The next day the Young Vixen and Bel had just finished giving Skid and Achak’s pups their breakfast when one of the young male wolves returned to the lair. He had with him two fox cubs; a bit worse for wear but alive.
Achak and Zuzu took command and made a warm burrow lined with grasses for the cubs. Bel and the Young Vixen were sent to supervise Skid and the pups in the nursery. ‘Don’t worry, Chepi,’ said Bel, ‘Zuzu and Achak know what they are doing.’
‘So do you from what I hear.’
‘The old bugger has been talking, has he?’
‘Indeed he has.’
Just then the Old Fox walked in. ‘Less of the old bugger, if you don’t mind, there are young ones present,’ he said. ‘Anyway, I am heading off with that young wolf, things are coming to a head.’
‘Stay safe, please stay safe,’ said the Young Vixen.
‘I intend to Chepi.’ And with that the Old Fox left.
It was shortly after lunch and Skid and the pups were busy chasing each other when Achak popped her head into the nursery. ‘Chepi, I think you better come out here, you are wanted.’
In the middle of the lair sat by Zuzu were the two young cubs. Both were freshly washed and smartened up. ‘Hello Auntie, is mummy here?’
‘No darlings,’ said the Young Vixen as she hugged her nieces. ‘There has been no sign of her.’
‘Mummy went back to look for Skid’ said the bigger of the two vixen cubs. ‘He’s always dragging behind.’
‘Just as well this time,’ said the other cub.
‘Let’s go and find Skid,’ said Zuzu gently and she guided them into the nursery. ‘We need to talk Chepi.’
The Young Vixen waited for Zuzu to return. She had Bel with her. ‘Bel make some tea please; I think we all need a cup.’
Bel made tea and the three sat down. ‘The other new the wolf brought back isn’t so good,’ said Zuzu. ‘The cubs’ mother won’t be coming back, the Bray hounds got her.’
‘She did what any mother would do and protected young Skid so he could get away. Thankfully that raccoon has a conscience and brought the lad here.’
‘I am grateful for that, and the other cubs seem to be healthy too.’
‘Now we just have to wait for the pack to return.’
‘Given the yelping and squealing from the nursery we have our work cut out here.’
‘All good practice for you, Chepi, those cubs will need you as their mother now.’
‘Oh, I guess they will,’ the Young Vixen said nervously.
Bel, who had sat quietly, said ‘Don’t be nervous, dear, I will help you.’
‘Thank you, Bel.’
©JG Farmer 2019