Written by Andy Hayes
Truth is, I don’t like foxes.
They drop their mess on my front door step. Spray their scent to drive the local mutts crazy. And stare sullenly at me, sloping off insolently as I try to shoo them away.
Dahl’s Mr Fox was confident and triumphant. But he was also arrogant and I wanted to take him down a peg or two.
Millie was keen to draw him, as long as she received payment upfront. We agreed on a Hershey Bar. She ate it, did nothing, and then blamed me for not giving her a hard copy of my story to work from. I’ve never quite mastered the printer at home.
I started to hound her. It was half-term and she had time. Then one day, she put her mind to it and got the job done. It was good, but not quite right.
Mr Fox looked like a fox, but he was a bit too smart. He looked sad, but wasn’t fat. He was eating a burger not fried chicken. And, to cap it all, he still had a tail.
I rejected her first attempt.
Millie wasn’t happy. She’d researched foxes on Google images, and they all had tails. The drawing had taken her one whole hour, and she felt that this in itself was beyond the call of duty.
I focused on what she’d done well, and gave her a couple of tips. Read my story again. And even better, read Dahl’s too. But Millie’s not a reader. Not like the rest of my family. She prefers YouTube and Netflix so hasn’t got time for books.
I got specific with my feedback. I was too prescriptive. I was taking it far too seriously. Truth is, I’d grown attached to my Mr Fox. I was only trying to help. But I should’ve let her do it her way.
I bribed her with another Hershey Bar and this time she cracked it. Mr Fox the second was fatter and didn’t have a tail. His once-smart clothes had become shabby. I liked the fact that the chicken drumstick he was holding could’ve been a glass of bubbly.
How the mighty have fallen. Sorry Mr Fox.