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FOX-BOY

Dreamed 1997/2/28 by Chris Wayan

I read a children's book aloud. It's a fantasy by Shirley Rousseau Murphy. As I tell the tale, it becomes real:

Once upon a time, a boy lived in the royal court of his uncle, the Wizard King. Now, this boy was endlessly curious--some would say impudent. One day, he asked the wrong question, and offended the King deeply. He punished the boy by turning him into a little fox, who could still talk, but couldn't do much else to cause mischief, since fox-paws have no thumbs. It's an open sentence; he'll be a fox till the King decides he's changed his ways, learned to obey his elders. He must live on other's charity, demoted from prince to mere pet, or else live in a burrow like a wild fox.

Grounded!

Sketch of a dream by Chris Wayan: a boy turned into a fox.
But Fox-Boy reacts unexpectedly--rather than learning his lesson, he defies his uncle's sentence and runs away, on a quest to get himself turned human again. He has wild, wonderful adventures--he manages to cross a great chasm, the Gulf Impassable, and enter Spellbound Castle, where great heroes have tried and failed. For as a fox, the boy can smell and hear better than any human being, and thus avoid spells, and slip through cracks, and cross narrow log bridges, and generally go unnoticed.

Being a fox makes all the difference.

He reaches the heart of Spellbound Castle, and frees the magical beings imprisoned there.

And freeing them triggers a social and political revolution--one long overdue.

It couldn't have worked out better if his uncle had planned it.

I wonder. Maybe... he did.

NOTES NEXT MORNING



LISTS AND LINKS: dream beings - foxes - another werefox boy: Close the Gate! - hands - royalty - kids - oops! - spells and curses - political dreams - revolution - an epic dream inspired by Nightpool: Fisher Girls - Shakespeare (Hamlet) - Patricia McKillip - the secret of uncle Hugh - same dreamer set up to play envoy again in Gargoyle Go-Between

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