"Lady into Fox" by David Garnett (Kindle Edition) - Preview Available

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SUPPOSE you went out walking with your wife, and right before your eyes she turned into a small red fox. In real life you would have to notify the officials of Bronx Park, or try conscious suggestion, or call in the medical authorities. It is a vulpine predicament devoutly not to be wished. Yet this sort of thing is likely to happen at any time, not in real life, but in a fable wrought in the shape and accent of life, and yet requiring a willing suspension of disbelief. In a fable the characters accept supernaturalism with the utmost seriousness, and rarely call in either the medical authorities or the marines.

In Mr. David Garnett's exquisite " Lady into Fox" Mr. Tebrick is out walking near his vicarage with his young wife. Suddenly she turns into a small red fox; but she preserves for a long time the emotions rather than the appearance of her very human self. Mr. Tebrick shoots his two dogs, dismisses the servants, and settles down to a curious partnership with his fox. For a number of weeks he treats her as if she were his wife. He reads to her from "Clarissa Harlowe" (calculated to weary even a fox), plays the "Song without Words" on the pianoforte, serves her delicate food. Alas! The metamorphosis grows upon the wife; and she becomes a true fox. She eats a rabbit raw, digs holes and hides, runs off to the woods and returns with a litter which Mr. Tebrick, good soul, brings up with the most scrupulous solicitude. At last she is hunted to his arms by dogs and men, and there killed.


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