When the third dawn from the vanishing of the Hyades
Breaks, the horses will be in their stalls in the Circus.
So I must explain why foxes are loosed then,
Carrying torches fastened to scorched backs.
The land round Carseoli’s cold, not suited for growing
Olives, but the soil there’s appropriate for corn.
I passed it on the way to my native Pelignian country,
A small region, yet always supplied by constant streams.
There I entered, as usual, the house of my former host:
Phoebus had already unyoked his weary horses.
My host used to tell me of many things, including this,
As a preparation for my present work:
‘In that plain,’ he said (pointing at the plain),
A thrifty peasant woman and her sturdy husband had a small
Plot, he tilled the land himself, whether it needed ploughing,
Or required the curving sickle or the hoe.
They would sweep the cottage, set on timber piles,
She’d set eggs to hatch under the mother hen’s feathers,
Or collect green mallows or gather white mushrooms,
Or warm the humble hearth with welcome fire,
And still worked her hands assiduously at the loom,
To provision them against the threat of winter cold.
She had a son: he was a playful child,
Who was already twelve years old.
In a valley, he caught, in the depths of a willow copse,
A vixen, who’d stolen many birds from the yard.
He wrapped his captive in straw and hay, and set fire
To it all: she fled the hands that were out to burn her:
In fleeing she set the crops, that covered the fields, ablaze:
And a breeze lent strength to the devouring flames.
The thing’s forgotten, but a relic remains: since now
There’s a certain law of Carseoli, that bans foxes:
And they burn a fox at the Cerialia to punish the species,
or the biblical story of Samson from Judges 15:4-5 :
It would seem that the literal fox has taken on a much more human persona in the modern world, and not without setting a few fires and satisfying it's role as deceiver. Take 20th Century Fox, and it's sister (vixen) company Fox news. The all too familiar logos of the "Fox" franchise make use of the searchlight. Here they are shedding the proverbial light on the very tool that they are using to burn us with. Known in fox hunting as "lamping" a common practice is to shine spotlights into the eyes of foxes to freeze them before they are either shot in the head or neck. During World War II searchlights were often employed as tactical weapons, used to blind bomber pilots.
What is so significant about Disney's Chicken Little? For the purpose of this exploration it's what was left out, and perhaps what is at the heart of the Burning Fox story. In the countless versions of the Chicken Little fable one thing does indeed remain constant, the sometimes lethal deception of Foxy Loxy...which, for those of you who have seen the film will realize is nowhere to be found. Without going into too much detail, Foxy Loxy is a decoy and thus the greatest "red" herring of all. (For Ben Fairhall's consideration a cleverly hidden clue is embedded on a newsstand copy of "MM" (Modern Mallard) magazine. The headline blurb "How to Detect Decoys" slips by nearly invisible, and cloaked under the guise of a harmless pun).
The early story arch teases at a building conflict between Chicken Little and Foxy (as would be expected), but Disney throws a curve ball. In fact, in two of Foxy's primary screen moments actual "spotlights" appear and affect the action. Early in the film during a baseball game, Chicken Little is "blinded" by the sun's rays thus allowing Foxy to make a game saving catch. Later, towards the end of the film Foxy is literally "lamped" by the invading aliens, and beamed aboard one of their octopi surface vehicles. The question here is what is the true deception? Is "The End Near" as the films tagline would suggest or is it perhaps aliens themselves...does Disney want us to believe the sky is falling or don't they?
I'd very much like to thank fellow blogger aferrismoon for invaluable insights, research and persistence on this topic. Please check out his blog for additional details. And, for those of you itching to draw a parallel between my name (Todd) and the fact that a "Tod" is a name given to a male fox, please contain yourselves, aferrismoon was quick to remind me. Not to mention that "Tod" in German means death. Make of that what you wish, you have been warned! There is plenty more to come, stay tuned! Next time we look at foxes and the art of War, as well as more synchromystic "Foxes" all around us.