hema’s sphere

a love story..

Posted by hema on July 6, 2007

there is something about this story, i just keep coming back to it..

The story of the red fox by jeanete winterson.

“A hunter loved a princess. Simple as that.

Every morning he brought her the treasures of the forest. He brought her deer and boar. he bought her wolf skin andd buffalo hide. he fought a lion with his bare hands and caught the old black bear that everyone feared. he took nothing for himself. there was nothing he wanted except that she should love him, which she didn’t.

one day, riding with her ladies, the princess saw in front of them a red fox. never was a fox so red. she watched it as it ran, stretching out its legs so that it seemed to be lying flat on the surface of the air. All day the fox stayed with the party and the princess was troubled.

that night the princess looked in the mirror and it seemed that the red fox would be perfect against the white of her skin. she stroked her neck and throat, imagining the feel of fox fur. winter was coming.

when the hunter came to her the next morning, she said, ‘if you love me, bring me the coat of the red fox.’

the hunter said, ‘ask me anything, but not that.’

‘then you do not love me,’ said the princess.

‘i will hunt through the stars and shoot down the lion and the bull, but do not ask me for the red fox’.

the princess was angry and turned away.

after many days and nights, when the snow had begun to fall, light as a promise, the hunter came to the princess and promised to bring her the red fox. he had one condition.

‘say it.’

‘the fox must be bought to you alive’

‘i accpet the condition’

the hunter left the palace and was not seen for three weeks. the weather became colder and the snow was as heavy as sorrow. when the princess looked out she saw only white.

or did she?

on the last morning of the third week the princess looked out from her tower as usual and saw a streak of fire burning the snow. a quick red line made a way through the snow, melting it on either side, as if spring had come. without pause or stop, moving from side to side and leaving no print, the red fox ran through the wastes of the snow until he came to the palace.

the princess herself had begun to run too, down from her high tower, down the winding stairs, and out into the white courtyard, where the fox, panting in red steam, lay down at her feet.

the princess put out her hand, and the fox licked it as she bent down, and her eyes pleaded with her. she touched him and  her white hand was buried in the think warm fur, soft as blood.

then she stod up and signalled to one of her men. her face was clear and cold. she had the servant draw his knife, take the fox by the scruff, and then there was a second, only a second, when she hesitated, and looked for the last time at the brave pleading eyes and the strong head that offered no resistance.

the servant cut the throat out of the fox, and as the blood ran in a warm fountain accross the icy cobbles of the courtyard, the servant staggered and fell under the weight of what he was holding. the fox had gone and the hunter lay dead in the yard. “

make want you will of the story, literature is about bringing your own interpretations to it anyway, right?

for me it just struck me how the wolf loved the princess until the end, no matter how he treated her. people talk about how they love each other but how much of that love is without conditions attached to it?

but i’m also annoyed at the wolf for giving up his life for someone who isn’t worthy of it. yet so many people waste their lives in this way. even when they know it is futile and is making them unhappy, there is somehting about being in love which makes people defy all logic and reason. it’s very curious.

the princess, i’m just sad for. she was so caught up in the beauty of the fox that she didn’t realise it was really the beauty of the hunter all along.

i know why i keep coming back to this story. it’s because it reminds me of so much i see in the world. it reminds me of how destructive love can be and how sad. those of you that now jeanette winterson’s work will know what one of her main themes is love and loss.  i don’t think any of her books actually end in a happy way??

but somewhere in this story i think there is a message of hope as well.  you just have to look quite hard for it..


21 Responses to “a love story..”

  1. Conflictedworld said

    Aww i feel so teary eyed right now. But nobody is a mind reader he could have told her that he is the fox?

    Then again she put the condition on her love and in my opinion love should be unconditional. You should never say if you love me then you would do this for me… Isn’t it not enough that the person loves you for who you are. You should never ask for the extreme. If you love someone regardless your parents, husband, wife brother etc… why have conditions isn’t the mere fact that they are there for you and do the best they can for you enough? Why want more?

    I think the moral of the story is apperciate what you have and not ask for something that may cause you to lose someone you love.

  2. aawwwww thats so sad……

  3. hema said

    CW- but the princess never promised the wolf anything, she never claimed to love him. she didn’t owe him anything..

    JTm- don’t be sad. it’s not a true story 🙂

  4. Saabirah said

    I don’t get it… I must be thick.

  5. Conflictedworld said

    Now im confused.

  6. hema said

    CW-i just personally feel that the hunter knew that the princess didn’t love him and probably never would, but wanted her to be happy even if her happiness meant sacrificing his life. there is something very sad about that, but at the same time very hopeful. i don’t know how to explain it, but i don’t think that type of love exists amongst humans. at the same time there is something very sinister in the fact that he wanted her to see who he really was when it was too late, almost as if he wanted her too suffer for not understanding his love.
    just my take on it, of course everyone’s take is different. we bring our own experiences and baggage to everything that we read, which is why it is always interesting to see what other people have to say about it.

    saabirah- if you are thick, then 99.9% of the people i know are thick, myself included.

