Why Foxtales

If you're reading this website you may be wondering why I called it "Foxtales." Foxes are very popular right now - their images abound in social media, home goods stores and craft supply shops everywhere. Traditionally foxes have multiple roles: the adorable predator in nature, the cunning villain in literature and the master of mischief in folklore (Wikipedia, 2017). My fascination started with a scouting leadership training (Wood Badge), but is intensified by the fox's dichotomy of cuteness and guile; and that is why I decided to entitle my website "Foxtales." I collect foxes in myriad forms - garments, drawings, figurines and even tattoos. Allow me to elaborate on what led me down this road: Wood Badge, my inability to say no to a dog, the portrayal of foxes in literature and art, and the fox's natural beauty and grace.

It started with a fox hat at a scout banquet auction. A hat that was crocheted for the fox patrol of the 2013 Wood Badge class. I wanted that hat and I got it - I was the only bidder. I signed up for Wood Badge and begged to be placed on the fox patrol. The course director had a hard time resisting my enthusiasm, which included jumping up and down with glee like a kindergardner who just got her first pair of mary janes, and assigned me to the fox patrol.

Allow me to explain for the unitiated. Wood Badge is the end-all-be-all of elite adult leadership training in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) (Wendell, 2017). It mimics the scout's experience. They place you in a group called a patrol, just like a boy scout. You follow the patrol method where each patrol member takes turns in different roles to make the patrol function as a team (patrol leader, assistant patrol leader, scribe, chaplain), just like boyscouts. They have you do team building exercises under pressure to help the teambuilding process along within a tight schedule - trust me this isn't a vacation. It's intense. Something that intense draws people together. The animal that is assigned to your patrol becomes a symbol of the energy, heart and soul that you invest into the program. I can only speak anecdotely; however, everyone I know has assumed an identity to what we call the "Wood Badge" critter.

Wood Badge critters: beaver, bobwhite, eagle, fox, owl, bear, buffalo, antelope

Foxes are just cute. They carry those adorable canine traits that melt our hearts and lead us to house and feed an animal in our homes. Dogs over the years have evolved to manipulate us into taking care of them (Hughes, 2013). That is my cynical take on how I've become helpless to the furry four-legged creatures who allow me to live in their home. For the mere price of food, grooming, boarding and vet bills, I get the privilage of the occasional cuddle and giving a few belly rubs a day. Just how did I get conned by this fuzzy grifter?

Our dog Ezri.

Foxes have a long history in literature. The samples that always comes to mind is Aesop’s Fable of "The Fox and the Crow" and "The Little Prince" by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. In the fable, a crow holds a peice of cheese in her mouth. The fox flatters her and tricks her into singing thereby dropping the cheese, which he catches and eats. I think that this is a cautionary tale not to lose everything to pride and good-looking jerks. This is a stark contrast to the fox portrayed in The Little Prince who presents the moral of the story: that what is essential in life cannot be seen to the eye and we are forever responsible for what we tame (Le Petit Prince, 2017).

Leon Rousseau's painted panel of "The Fox and the Crow", 19th century French

image from Wikipedia

They are most famously known for stealing farmer's chickens, but did you know that they can use the earth's magnetic field to sense prey under the snow (Lanzendorfer, 2017)? That is what I consider to be a slick physical trait. Not to mention that they are adorable when they cock their heads right before the pounce. Check out the video here:

I draw the line at having a pet fox, because as cute and fascinating as they are, they are wild animals. There are some breeders out there with the vision of some day selling foxes to the public. Interestingly as they breed domesticated traits into the foxes, the animals are losing the physical characteristics of pointed faces and ears and getting softer featers with floppy ears - much like the typical domestic dog. As for me, I'm happy with my lazy rescue dog.

Is it any wonder that I love foxes so much? The real life fox is graceful, endearing and a cunning predator in one fuzzy package. Foxes have intrigued people throughout time going all the way back to fables dated in 500 B.C. They are a common symbol of craftiness, wisdom and beauty in several cultures. The questions isn't why foxes. The question is why NOT foxes?

Juniper, an internet famous fox, was adopted because she is too tame to live in the wild.

References

Discover Channel. (2013, July 05). Fox Dives Headfirst Into Snow - North America. Retrieved from YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2SoGHFM18I

Hughs, V. (2013, January 23). National Geographic. Retrieved from People and Dogs: A Genetic Love Story: http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2013/01/23/people-and-dogs-a-genetic-love-story/?_ga=2.249307911.1425942579.1512400269-2026673440.1509678577

Lanzendorfer, J. (2017, September 23). Mental Floss. Retrieved from 14 Fascinating Facts About Foxes: http://mentalfloss.com/article/59739/14-fascinating-facts-about-foxes

thelittleprince.com. (n.d.). Le Petit Prince. Retrieved December 04, 2017, from Le Petit Prince: https://www.thelittleprince.com/

Wendell, B. (n.d.). Scouting. Retrieved 12 02, 2017, from Why Wood Badge?: https://scoutingmagazine.org/2014/02/wood-badge/

Wikipedia. (2017, December 03). Retrieved from Foxes in popular culture: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foxes_in_popular_culture

Wikipedia. (2017, December 04). The Fox and the Crow (Aesop). Retrieved from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fox_and_the_Crow_(Aesop)