Stránka:book 1913.djvu/407

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Natural History 385 THE fox's hunt For a mile or two I followed my fox. Nothing happened. I got only the thought that his life was largely made up of nose investigation and unfavorable reports from the committee in charge. Then we came to a long, sloping hoUow. The fox trotted down this, and near its lower end he got a nose report of importance for he had swung to the right and gone slowly — so said the short steps — zigzagging up the wind. Within fifteen feet, the tacks in the course shortened from four or five feet to nothing, and ended in a small hole in a bank. From this the fox had pulled out a common, harmless garter-snake, torpid, curled up there doubtless to sleep away the winter. The fox chopped the snake across the spine with his powerful meat-cutters, killed it thus, dropped it on the snow, and then, without eating a morsel of it as far as I could see, he went on with his hunt. (Illustra- tion II A.) Why he should kiU a creature that he could not eat I could not understand. I thought that ferocious sort of vice was limited to man and weasels, but clearly the fox was guilty of the human crime. The dotted guide led me now, with many halts and devious turns, across a great marsh that had doubtless furnished many a fattened mouse in other days, but now the snow and ice forbade the hunt. On the far end the country was open in places, with clumps of timber, and into this, from the open marsh, had blown a great bank of soft and drifted snow. Manitoban winters are not noted for their smiling geniality or profusion of outdoor flowers. Frost and snow are sure to come early and continue till spring. The thermometer may be for weeks about zero point. It