More than any other Burgess book I've read, this one is about relationships. Old Granny Fox and the young Reddy are having a tough time finding food in the winter. Reddy Fox is quite the know-it-all and even mocks the older fox when he doesn't understand what she's doing but Granny is remarkably patient and shows him that he still has a lot to learn. Reddy despairs that they can't find any food in the snow. Granny shows him how to perform for ducks and take the farm dog's dinner, but when they've exhausted every other means of getting food they resort to stealing hens. She makes quite a point out of the fact that the foxes only take the hens because they're starving so that's okay even though it's stealing; the humans have plenty of food so they can spare a few chickens. The raid on the chicken coop is a big event in the book; even here Reddy is overeager and Granny Fox must teach him to be patient, to wait until it's perfectly safe, to stay away afterwards so they have a chance to get hens again at a later date. However most of the story seemed to be about lessons on respecting your elders and having a willingness to learn. It even seems that things have finally sunk in for Reddy Fox; at one point he finds a fish to eat and even though he's starving he thinks of Granny Fox waiting at home, unable to hunt for herself and he takes the food back to her. It was a wonderful change of heart for him, this feisty little fox who usually only thinks of himself.