The British Red Squirrel

| January 2, 2017 | 1 Comment

I recently went on a date with a British girl.

Did I know that British red squirrels do not hibernate? she asks me.

I did not, I say.

Oh yes, and they have quite a varied diet all year round, she says. They eat anything from seeds and flowers, to fruit and insects and fungi.

(We order salads).

Did I also know that in the U.K. they are considered threatened due to competition with grey squirrels? Yes, and they build nests, which are called dreys, and they are made from twigs and moss and grass, and they are high up in trees. And did I know they could swim?

I did not.

Aren’t they cute? (Her phone in my face; the background is a red squirrel.)

Quite, I say.

Are you familiar at all with Norse mythology?

A bit.

There’s a red squirrel attested in the Poetic Edda, she says. He is called Ratatoskr, and he runs up and down the world tree Yggdrasil, and he carries messages between the hawk Veðrfölnir, who sits atop Yggdrasil, and the worm Níðhöggr, who lives beneath the roots.

What kind of messages? I ask.

Slanderous gossip! Can you believe it? He runs up and down Yggdrasil all day to tell gossip and provoke the hawk and the worm. Isn’t that wild?

That is wild, I say. Though in Judaism (I’m half), the Gossiper is a sinner, I tell her, and this Ratatoskr character should consider his impact on the world and the world tree Yggdrasil. He is probably doing more harm than he realizes.

Well, it’s just a story. (She is defensive now.) Ratatoskr isn’t real.

I understand, but aren’t stories the vessel by which we pass down traditions and values? I mean, aren’t they the the pillars on which modern society stands?

Never mind, she says.

(We eat our salads.)

Oh! And did you know baby squirrels are called kittens?

We go back to my place. We have wine, we have sex, we share a cigarette, she removes her mask; she is a red squirrel.

PS: Comment below if looking to adopt a kitten.


feature photo credit: Emyan Morning Light via photopin (license)

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Category: featured, Poetry, Prose and Comedy

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  1. Anonymous says:

    What an authentic and sterile piece of work. Absolutely beautiful.

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