Tuesday, June 2, 2015
George Washington Outwitted by a Fox, or so Legend Says
While we were at the reenactment at Mount Vernon last month, my daughter did a bit of shopping and found this book to add to her collection of Marguerite Henry books. Henry is most famous for writing children's books about horses, the most famous of which is Misty of Chincoteague which I read aloud to my children when they were little. Based on a true story, Henry recounts the Beebe children who dream of owning their own wild pony of Assateague...Misty. But can they earn enough money to buy her on Pony Penning Day? Can they keep her, or is the call of the wild stronger than their love for her? Utterly charmed, the first summer we moved to Virginia we took our summer vacation to Chincoteague Island which I wrote about here. During our visit I learned that in researching for her book, Henry not only visited the island, but also stayed with the Beebe's and even took Misty home with her. Ah, the secret to charm...research and a gift of words!
Little did we know that we had already visited the site of another Marguerite Henry book, Cinnabar, the One O'Clock Fox. Henry states in the opening pages that this story is based on an old legend...which was another utterly charming story, this time told from the perspective of the clever fox who outsmarted the renown fox himself, George Washington, in many a fox hunt on Mount Vernon property! While writing this book, Henry's research included keeping some foxes at her home to observe their habits and characteristics. Again, the secret to charm...research and a gift of words!
A few days after I read the book, I spied pictures on my facebook newsfeed of a fox running through Mount Vernon (courtesy of the Fred W. Smith National Library for the study of George Washington! When I saw the pictures I wondered if one of Cinnabar's descendents was carrying on the one o'clock tradition.