The Farmer & His Wife

John Tay­lor is con­cerned about the lo­cal rab­bit pop­u­la­tion . . .

The People's Friend - - Contents -

ANNE al­ways reads the “Ar­ti­cles For Sale” col­umn in our lo­cal news­pa­per. “John!” She’d pitched her voice so loud she must have thought I was out­side.

“I’m here, not in the byre.” In fact, I was sit­ting at our kitchen ta­ble with my hands round my morn­ing drink.

“Sorry, I thought you were in the dairy. John, I think I’ll get you an ex­tra Christ­mas present.” “That’s nice,” I said war­ily. “A pair of fer­rets.”

I knew she was jok­ing, so I played up to her.

“How much?’’

“It doesn’t say.”

“I’m out of touch with the price of fer­rets. Ring and ask. It’s just what we need.”

“Oh, John! We don’t want the smelly brutes, do we?” I could see Anne was get­ting wor­ried.

“Well, we have to do some­thing about the rab­bits. Two fer­rets would do the job.”

I’m wor­ried by the num­bers of rab­bits I’ve seen recently. Not just on our land. One morn­ing recently I came to a roundabout near Lady­bank and saw three rab­bits that didn’t care a hoot for the cars go­ing past.

In the evening, I went to St An­drews and round ev­ery bend I spot­ted more rab­bits. Some­thing had to be done.

“Shall I ring and ask the price?” I teased Anne. “Don’t you dare, John!” Anne’s fa­ther had two fer­rets which she had to clean out, wa­ter and feed. They’re as quick as light­ning at dis­ap­pear­ing. And they can re­ally bite if you’re not care­ful. As Anne said, she’s had

her fill of keep­ing fer­rets!

We didn’t have any. Dad wasn’t a fer­ret man but he was a good shot. Heaven help a rab­bit that crossed his path when he’d a gun un­der his arm.

Mother used to make mouth-wa­ter­ing rab­bit stew with plenty car­rots, onions and mush­rooms. She then put it in a big brown earth­en­ware casse­role and topped it with a crust.

One day, af­ter the auc­tion in Cu­par, I called on our butcher for Anne’s or­der.

“Have you a rab­bit, Alis­tair?” I asked.

“Sorry, John. No fresh ones, only frozen.”

I was taken aback. Why freeze the hum­ble rab­bit?

I was told they had to be frozen be­cause they came all the way from China!

I thought he was pulling my leg, but Alis­tair as­sured me he couldn’t get enough lo­cal rab­bits so he bought im­ported ones.

I asked the price. Heav­ens! “I think I’ll buy those two fer­rets. They’d soon pay for their keep if rab­bits are so dear.” “No, John.”

I didn’t get my fer­rets. But I’m still wor­ried about the rab­bit ex­plo­sion.

More next week

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.