THE BLUE FOX
In those days we had not even heard about the TV. The radios were rare and they provided more disturbances than entertainment in the hills of Munnar. Especially in the rainy season during which we were afraid even to switch it on and I kept away from it for fear of explosion.
Our only source of entertainment in those days were stories from our father. That too was rationed. Just one a night.
I don't think he had that many to last all those nights. Many were made by him at the spur of the moment. Many were repeated with slight changes. The stories came with the condition that no one should talk after hearing it and we should go to sleep immediately. “Dog poo in the mouth of who speaks next” my brother used to declare immediately after the story that ensured full obedience to the law. At times I too got the chance to make the declaration. But it prevented any type of discussions.
Of all those stories one l liked best was that of the blue fox, who accidentally got drenched in blue dye. According to my father the fox’s family and friends refused to accept him as one among them because of his colour. It cannot be. May be they were jealous of his shining color. I was sure, it was not his intention to become the king of the forest, the circumstances offered him no other way to escape.
I had a soft corner for him. In fact I even liked the fox. There were many in the estate. We used come across them quite frequently. They were very timid, and were even afraid of me. I wanted to request my father to change the story to spare his life, but the dog’s poo…….
My mother used to sing “rain and shine the little fox’s marriage” and I used to rush to her to hear it whenever ever it started raining with sun shining. I liked it very much. I could imagine a grand wedding with a lot of foxes in attendance and a grand feast with lot of sweets and singing.
On such an occasion we heard a loud commotion from the henns. Looking through the window we saw a fox running away with two of our hens. It was a ghastly sight to see them hanging lifeless on either side of his mouth.
That changed our relationship drastically.I was convinced the blue fox deserved the punishment. I too started looking for an opportunity to punish the fox who killed our hens.
Shortly afterwards one sunday evening I saw a few foxes on the rock behind our house. It was about to rain and my father was at home.
My father had a double barrel gun and he was very good at shooting. I was able to persuade him to take the gun and come out.I wanted to kill the foxes in revenge
“But there is a problem. We don't eat foxes How can we kill them for hunting for their food” my father said thoughtfully
“It is a sin to kill unless you want to eat” he repeated
“But who eats foxes anyway.” I was disappointed
“The tiger, the leopards and even wild dogs”. My father said
I could imagin the tiger leopard and wild dogs in the gathering around the blue fox but no human being.