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A Tale for our Times: Fox Woman

Updated: Oct 28, 2021

A hungry hunter was returning to his hut after a long, fruitless day when he was stopped in his tracks. A pillar of smoke was rising up out of the top of his dwelling, like it does when a cook fire is lit inside, only, he lives alone. He snuck up quietly and peered inside. No one was there yet a feast was laid out for him. This same thing happened the next day and the next, when finally he went home a little early to see who was responsible for this.

He approached his home quietly and beheld a woman with long wavy, reddish hair. With his hunters eyes he could see that she was part woman, part spirit and part fox. As all women do, she knew she was being watched. The fox woman turned around and their eyes met for the first time. After a rich moment of fullness she said to him, “I will be the woman of this hut.” A chill descends over his body, he nods, blushes and responds, “Of course.” She goes on to mention that there is one, and only one, condition upon which her presence relies. As he could see, she is part fox and foxes have fur. She just has this one small pelt and it needs to hang on the back of the door inside the hut. “Oh yes, whatever you need, dear.” He says without a thought.

They spend the evening in the pure joy of togetherness, sharing songs and stories and the long, starlit night. So it went like this for many months and their hearts were full. The only thing that was creeping up in his mind that was a faint bit of a bother was the fact that her pelt had such a strong scent, as animals do. So he brought it up nonchalantly at dinner one evening, lightly wondering if they could just put her pelt right outside of the door. She shot him THE glance and decided to let that rookie move slide.

So more moons came and went and he was really in a difficult position by now. You see, with scents of the wild, you either fully surrender to them or they drive you to madness. The aroma of the pelt was in all of his clothes, in his hair and permeating his mind. He could take it no longer and one full moon evening, he’d had enough, and at his wits end proclaimed, “The pelt must go!”

He woke in the morning to this. She was gone. The pelt was gone. The scent was gone. So he went to the doorway looking for her out into the vastness of the forest, the vastness of the world.

And he stands in that doorway to this day. Hungry and aching in every cell of his body for the scent of the fox woman.

*I believe this is an Inuit tale. In Respect.

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