#91: Foxed

This photo-fox—this iconic creature of legendary cunning, deceitfulness, wiliness and greed, this archetypal animal trickster,—looks a little played out.   

I found this online:  The word shenanigan is considered to be derived from the Irish expression “sionnachuighim” meaning "I play the fox."

The foxes in literature and myth spend a lot of time cleverly divesting other creatures of their food.  Here, for example, in this Chinese fairytale, a fox is flattering a raven out of the chunk of meat the bird is holding in its beak: “Your color,” the fox begins, “is pure black. This proves to me that you possess all the wisdom of Laotzse, who knows how to shroud his learning in darkness. The manner in which you manage to feed your mother shows that your filial affection equals that which the Master Dsong had for his parents. Your voice is rough and strong. It proves that you have the courage with which King Hiang once drove his foes to flight by mere sound….”  The raven opens his beak to thank the fox and of course drops the meat—which the fox then snatches up.

Sometimes, as we know, comely young women are referred to as foxes.

The name of Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim’s mother is Foxy Sondheim.

The first fox I loved was J.Worthington Foulfellow—otherwise known as Honest John—in Walt Disney’s Pinnocchio (1940).  The second movie fox I loved was Uncle Remus’s Br’er Fox in Disney’s The Song of the South (1945).

When I was a child and went to church with my grandparents, the woman who sat in the pew in front of us wore a fox fur around her neck.  The head of this poor, dry, desiccated fox stared at me all through the service, its glassy eyes accusing me powerfully of something. 

Why does the fox in the photo look so depleted? What is behind the red curtain? The whole witty, weary story of the Life of the Fox?