My best friend, Widdle (2)

As you have seen in the first instalment of this story, the best animal friend I ever had was a fox called “Widdle”. He taught me more of value than 90% of my teachers ever did. And Widdle, he also learnt a little bit.

Widdle, of course, soon learnt which way his sausage was buttered.

The usual scenario was that he would be out on “Lone Hunter’s Patrol”, looking for geese and turkeys, hurtling round the gardens at top speed:

And then he would hear me calling his name :

And then he would come up the path to the patio

And then he’d let you know why he was here:

And then he’d take a sausage or two from you. He was quite prepared to touch you and he wasn’t afraid :

If he was hungry he would often eat the first one, but otherwise he would put it on the floor and then come for a second sausage. He could always be trusted to carry two sausages in his mouth, and as he grew older and more experienced, he managed to carry three. Here, he seems happy to take just two. As we human thick-heads eventually worked out, neither of them were for him:

Now for the second:

A very tricky manoeuvre :

And then it’s “Up, up and Away !!!

His wife, Mrs Widdle, will get her share of the two sausages, but only if the cubs, up to four of them usually, have had their fill. I was always 100% sure that in the rather extensive fox family, Widdle, the individual who provided all the food, was always the last to eat any.

A lesson for us all. And not just in sausage eating.







Filed under Humour, My Garden, My House, Personal, Widdle, Wildlife and Nature

17 responses to “My best friend, Widdle (2)

  1. A wonderful sequence, John

    • Thank you very much, Derrick, although to be honest, the photographs do come from various different times, as is shown by the state of Widdle’s moult. He also has an open wound on his right breast (from defending his territory, presumably) which is absent in some of the other photographs.

  2. Your experience with your friend Widdle was priceless. As I type, two owls are having a conversation in the cedar trees across the street from my house.

    • It certainly was. I am so grateful that I was allowed to experience, for more than three years, another part of God’s creation. Widdle was so innocent, he was wild and sometimes fierce, but there was nothing unattractive about him, as there would be in a human being. It was a privilege to have known him, and to have helped feed his fifteen children.

  3. GP

    A civilized man and a wild fox come together to teach each other – we can all learn from that!

    • You are absolutely right. Animals can teach us all a great deal, although I’m sure Widdle would be the first to admit that animals such as the lion and the tiger are quite a lot wilder than he was. I was walking home from the shop one day and I found him sitting on the front lawn of a house while the two little children who lived there took photographs of him. I think that that was the year he failed his “Lord of the Jungle” exams.

  4. When your family is in need, you do whatever it takes to feed them.

    • Absolutely! What always touched me though, was that Widdle always put wife and kids first and there are certainly plenty of men who don’t do that. He had excellent manners too, bit I’ll probably write a blogpost about that on a future occasion.

  5. I have only just read Widdle 1 so this comment combines both. It is a most wonderful story and it tells as much about John Knifton as it does about Widdle the Fox. It is very moving.
    It is not something you would see in Australia where foxes were introduced so that the newly settled gentry could have their ‘sport’. Now foxes and cats have combined to put Australia in the top four of countries for animal extinctions. Some years back my younger daughter was upset when a science teacher ran a class on how to get rid of all the foxes in Australia. Claudia made a badge with a photo of a fox and the label said “Save the Fox. Foxes are People Too.” She was aware of the irony, but wore the badge for quite some time. She used to say, “It isn’t the fault of the fox that it was brought here and then allowed to run free.”

    • Claudia sounds a very wise person, although to be honest I do actually think that both foxes and cats should be exterminated in Australia as they do so much damage to the native species. I suppose nobody realised that you cannot introduce alien species without causing problems, although why anybody would introduce weasels to a country is beyond me! (New Zealand, I think)

  6. Chris Waller

    It’s amazing that a creature which evolved in the wild over hundreds of thousands of years can adapt so quickly to the urban environment (a relatively recent innovation on the evolutionary timescale) and be at such apparent ease in the presence of humans.

    • As far as I remember, the theory is that urban foxes originated with the building of the leafy suburbs from, say, 1920-1940. The foxes didn’t leave the area, but adapted to living in the large, often unkempt gardens, and found enough discarded food to get by. The rise of fast food and burger restaurants have helped the process along. Breeding usually takes place under sheds and outhouses.
      Today, most foxes still flee human beings but one or two don’t. Apparently many of the foxes in the suburbs of London are becoming really quite tame, and frequently venture inside houses. One even likes to watch TV with the family!

  7. “A lesson for us all” never a truer word said John. Foxes are remarkable and beautiful creatures, it’s great to see one so trusting.

    • Yes, he taught us all a great deal about wild animals. He had none of the deviousness of so many human beings and really, what you saw was what you got.
      He was very trusting, but seemed to know somehow who could be trusted. With the majority of adult humans, he was just as cautious as any other fox, but with us, as long as we kept giving him sausages, he was like a family pet.

  8. Yes, a lesson for all of us. The photos are wonderful. Who clicked them. Thank you for sharing.

  9. Widdle was indeed a lessonj for us all. He taught me that the perfection of God may reach the same in so-called “lesser” creatures as it is supposed to in us, the so-called “superior” creatures. Very few humans will live their lives as well as Widdle did.
    I took all the photographs myself, and I’m really glad that you like them. Not all of them were taken at the same time. If you look carefully, his fur is not the same in every photograph, as it changes with the seasons of the year.

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