[0078] Friend And Foe

[0078] Friend And Foe

The current story arc started with this strip: Summer by the Lakeside.

If you don’t remember him, the other raccoon is Tibor who confronted Woo during the last mating season: Reliable Sources.

This strip is one of my personal favorites so far.

Here is a short story out of the great book “Raccoons: In History, Folklore & Today’s Backyards” by Virginia C. Holmgren about altruistic behavior in raccoons. (The book is filled with interesting facts about the history of raccoons not available anywhere else and is available for cheap at Amazon.com.)

One day when spring was still around that unseen corner, Blacky showed us still another facet of his special personality. Somewhere – probably down by the frog pond – he’d met a scrawny, thin-tail Bachelor Boy who was desperately hungry. Raccoons store excess fat in their tails for emergency rations, and his bone-thin tail was proof no such rations remained. Blacky must have told Boy to come along for an easier meal than frogging, and I just happened to be looking out the west windows as they came up the hill from the frog pond together. I hurried to meet them, bread in hand, but hungry as Boy was, his caution was greater and he dived for the bushes.

Blacky took his own survey for danger and then with a reassuring glance for his new friend came on to take bread from my hand with a thank-you pad – as always. He stayed only long enough to take a nibble to prove his trust and then turned to the bushes with a look that said more plainly than words, See, this is a friend. Come, eat.

Boy took one step but was afraid to come any farther and so I tossed the bread his way and went back inside, hurrying to find a curtained window where I could watch unseen. Boy came out now, Blacky staying beside him while he gulped it all down, and after a stop at the water bowl they went on up the hill. Before long Boy was coming on his own and for a while that thin tail allowed us to tell him from the others with one glance.

  • Woo: !
  • Tibor: Whew, that was close.
  • Woo: Ow, my back!
  • Woo: That’s it! Nobody takes away my food and gets away with it! That’s right when the fun stops!
  • Tibor: Calm down, young fellow, and have a look.
  • Stick: Ouch!
  • Woo: {Gulp}
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