A Fearsome Critter To Behold: The Fish-Fox
Every angler knows how it feels to set out for a long day of fishing, only to come back empty handed. The wasted time, the lost bait, the disappointment of not landing the big one. But what if you had in your possession, an animal companion that could do the fishing for you? Would you take full advantage of it? Well, if you were a lumberjack in the old days you most certainly would. For in their tales, there was an animal that possessed this very skill, and it was called The Fish-Fox.
Nearly identical to a fox in every way, except for the tail which resembled that of a fish tail, the Fish-Fox was able to manipulate all types of fish into following it. After being fully trained, the critter could be given a command to bring back supper for the camp. Upon hearing its orders, the Fish-Fox would dart headfirst into the closest body of water and proceed to make a noise reminiscent to that of a worm on a hook. The fish in the water would then be drawn to the critter and would follow it closely as it slowly swam back towards shore.
Once there, the Fish-Fox would climb back onto dry land and would lead a trail of jumping, flopping fish out of the water and back towards its owner where they could pick and choose how many they wanted for that nights meal. When they had made their selection, the Fish-Fox would return the remaining fish back to the body of water from where they came and would return to its master to partake in the evening meal.
Along with being incredibly intelligent, Fish-Foxes were also known to be extremely loyal. The bond between the critter and its owner was so strong, that if the Fish-Fox’s master were to die due to an incident involving one of the many other Fearsome Critters that lived in the surrounding woods, it would be so heartbroken that it would eventually grieve itself to death.
While Fish-Foxes were very rare, Lumberjacks always held out hope that they would eventually get one into their camps. Because if a logging camp had a resident Fish-Fox, it meant that everyone would be able to end the day with a full stomach.
“In early lumberjack folklore, fearsome critters were mythical beasts that were said to inhabit the frontier wilderness of North America. The critters were a part of lumberjack downtime and were often used to welcome and haze newcomers to the camp. Lumberjacks who would go from camp to camp would bring their entertaining stories with them and they would slowly spread as tall tales across America.”
-The Pine Barrens Institute
*Image Credit: Public Domain