Jun 15, 2012

The Adventures of Old Man Coyote

by Thornton W. Burgess

Another story about a new animal arriving in the forest and making everyone nervous. This time it is an eerie voice heard at night that frightens the smaller creatures. Eventually they figure out it's a coyote who has moved in from the West. The foxes quickly discover that the coyote is larger than them, and a competitor for the same prey. Granny Fox is determined to trick the coyote into leaving, even though she's afraid to face him herself. In the end the coyote proves that he's not afraid of them and smarter than anyone else. Even though he can quickly loose his temper, he also has a sense of generosity and fairness. The foxes begrudging admit that he'll stay among them.

The themes through this book were about judging those you've just met, honesty (or lack of it, rather- as Granny Fox was spreading rumors) and being brave. Curiously it showed two aspects of this: the skunk always put on a brave face even when he was frightened, and soon other animals decided he was brave and left him alone. Whereas Reddy Fox always brags that he's brave, but shows himself to be a coward so the other animals tease and pester him about it. There was a slight discrepancy with an earlier story here that puzzled me; in one scene here the coyote gets tricked into meeting the porcupine, an animal he's never met before and doesn't quite know how to deal with. But in The Adventures of Prickly Porky it seemed that the coyote hadn't met the porcupine at that time yet, either- he was forced into a surprise encounter with it rolling downhill. Hm.

Rating: 3/5 ........ 71 pages, 1916

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