Wandering over moor and heath, and through the deep woods, Skewbald while yet a foal 출장마사지 got to know the wild life of the forest, for, as with all young things, life to him was more than mere eating, and he was full of curiosity about everything that went on around him.

In the evenings he would see the rabbits, first little and then big, come out of their holes, their white scuts flashing as they gambolled. If they “froze,” their quiet umber tint assimilated with the surrounding hues, so that their outline was lost, and sometimes the colt, going towards a patch of herbage, saw nothing but a great black eye gazing at him, until, on a nearer approach, a young rabbit materialized, and loped away. On summer mornings when the dew was heavy, the bunnies looked almost black because of their drenched fur. They would have all day to comb and smooth it out underground. Early one morning he saw a doe rabbit with a mouthful of grass, sticking out on both sides of her muzzle, like a great green moustache; she went below with it, her two little ones following.

Hares he did not see so often, and they sat so quietly in their “forms,” that he was not aware of their presence until he nosed up against them. But he once saw a hare anything but quiet. On a bare patch of gravel near the railway, where hares were in the habit of crossing, a big jack hare was writhing and squirming without moving from the spot, and Skewbald went up to see this strange sight. The creature, of course, was in a gin, though the foal was not to know that. Not being afraid of hares, he got quite close, and, as the entrapped one did not move off, but still strained and struggled, he gave a mischievous little stamp to drive him away. Now, the poor hare was caught by a fore toenail only, and Skewbald happening to press with his hoof on the spring the jaw opened, and the prisoner was set free; but his fore-leg was so strained by the tension, that when he put weight on it, he fell over, and squirmed as before.

Skewbald, very interested, touched him, and the hare made off on to the track, where again he fell and writhed, Skewbald watching through the railings, until the noise of an oncoming train reminded the stricken one that he still had three legs to run on. The following spring Skewbald again witnessed the hare in motion, and this time there were two. The pair were on a level stretch, and indulging in an orgy of violent movement. They chased one another, turning and doubling, taking turns to be pursued and pursuer, till one stopped and crouched, the other jumping over its back. Then they ran apart in tangential circles which brought them face to face, whereupon they stood up on their hind-legs, and thumped one another with their forepaws like boxers. They acted as madly as any other pair of March hares.

Instinct and his mother taught Skewbald to notice all that was going on, to keep his eyes “skinned.” When they were in the woods, the harsh notes of the jays made him start, and from his mother’s movements, he learned that someone was about. Once in spring, browsing on the young shoots of a hawthorn-bush, he almost nosed against two dormice fresh from their long rest, sleek and tawny bright, among the green tufts.

The squirrels he could not help seeing, and when he stopped, and looked at them sitting on the low boughs of a fir, making short work of the cones, they stamped peevishly with their hind-feet, making quite a noise, as the rabbits did on the ground. Once he witnessed a curious and beautiful sight which lasted but a moment. A squirrel pursued another, going round and round a tree-trunk as they descended, so quickly that they left on the eye the impression of a reddish streak, drawn spirally round the trunk. This again was in spring, and, like the mad antics of the hares, a love chase.

Sometimes a fox trotted by, or sat up and looked at him impudently, and, as it happened, he got tolerably familiar with a family of foxes. The lair was in a bank between the roots of an old oak. Skewbald’s mother, as she went by, snuffed the air, and indeed, the smell, whether of fox or high viands, was perceptible even to human nostrils. So Skewbald snuffed too, and whenever he passed the hole, the odour reminded him of what dwelt there. One fine evening, as he idled at a little distance, he perceived movement outside the hole. It was not rabbits, so he went closer, and saw the little fox cubs, lithe and furry. One lay on its back gnawing at a moorhen’s wing, two were engaged in a tussle, and one curled into a ball with his tail over his nose, pretending to be asleep; but when the vixen came up, and, after looking round, sat down calmly amidst her family, the mischievous cub got up, came behind her and worried her tail, until she turned, and seized him in her jaws, so that he yelped.

After this, Skewbald, when his company came that way, looked out for the cubs, but he saw little more of them, for the older they grew, the later they came out, until it was night before they emerged, and then it was not for play but work, learning to hunt for their living.

Skewbald and his mother sometimes sunned themselves by a bank crowned with lichened thorns. It was quite a badger fortress, being honeycombed with passages. A certain family which camped by it one August must have occasioned the badger some inconvenience, for they used the great holes as dustbins, stuffing down newspapers, tins, tea-leaves and coffee grounds, and other rubbish. But they never set eyes on him, not even on moonlight nights. Probably he used an exit on the other side of the bank while the campers were about. But Skewbald sometimes saw him after dusk, coming or going with his rolling gait, or appearing at the mouth of his den with sniffing snout and uplifted paw. Once the foal came upon him in broad day, and sunny at that. He was fast asleep, nearly hidden in a great nest of dried grass and bracken in a sheltered corner.