  7. carimuslima said

    This is a sad story… I also saw it that way Hema. This is kind of a take on Shakespeare with a twist of Brothers Grimm if you know what I mean. It’s poetic but sinister also. What stood out for me in the story was maybe the message of how we never really know someone completely. Their love is what they show it to be, but in also the fact that we may never really know the person inside out. I hope you know what I mean LOL hehehhe… well that was my take on it LOL. Hugs 😉 By the way love that u joined us finally on wordpress 😉

  8. Snowdrops said

    but somewhere in this story i think there is a message of hope as well. you just have to look quite hard for it..

    perhaps here…

    and then there was a second, only a second, when she hesitated, and looked for the last time at the brave pleading eyes and the strong head that offered no resistance.


  9. Umm Yusuf said

    wow, powerful. Thanks for sharing. I saw it as you can never prove your love to someone who doesn’t love you. If they don’t love you for you, then that’s it. You can’t make anyone no matter how much you try reciprocate your feelings.

  10. Sumera said

    Was she one evil woman! Poor hunter – unrequited love

  11. I don’t understand the story 😦 Maybe its because I haven’t had enough sleep? How did the hunter die? 😦

  12. liya101 said

    Oooh this seems familiar, I think I’ve read it or part of it before. Blinded by love… love is blind.. blind love? … or are those three things the same thing? That’s all I’ll say!

  13. Umm Yusuf said

    Assalaamu Alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu sister Unique,

    He was the fox.

  14. hema said

    cari- i wouldn’t be surprised if this a reworking of a classic tale with a more sinister twist, that’s definitely her style.

    snowdrops- i think that second of hesitiation must exist in even the worst of people and there is lot of hope in that. noone is completley bad.

    umm yusuf.. that’s interesting. it’s almost like.. it’s the hunter’s fault more than anything else for being blindED by love (liya;)
    so sumera- maybe the princess is evil for taking advantage of the situation to get what she wants, but maybe the hunter should just accept that she’ll never love him so stop trying.

    unique- lol get some sleep, you work too hard! i see the fox as being symbolic of the hunter’s inner beauty and strength. the “pleading” eyes show he wants the princess to see this beauty without him having to tell her. or maybe the fox doesn’t actually exist, maybe it’s the potential of what he could be with her love. that’s why he is destroyed at the end, because that beauty will never be recognised by the one person he wants to show it to.

  15. Ymiss said

    hmmm intresting, I see it as the fox showing he would sacrifice his life for her, he learns after trying so hard she won’t ever love him and no amount of dead baffalo is going to change that.So he thinks ‘whats the point in living if I can’t win the love of my princess, I might aswell die for you my dear at least then I can always rest on your shoulders and be admired. You would remember me too’ Telling her he was the fox must have been pretty hard thats why he took 3 weeks.
    In those 3 weeks he was picking the petals of daisy’s asking ‘should I tel her, should I not?’ The last petal always remained on not telling her. If he had been a cunning fox he could’ve rigged it so it wouldn’t fall on that but alas he was blinded by love. So he kept his secret till the bitter end and died by her side.
    The moral of the story dead meat doesn’t win love

  16. Saab said

    OK now that you explained it………. barf.

  17. hema said

    ymiss- ha ha i love it.
    but you know he was a hunter and the dead meat was what he was best at. maybe the moral of the story is that sometimes your best is not good enough:(

    saab(irah) he–y,it’s not sickening. i said this was one of my favourite stories. i read it years ago and just keep going back to find it every now and again (it’s part of another narrative) it’s got lots of moral messages about how to treat people. like, i’ve got this image of the pleading eyes in my head and i think about how you never know what’s soomeone is thinking. you could think you are about to do or say something small, but it could have the biggest impact on them, so much so that they will never recover from it.

    hey, what does eveyone think happened next? do you think she ever wore fox fur again? or maybe she learnt her lesson and never took anything for granted again.
    or, like so many people, maybe she refused to think or talk about it to avoid the guilt she was feeling, instead taking out her anger and frustration on others without even realising what she was doing.
    as you can see, this stroy is not just about the red fox for me:)

  18. Saabirah said

    How did you guess that was me. Sorry, I didn’t mean to knock your favourite story. I guess you’re deeper than me, it must be all that literature you read in uni.

  19. hema said

    how did i figure out it was you??? i guess it must be from all that deep thinking i’m (apparently) doing! you know, you don’t have to use a name, if you want to (continue to) write annonymously just leave the fields blank. i’ve deleted the other comments you told me to delete as well:)

    i know i’m being too touchy about it. after all, it’s “just a story” right? i probably shouldn’t have published it, there was no real reason to. i just typed it up for myself and just ended up publishing it. oh well.

  20. caged_bird said

    Oh so this is the story Saabirah mentioned…..
    I read it and masha’Allah it started off so nice but then he went and killed himself, i mean what is that all about. And get this i didn’t even know the hunter was the fox until you guys started referring to him in your posts. I didn’t get it. Did the hunter turn into the Fox? then who’s this wolf you referring to Hema, is the hunter a wolf aswell?

    Although his love was kind of sweet and she was well just a bit of a cow (comeon she used him!) but there is no way he should have given his life up for her. I mean im up for sacrificing n all that i think its the ultimate, you know very sweet. But hello not when it comes to unrequited love. Rule. You do not give up your life for someone who doesn’t love you. Someone who loves you yes. But not for someone who won’t appreciate or is even worth your sacrifice. Anyway, giving your life up for any one other than Allah is not allowed its plain suicide. So i didn’t find this story sad i found it frustrating. I hope the fox fur strangled her eventually.
    Am i getting to emotional about this?! Hehe….

  21. Digital Glamour

    hey great stuff

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