Deep in the dense undergrowth, there a fox lay on his side, eyes closed but not asleep, his body hardly moving with each shallow breath. The occasional sound echoed across the dark, dense forest.
His smooth golden-grey fur suddenly trembled he twitched and stirred in uneasy slumber, always on guard. The ears pivoted towards the entrance to his lair as the message of danger was heading his way. The fox’s eyes closed as he lay motionless, waiting.
In the distant a barking sound from the hounds was heard, he realised they were closing in, and in a moment he leapt to his feet and bared his teeth in a snarl; soundless because he could hear his own heart beating in fear.
He tried to sniff, but his nose was dry, he could not pick up the scents of the approaching hounds, and he felt the fear in his heart. Deep within he knew he was dying, but he still intended to run for his life. Still denying the masters and hounds an easy kill, as he had outsmarted them before!
He heard the high pitched horn and quickly clambered through a tunnel in the undergrowth into a fresh clearing. As he emerged a bird made him jump, up into the closest tree, but the bird was just mocking him, its noise sending pain through his body.
The fox growled, and took off into the woods away from the bird’s incessant noise.
Within minutes the hound had reached the place where the fox had been, only to hear the squawking of the bird.
The hound sniffed the ground and air, and followed his nose and headed off into the woods in hot pursuit of the fox.
Meanwhile the fox was struggling both physically and mentally with the predicament he was in once again. His inner voice told him to rest, ready for when the hound appeared, giving him the strength he needed to fight off the hound.
He yearned to obey, but he suffered from a thirst he had never experienced, his mouth was foaming, but the thought of water terrified him. He drank last evening but it burnt his throat! Was it the fear that one day it would all be over.
With that thought, he looked around to discover he had taken a circle around the hunters. Soon he would leave the confines of the circle, and make his escape to freedom once again!
His inner voice told him he was dying. Why not take on the hound, you can do it!
The fox looking perplexed, thought hard, as it was not long ago he had fought a vixen and won.
As he considered, he heard the sound of panting coming from the hound not far behind him. His wounds from the previous fight had slowed him down. Instead of running he turned and waited for the hound to appear.
He only had a few minutes to wait, the hound suddenly stopped in amazement to find the fox waiting for him.
“Come on then, let’s get it over with, you hound,” the fox replied anxiously, “as I intend to kill you.
“The hound stopped and looked and then said, “you will nip me, but that will not kill me!”
Suddenly behind them the first group of horse appeared its hot breath snorting from its nostrils. The leader of the hunt encouraged his hound to attack shouting Kill it! Kill it!
The hound turned to his master, and questioned whether he should stay back as the fox was acting strangely. But his master repeated those words again, Kill it! Kill it!
The inner voice of the fox said, give him a nip and that’s all it will take to kill the hound, so while the hound was distracted, the fox sunk his teeth deep into the hounds neck, and blood came gushing out.
The hound howled in agony, and the leader of the hunt was taken aback for a moment, it is unbelievable that a fox had attacked a hound.
The fox was satisfied and stood still, as the hound attacked him, and the inert body of the fox fell from the hound’s jaw.
Then he sensed the rest of the pack was arriving, and he let them tear the fox to shreds. His opponent should be treated with reverence, not desecrated.