I Witnessed a ‘Mugging’ Today…

And Rescued the Victim With My Bare Hands!

Fellow blogger ApronheadLilly wrote a post yesterday about witnessing a murder: she saw a Cooper’s Hawk kill a blackbird in her back yard.  I know that nature takes its tragic course around me all day every day, but I’m too soft-hearted: if I get the chance I do intervene to prevent the slaughter of some helpless creature.  Today I got another chance.

I woke up from my afternoon nap in the recliner and found the living room quite warm, so I went out the side entrance (to our addition) and sat on the deck.  Because it was sunny and mild I left the door open in case one of the cats wanted to join me–and Angus did a few moments later.  Then he went to snoop under the other set of stairs (to our main entrance.)

Suddenly he ran into the house and I decided to get up and shut the door.  Then I saw him inside–with something hanging from his mouth.  He’d ‘mugged’ a mouse?  “Outside!” I insisted several times, but he just stood there looking at me.

Closer inspection revealed that it was in fact a little junco.  He had it by one shoulder, but it was still twitching.  Likely he’d brought it in to play with and here I was, being such a wet blanket.  I ordered him outside again, fearing he’d let the thing go and we’d have to chase it all over the trailer.  When he didn’t budge, I picked him up and carried him out, thinking he’d let go of it any second, but he was still holding the bird when I dumped him on the deck.

Then I reached down and pried his mouth open.  Unmugged, the bird flew away–showing no sign of injury.  He dashed after it, but it settled in the caragana hedge and he never did catch it again.  I tried to impress on him our “NO BIRDS” rule; I doubt it sank in.  To him a bird is a toy and that’s that.

Anyway, now I could say that I prevented a murder today. :)

I wrote a story once about a little elephant that finds a child and sort of befriends it.  Later he sees his child friend asleep and a huge snake is about to swallow the child, so the elephant intervenes: he stomps the snake flat.

“No, no, no!” said my writing school instructor.  “You can never have your main character commit a murder!”

“But it’s a snake!”  No dice.  I had to cut out all the violence.  He could chase the snake away, but not stomp on it.

I had figured that a child reader would identify with the little elephant, but I hadn’t considered that a snake would be seen as an animal, too.  In my books, a snake is a snake.  Life gets complex in the world of children’s literature.

Back to today:  After my daring rescue, my husband and I went for a drive just for anyhow.  No signs of green grass in the ditches yet and ice patches still cover a lot of ponds, but we saw small flocks of Canada geese heading north.  And we have this flock of juncos hopping around our yard.  One less would never be noticed, right?

4 thoughts on “I Witnessed a ‘Mugging’ Today…

    • Yeah. In your post they look so sweet & innocent. We have kestrels (sparrow hawks) in the trees beside us and I like them, too. Such pretty birds, but a friend watched one kill a robin one day. In one sense this world is broken beyond repair; I’m looking forward to the new one God promises in Revelations, where there will be NO deaths.

      As to the snake: I read a news account from Africa about a snake half swallowing a sleeping child before the village folk realized and came to the child’s rescue. I guess it wasn’t poisonous, because they killed it and the child was saved. That’s what gave me my idea, but I guess it won’t work; the editor said small children would have nightmares if I had a snake menace a child in a book. (They’d better not be watching cartoons then!)

      We also read where abandoned “pet store” snakes (pythons?) were wreaking havoc with the native wildlife in the Florida Everglades. You’d think after the woes resulting from importing sparrows and starlings from England we’d have learned our lesson about invasive foreign critters.

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