Gou and Pil: The Two Little Foxes
One day, in the neighborhood where the adventures of Ronnie Rabbit took place,* a couple of foxes raised two twins—Gou, the lively one, and Pil, the follower.
*Ronnie Rabbit: You can read this storybook at http://www.yanpetro-kavlan.fr/432674572.
For a month the mother fox suckled her two twins in a den hidden under the roots of a several-hundred-year-old olive tree.
Meanwhile, the father fox helped his mate by hunting.
Gradually, the feeding of the fox kits changes. The parents bring them food in the den. The little foxes begin to go outside and play; but they stay close by, under the watchful eye of their mother.
After about nine weeks the foxes are no longer nursed by their mother. She has weaned them. Now they eat meat, fruits, and some plants.
Time has passed. The twins aren’t babies anymore. They’ve become young foxes. They only think of playing.
In the coming months their parents will have to teach them a lot.
The two young foxes don’t always pay attention. Sometimes the father fox has to scold the little devils.
This evening, the mother fox wants to show her twins how a fox must hunt. She shows the way. The little ones don’t take it seriously. Nevertheless, they obey their mother and follow her.
The mother and her young ones climb to the top of the hill where food can be found. Their den is at the bottom of the valley beyond the reach of man. Other animals do the same. A whole family of wild boar pass in front of them.
For foxes these aren’t enemies, but they must stay alert anyway.
The twins obey their mother, but they can’t stay serious. Along the way they continue to frolic about. Everything is new to them, because all they know is the neighborhood of their den.
Their parents protect the twins from danger. The young foxes aren’t aware of everything that threatens their safety. To cross the path, you have to pick the right moment and do it quickly.
Going under a fence and slipping into a hedge is very easy.
Following their mother under cover of the hedge is no problem.
The mother fox knows that starting now, having reached a large cistern,* things become more complicated because the hunt begins. She turns to her twins to make sure they know to follow her. On top of the cistern two magpies stand guard.
As the mother fox slowly passes the cistern on the left, the young ones—who didn’t understand after all—veer off to the right and start climbing the ivy hedge to reach the top of the cistern.
The mother fox looks ahead to watch for danger and possibly to surprise some prey. She can no longer see her little ones.
The two brothers, for their part, manage to reach the rim of the cistern. They’re drawn to the magpies, but the birds have already seen them.
On the ground a third bird is drinking. The mother fox spots it and sneaks up.
The fox rushes to the magpie on the ground. Too late!
The birds on top of the cistern have already given a warning.
The three birds fly off in a powerful beating of wings.
The flight of the three magpies, just above the twins, throws the young foxes off balance.
The twins fall, screaming in fright.
They lie motionless at the bottom of the cistern.
The mother fox tries to understand what just happened.
Everything is now silent. She must retrace her steps.
She thought she would find her little ones behind her, but she can only find their track thanks to her sense of smell.
The trail is fresh and the mother fox easily follows the scent of her little ones. She climbs as they did onto the cistern.
From the rim at the exact spot where Gou and Pil fell, the mother fox discovers the catastrophe.
Her two little ones are motionless. She knows that jumping into the cistern, to be with her twins, would be falling into a fatal trap.
She gently calls to Gou and Pil.
The little ones come to. They hear the reassuring voice of their mother and answer her.
Her presence comforts them a little. They explore the bottom of the cistern. They search, they scratch, they sniff at the gate where water flows out of the cistern. But they realize they can’t get out of this horrible trap. Their claws wear down from scratching uselessly at the hard concrete.
All their efforts are in vain. Exhausted by their terrible mishap, they snuggle up to each other and end up falling asleep in the dark. Their mother takes refuge nearby, in a hidden corner of the hedge.
The night passes by slowly.
Far from the comfort of their den, the twins slept badly. The aches caused by their fall and nightmares woke them up very often. Gou, the active one, begins to stir.
He gets up and cries out in anguish while Pil remains asleep.
A reply comes from outside.
Their mother is still there, hidden nearby in the hedge.
In the depths of their prison Gou and Pil are now both awake, and the voice of their mother comforts them. But they begin to suffer from thirst. They no longer have saliva to groom their fur.
Here is the setting in which this adventure is happening:
1) The cistern that Gou and Pil fell into. Front left.
2) The yucca hedge where the mother fox is hiding. On the left following the hedge.
3) Two rows of beans. In the middle of the garden.
4) Rows of grapevines and some leafless trees. On ea
Next to the beans, a pair of blackbirds peck quietly.
Finally something happens. The blackbirds fly away, alarmed by the arrival of a man and a boy.
Is this a good omen for Gou and Pil? Men and foxes aren’t always friends.
Grandfather Petchyo and his grandson Antchyo drive stakes and stretch string along the row of beans. Held in place by string like this, the bean plants won’t be blown down by the wind.
The work continues, but after a while the grandfather realizes he’s working alone.
Antchyo left without making a sound. Petchyo is worried.
“But where did Antchyo go?”
“Antchyo, where did you go? Do you want to play already? Our work isn’t done yet!”
“Petchyo, I'm here, by the cistern. Come see!”
Petchyo joins his grandson beside the cistern.
“Petchyo, I heard little cries.”
“Well, let's take a look.”
Antchyo and Petchyo search.
“The cries are getting weaker and weaker.”
“Petchyo, they’re coming from inside the cistern.”