I’m trying something new for the blog–snippets. Today’s post is an excerpt from The Heavenly Fox (PS Publishing 2011). To frame this bit, the fox vixen Springshadow has successfully brewed and and imbibed (how often do I get to use that word?) the Golden Elixir of Immortality, and now she’s awaiting the results with her friend, a Taoist immortal named Wildeye and the goddess/bodhisattva Kuan Yin who showed up unannounced for reasons of her own:
Springshadow stood up. Her form was somewhere between fully human and fully vulpine; a transitional form that gave her human hands and other aspects of humans that were useful, without fully surrendering her fox senses, and she’d used it often. Only now there seemed to be more to it. Several “mores,” actually.
“My tail feels funny.”
“Say rather your tails, girl,” Wildeye said, and started counting.
“You’re a Heavenly Fox now, Springshadow. Look up,” said the goddess.
Springshadow looked up. There, in the distant sky far beyond the clouds, far beyond the mortal world yet clearly visible, clearly reachable, was a magnificent floating city with towers of gold and walls of the finest jade.
Wildeye gave a grunt of triumph as he finished his count. “Nine! And each as magnificent as the last.”
“What are you babbling about? Nine what?” Springshadow said, unable for the moment to take her eyes off of Heaven and the floating city.
“Tails, of course,” he said. “Yours.”
That finally got Springshadow’s attention. She quickly glanced behind her like a courtesan checking her appearance. It took her a moment to understand what she was seeing, but she finally saw what Wildeye saw–fox tails.
Nine in all, and all, as Wildeye said, belonging to her. Attached.
“Nine.” Wildeye nodded in grudging respect. “You have to admit,” he said, turning to the goddess, “that’s pretty damn impressive.”
Richard, this is so very wonderful–hilarious and extremely fabulous metaphor for how our vanities our wishes to be “immortal” are all tied up together–possibly with fox tails. I am put in mind of that story where a farmer tied foxes’ tails together and set them on fire and sent them running–where and into what I cannot remember right now.