hat and tie. Josie thinks he is off to a party.
He brings to mind my personal favourite foxes from my childhood reading.
There was Mr Tod in Beatrix Potter’s stories. A sandy coloured gentleman not to be trusted. He is a danger to all the rabbits, and has an argumentative relationship with Tommy Brock the badger. Jemima Puddleduck very nearly comes to a nasty end at Mr Tod’s hands too. He is all charm and cunning, and she succumbs rather badly when he seems to offer her the perfect place to keep her eggs safe. It never occurs to her to question the origins of all the lovely feather she snuggles into!
My next favourite fox is Brer Fox of Uncle Remus fame. He is a tricksy character, always in pursuit of Brer Rabbit, and constantly thwarted. There is story after story told as they compete with one another for supremacy. I still hear Brer rabbit’s mocking call back at Brer Fox, after persuading him to hurl himself into the blackberry patch to suffer, rather than eat him right then. After pleading that Brer Fox should do any number of things to him rather than throw him into the briar patch, he escapes said briar patch whilst crying out over his shoulder, “Born and bred in a briar patch, Brer Fox, born and bred!”
I longed to see foxes whilst I lived in the UK, but the only one I saw in person was a bedraggled creature running across the railroad tracks entering the middle of London. He was not the shiny coated animal with a fine brush of a tail I had expected from all the wildlife films I had seen on the box. He was, however, very sure of himself, confident and unworried by the trains coming and going, and on the way to something he clearly had in mind.
I have always found rascally creatures attractive. I hold Loci as an influence to be kept an eye on as he flits about creating havoc, but he still makes me smile. It must be the attraction of the bad boy that so many of us find within. Mischief makers have a charm all of their own. The wink and naughty grin make us forgive the behaviour we would condemn in ourselves, and smile to ourselves as we watch the mischief unfold! There is also something satisfying about seeing the high and mighty, (in their own eyes anyway), being made to look foolish and cut down to size. As long as it’s not malicious or cruel. It is good for us to be reminded of our human failings, and even better to laugh at ourselves.
So, here’s to the mischief makers in this life of ours. The charmers and clowns. The jester and any one who has one of those revolving bow ties that squirt water as you lean forward to admire them – metaphorical or real. And here’s to those that teach us to laugh at ourselves and lighten up when we get too full of our own importance. We celebrate your colour and wit, and your refusal to swallow the party line and behave yourselves!