Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/829

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
809
THE BADGER AND THE FOX.

door securely, he left the animal to his own devices for the night, little thinking what these might be. Next morning he found, to his horror, that the badger had torn up the floor of the hutch where he had been placed, and got into that of the doe, where he had slaughtered the whole family. Their bodies lay dead there, the badger curled up in the middle of them, fast asleep, and very full of rabbit. His first impulse was to kill the beast, there and then, but on thinking it over he remembered that he had paid a considerable figure for it; so he got the badger out and sold him to one of his friends as a pet, telling him that it was "quite harm-

PSM V38 D829 The badger.jpg
The Badger.

less, would live on bread and milk, and in a very short time would follow him about like a dog." Very soon, indeed, he was requested by this friend to take him back again, but he refused.

I will describe one of his homes, which I have visited many times. At the bottom of a glade, by the side of the chalk hill, is a dip or hollow, not deep, but a kind of basin about twice the size of one of my living-rooms. Round this, old beeches, growing close by, have pushed forth their great roots in all directions; on one side of the hollow a gnarled oak stands, not any great height, but of vast bulk, the great limbs reaching far over the open space. In the middle of the hollow, under the roots of this oak, our friar of orders gray has made his home, and a very secure and pleasant one it is.

When the moon is high up in the sky, and throws a soft silvery blue tone on the tops of the firs which line the side of the glade, the glade itself showing like a bright blue-green stripe, and nothing is heard but the jar of the fern-owl as he flits over the glade, or the drone of some beetle as he flies along, then is the