So that’s the secret of the fox’s cunning – they hide out of sight and study us!  Thoreau has dozens of these tiny observations about animals.

See also Mervyn Peake’s foxy simile.

‘Farmer said yesterday that he thought foxes did not live so much in the depth of the woods as on open hillsides, where they lay out and overlooked the operations of men, – studied their ways, – which made them so cunning.’  28 June 1860


Source: Henry David Thoreau, The Journal 1837-1861, Damion Searls (ed.), preface by John R. Stilgoe (New York: New York Review Books, 2009), p. 622

Photo credit: Sunyu at


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