About Me

My photo
Washington, United States
loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Thursday, November 01, 2012

hawk adopts kitten: strange and sweet

In an excerpt from a periodical called the Leisure Hour, here's a most striking example of opposites adopting each other:
* * *
A lady of the writer's acquaintance was once walking amid the scenery of the Isle of Wight, when she observed a little kitten curled up on a mossy bank in all the security of a, mid-day nap. It was a beautiful little creature, and the lady gently approached in order to stroke it, when suddenly down swooped an hawk, pounced upon the sleeping kitten, and completely hid it from her sight. It was a kestrel. Our friend was greatly shocked, and tried to rescue the little victim; but the kestrel stood at bay and refused to move. There he stood on the bank, firmly facing her; and all her efforts to drive him from his prey failed. 
The lady hurried on to a fisherman's cottage, which was near at hand, and told of the little tragedy with the eloquence of real feeling. But the fisher-folk were not so disconcerted, and, laughingly, said,—' It is always so; that hawk always comes down if anybody goes near the kitten. He has taken to the kitten, and he stays near at hand to watch whenever it goes to sleep.'
The case was so remarkable, that the lady inquired further into its history, and learned that the kitten's mother had died, and that the fisherman's family had suddenly missed the little nurseling. After some time they observed a kestrel hawk loitering about the cottage. They used to throw him scraps of meat, and they observed that he always carried off a portion of every meal, dragging even heavy bones away out of sight.
His movements were watched, and they saw that he carried the stores to the roof of his cottage. A ladder was placed, some one ascended, and there, nestling in a hole in the thatch, lay the lost kitten, thriving prosperously under the tender care of its strange foster-father. The foundling was brought down and restored to civilized life; but the bandit protector was not disposed to resign his charge, and ever kept at hand to fly to the rescue, whenever dangerous ladies threatened it with a caress.
* * *
I love this story.  Found on pages 661-2 of Beeton's Book of Poultry and Domestic Animals, Samuel Beeton, editor (London: Ward, Lock, and Tyler, 1870).

1 comment:

parlance said...

I love the story too!