The Ragtag Daily Prompt today is FOX. A nice simple word; a creature we’re all familiar with even if we haven’t personally made one’s acquaintance. Since my Socks tale was well liked, I’ll do a second story about the beloved pet pig who saves the day — and include the illustration I drew just yesterday. 🙂
Socks And The Fox
The crow watches silently as a fox slink its way along the fence, aiming for Farmer Rushton’s chicken coop. Hope springs eternal and, to the fox, smells like chicken dinner.
But here comes Rushton’s pet pig, Socks, lumbering around the corner of the barn, sniffing the air curiously. Now, what can a pig smell besides pig? Fox, evidently. Socks gets a whiff of the different scent and lets out a questioning squeal.
Fox freezes. Socks, curious about this odd scent, snuffles her way toward its source, stopping now and then to peer around with her small piggy eyes. When she finally catches sight of Fox she squeals like a banshee and dashes toward him.
Fox has been blessed with a natural adroitness, so he scrambles up the fence rails and sits on the top one, glaring down at Socks. Putting her front hooves on the first rail, she’s staring up at him, snuffing and grunting like half a dozen magpies.
Now the crow joins the katzenjammer. In spite of the racket, Fox’s keen ears catch the sound of the farmhouse door slamming and human voices approaching. Fox has no fear of this knuckle-headed pig, but a human is another creature entirely. Recalling the loud crack crack that often came with the farmer, and seeing puffs of dirt explode all around him, he leaps off the fence and dashes for the nearby woods.
No chicken dinner tonight. He might have made it, too, if it wasn’t for that disgusting pig!
It’s Thursday and high time for my response the Six Sentence Story prompt, hosted by GirlieOnTheEdge. This week’s word is TERM. If you go to her blog you’ll see the InLinkz button to click on so you can read the other responses to this prompt.
Here’s a story I’ve been wanting to write for awhile. Someday I’ll planned to flesh it out more but for now I’ll squeeze it into six (okay, some very long) sentences to meet the writing challenge. Hope you enjoy it.
SOCKS, OUR HERO
Sheriff Wilson, trying hard to look stern, explained to Farmer Rushton, “I’m here to investigate a complaint made by some fellow who came here last night that you have a – his term was ‘vicious wild boar’ – running around your farmyard.”
“There’s nothing vicious about Socks,” Rushton exclaimed, “and furthermore, she’s a sow, not a boar. But our Socks is as friendly and playful as a puppy; you know yourself she’s been Tommy’s pet ever since she was the runt of the litter last year – and she loves to meet our farm visitors.”
“Well, this fella stopped by last night when you folks weren’t home and says he was just having a look around – I’d use the term skulking myself – when he came past the barn and suddenly this vicious pig was charging at him, screaming like a banshee.
He ran but hit some slime, slid, and went head-first into a huge puddle of ‘barnyard sludge’–” Sheriff Wilson couldn’t hold back a chortle “– and the ‘berserk beast’ came wallowing in right after him so that he barely escaped with his life – and without whatever else he might have been hoping to take away, I might add.”
Rushton grinned, then shook his head and said, “Well, I’ve sometimes grumbled about how much water my kids use when they make a mud puddle for Socks to cool herself off in, but I won’t begrudge Socks her beauty baths from now on.”
Well, I’m feeling like doing a bit more dialogue, so here’s my response in 145 words:
Cobble & Nobble
“What you finding there, Nobble?”
“Nada. Thought I saw a worm, but it’s just an old stick.”
“Eat it anyway. Fiber in your diet and all that.”
“Squelch the humour, Cob. I’m hungry and there’s just nothing here.”
“Yeah. No decent road-kill even. Shall we check the town dumpsters. Bit tricky, but we might…” Cobble heard a far off bang. “Hey — the acreage house door! Maybe that human feeder’s set out food for that stray?”
“Let’s go! You can distract the cat while I grab some nibbles, then I…”
“No way. It’s your turn to distract the cat. I get first dibs on the nibs this time.”
“I sure hope the human’s set out something fishy,” Cobble squawked as they flew toward the acreage a mile away. “Or even scraps and gristle. I’m sick of that chicken stuff.”
To me this is such an old-fashioned sounding word, like something Chaucer or Shakespeare might have used. Like the branches of Burnham wood slowly encroaching on Macbeth’s castle. Anyone remember that scene?
According to my book of word meanings, encroach and crochet have a common root. To encroach on something is to try snagging the thing, or attempt to catch it with a hook, coming from the French word, encrochier : “to seize with a hook.” Even more interesting, the French borrowed the root word “croc” from the Norwegian krokr, meaning hook – the word that has streamed off into the English crook, someone who snatches things wrongfully.
We got a little demonstration of encroachment yesterday afternoon. I’ve been feeding a stray cat that somehow landed on this property at some point in spring and likely found a safe place to stay in one of the farm buildings next door. He’s very timid – in fact that’s what I’ve named him. Since he doesn’t belong to the neighbours, they don’t include him when they put out food for their several tame farm cats. So, since I have a soft heart for cats, I’ve been feeding him all fall.
Yesterday one of the neighbour’s cats, a pretty calico, wandered over to our yard and happened to be near the garage when I set out a bowl of food for Timid. The calico took a notion that she could encroach on his food dish. He didn’t attack her, but expressed his displeasure quite sternly. No encroaching of any kind tolerated here!
Had she reached out a claw and snagged some of his food, the calico would have been encroaching in the true sense of the word. Doesn’t work very well with dry cat food, though.
We’ve enjoyed a long mild fall with almost no snow, in fact last week was delightfully mild for this time of year. It has worked so far to feed the stray. But a cold wind is blowing from the northwest today and the temp is dropping steadily, so I suppose we won’t see so much of Timid once winter really settles in. Hopefully the mice around wherever he shelters are well fattened.
this sad country
bird bath emptied in the night
by a thirsty doe
The prairies are definitely in a dry cycle this year. Most of our “Possibility of thunder showers” forecasts have evaporated and all the sloughs are dry. Since there’s no water lying anywhere near, I’ve been taking pity on the birds in our yard and putting out several basins of water in the back yard for them. It’s been a joy to watch them from my kitchen window, coming and splashing about, as well as dining on hapless insects floating on the surface.
Last week another creature found my water bowls. Early one morning I saw a doe drinking out of the largest basin so I be sure to top it off at dusk every evening. Several mornings now I’ve found it right empty and a number of telltale hoof marks on the ground. Last night I filled it to the brim around 9 pm and there was only a dribble in the bottom this morning.
Our yard light provides another source of nourishment for the birds, too, judging by how many birds are harvesting bugs on the ground below every morning. This morning I saw robins, sparrows, a kingbird and a brown thrasher feasting there.
There are many fires burning in northern forests; I heard of over a hundred burning out of control in BC alone, plus fires in Alberta and northern Sask.. All this week our atmosphere has been hazy with smoke, sometimes it gets rather hard to breathe. Still, I dare not complain when others closer to the fires are in thick smoke every day and many communities have been evacuated because of encroaching infernos. It must seem a daunting, maybe even hopeless, task to fight fires on every hand, but I’m so thankful for those brave souls out there doing that work.
We’re taking a holiday this week, going to a part of our country where rain is plentiful. In fact, there’s rain in the forecast almost every day this week — I just wish we could bring some back with us! Meanwhile, I hope the creatures around our yard can find another source while we’re away.