Tale of The Great Fox
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04-09-2014, 04:00 PM
Tale of The Great Fox
Dear readers, this is a dark tale indeed, but it uses several themes around me, some themes from my life, some from the fiction I read, some from other literature and general psychology. I have put it together to a story and may you not find it familiar. Feedback is welcome.

Once upon a time, in a deep green forest, there was a fox with a beautiful reddish-orange fur. The fur burned bright in the green like a flame and the Fox had to constantly avoid hunters, coveting his soft and lustrous coat - and forest rangers looking for fires. And so the Fox became the most cunning and clever of all the animals in the forest. But one day, when watching for hunters, the Fox ventured into a trap. One of his black paws got caught in strong and sharp irons.

The Fox knew that the time is coming short. There was no help to be seen around and so he buried the sharp tooth of his Cunning, which always looked out for outside threats, into the inside. The Cunning said,
"It Is Better To Lose One Paw Than Four And The Coat Too."
"I agree," the Fox replied. "But I'm not sure I like the implications."
"I Do Not Know Any More Than You Do. We Know That We Stay, We Die," the Cunning insisted.
"What shall we do, if our knowledge is finite?" the Fox probed his mind again.
"We Make More Truth Than There Is."
"We deceive ourselves?" asked the Fox in disbelief.
"Not Quite," somewhat agreed the Cunning. "Then All Will Be As Truth."
"Do what you have to do. Dire circumstances require dire measures." the dire animal said.
The Cunning started talking in a powerful voice in the Fox's black ears. It spoke of courage, of duty, of necessity, of blood, honor and sacrifice. Above all, it spoke of power. It spoke, as the Fox was gnawing with his sharp teeth into his paw, biting away tendon by tendon. The more he bit, the more pain he felt, pain over pain. But the more pain he felt, the stronger was the voice of truth, the more honor, courage and sacrifice he laid down at the altar of power and freedom. Finally, the bloody animal rose from the trap and three-legged hobbled into the forest, overwhelmed with power and freedom.
But not alone anymore. Once the paw stump healed, the Cunning spoke again.
"You Are Free. Pain Liberated You. You Are Alive, Wiser And More Powerful Than Ever."
"No doubt about that," replied the fox.
"Much Pain, Much Freedom."
The Fox raised his muzzle proudly.
"More Pain, More Freedom."
The Fox braced himself courageously and lashed around with his tail.
"No Pain, No Courage, No Honor, No Freedom. No Power."
The Fox winced with horror from this prospect of downfall and instead started gnawing at his almost healed foreleg again.
After a moon of solitary hunting and occasional courageous self-biting and stump-gnawing, the Cunning spoke again to the Fox.
"Pain Is Power. Power Is Freedom. But Freedom For You Alone Is Selfishness. Freedom Shared Is True Freedom. Go. Share."
And so the Fox, an otherwise solitary creature, trotted almost as foxes do among other animals. They were appalled and shocked by his bloody appearance, missing paw and torn out patches of fur. He took a few bites off an animal here and there, by accident, he said, apologized sometimes, fled other times.
"I just can't help myself," sometimes the Fox said, as a trickle of blood sought its way down an animal flank.
"You had a tick there," he said other times. "You should thank me. Foxes guard the health of the forest, you know?"
A few animals disappeared, but maybe they got lost in winter snow. Yet the Fox held his tail and muzzle with pride and certainty that was not seen before in the forest.
"I have come to liberate you. You sleep and dream, but there is reality beyond the dream and I shall awaken you. I bring the power and the power shall set you free."
When the animals gathered, he set out on a lengthty lecture. Those who got bored and left, he did not pursue. Yet. But to those who remained, he divulged a deeper mystery.
"Power is freedom. The gateway to power is pain. Pain shall set you free. Endure pain and rise above those who did not!"
There was a brief tumult about the animal gathering, but the Fox did cut it short like a bent branch snaps with a loss of patience.
"Silence! The time of choice has come. Choose the weakest place on your body and let the fiery tooth of power burn it away! Approach the freedom!"
Some fled again, too scared to talk coherently and give credence to their testimony. But those who did not, one by one the animals approached the bright-eyed, bushy-tailed freedom. Muffled yells and screams filled the dimly lit shallow cavern, where the Fox dwelt. Tendons and veins snapped, nerves broke, muscles ripped, cartilage split, all parted and flooding as the Red Sea of old, where the Fox pointed his sharp nose. The ranks of the Marked ones straightened in pride for the first time. They held their pain bravely, as the lost ears, patches of skin and even a limb or eye here and there was laid as sacrifice to the gateway of freedom below two amber lanterns.
"Be proud, for you are the chosen ones!" reverbered the vulpine declamation. "Feel the pain and rise up to it with your deeds! Go forth and act, go forth and discover the next weakest part in you, find in yourself that which offends you. Go forth and return and I shall make you free!"
The dusk hid the horrendous procession of disfigured hobblers and many of them hid in bushes for a few days to recover from the sudden enlightenment. They knew they lost something, something terrible, but it could not be for vain, could it? It had to be something powerful, something magnificent, they were only beginning to comprehend! Only More Was Needed! Soon the forest was brimming with news of brave deeds of the chosen, of the Marked ones, who drink the cavernous spring of pain to the full and so no endeavor is beyond them. More and more were brought to the shallow cave, to gaze into the twin fireflies of death and rebirth, as the voice from below liked to call them. More and more emerged changed to see the pain in the world and be one with it.

And it was just as well, for something in the Fox gnawed at his soul still deeper and from these rich mines he endowed with sharp diamonds of pain generously all who came. The more he gave, the hungrier he felt, and his visitors were in return more generous with their weaker parts to fill his belly. What the Fox was doing in meantime, nobody knows. Perhaps he burrowed corridors inside his dwelling, as foxes are wont to do. Few animals noticed the path to the cave is getting narrower and longer.

And the power of the Fox rose steadily to reach the realm of squirrels and bird nests, both of which pleased him with their flavor, yet it also reached edges of the forest. A gamekeeper, who took his meat from the forest, but cared for it as well, walked about to investigate. The man of the forest knew his land and burned with anxiety to discover why animals changed their habits, their paths and hiding places. Verily, some he found were barely walking, but still more ferocious when cornered by his dogs and bore some deeper bite marks than his dogs used to give. Something about these wound marks, loss of animal fear and patterns of paths itched at the back of his mind. All the paths and tracks circled about and converged somewhere.

After weeks of searching, the hunter discovered the cave entrance, where all the tracks led in and many led out, though not all, he failed to overlook. His dogs whined and writhed in restlessness, as the stench of power and freedom wafted from the entrance. He sent one inside through the steep entrance and waited. Waited in vain for half an hour, then sent another. He thought he heard a surprised yelp and bubbling, so he sent in another dog. The Fox welcomed this one too, as a pleasant challenge and a new source of pain perhaps, nourishment certainly. The third dog lived longer in blind macabrous play of pain, for the Fox sated his hunger previously and played with this one in the darkness like a fox kit plays with a butterfly.
"You Complete Me." was the last that the dog heard with unpierced eardrums.

The gamekeeper, his dogs lost, hands sweaty and shaking in dark remembrance, took a hearty swig from his shiny flat bottle, chasing the memories away. Then, with a heavy heart, he prepared to hold his rifle and climb into the opening himself, but then thought better of it. Firstly, he still had one old but trusty grenade in his backpack. Secondly, his wooden leg was no good for spelunking.
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