Why “Fox Spirit”?
Aunty Fox grew up on a farm. There were chickens and sheep and rabbits and sometimes horses. ‘Keep a weather eye peeled for foxes,’ her mum always said. ‘You don’t want to lose any livestock to the bushy tailed one.’
But the little girl’s favourite book was Roald Dahl’s The Fantastic Mr Fox so she always longed to meet the creature who had captivated her imagination. One day as she wandered in the spinney, lost in daydreams, whom should she see but a wily fox.
She was not afraid.
‘I’m going to eat all your chickens,’ the wily rogue boasted.
‘Will you take a story instead?’ the clever girl bargained.
This surprised the fox, who could not remember hearing any entertaining yarns since he was a pup in the skulk. ‘Go on, then.’ He wrapped his bushy tail around him and listened with delight as the child retold her favourite tales of adventure, laughter and tears.
The fox never ate any chickens, but returned time and again for more stories.
Many years passed. The girl was nearly a woman. The fox was very old for his kind. ‘I fear I shall not return again,’ he confessed to his friend one day. ‘I have no gift to offer you in gratitude for your many tales. They have fed me better than the fattest hen. I cannot bear to leave them behind.’
The wise child said, ‘The best stories show us that a spirit may live on if its tale is told with skill and passion.’
‘Let mine live on in your tales forever so I will never have to leave you and it will always be once upon a time.’
And so it came to be.