Saturday, April 4, 2009

Lady into Fox, David Garnett

I was happy to find another one of Stuck in a Book's recommendations through the interlibrary loan. This was a fascinating, brief fantasy about a man whose wife suddenly transforms into a fox. Mr. Tebrick still loves his wife and is almost driven mad as she becomes more and more savage in her behavior.

"We know her husband was always trying to bring her back to be a woman, or at any rate to get her to act like one, may she not have been hoping to get him to be like a beast himself or act like one?" (p.39)

Eventually Mrs. Tebrick can no longer abide wearing clothing, eating cooked meat, playing piquet, and sleeping in the same bed as her husband. She wants to be free and because of his love for her Mr. Tebrick lets her go.

"You would not do this if you were not in anguish, poor beast, you want your freedom. I cannot keep you, I cannot hold you to vows made when you were a woman. Why, you have forgotten who I am."
The tears then began running down his cheeks, he sobbed, and said to her:
"Go-I shall not keep you. Poor beast, poor beast, I love you, I love you. Go if you want to. But if you remember me come back. I shall never keep you against your will. Go-go. But kiss me now." (p.56)

Mrs. Tebrick does run wild but eventually returns with 5 fox cubs. Mr. Tebrick accepts these cubs, even baptising them and calling himself their godfather. He visits them everyday and plays with them in the woods but you just know that this tenuous arrangement can't last long.

"this all proceeded one may say from a passion, and a true conjugal fidelity, that it would be hard to find matched in this world. And though we may think him a fool, almost a madman, we must, when we look closer, find much to respect in his extraordinary devotion." (p.63)

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