An undertow of this animal life-loving adventure is hunger.  We must be one of the few species having a significant segment of its global population not living with hunger as a daily driving urge. ‘Food chain’ takes on new meaning as Williamson portrays the cascade of species eating other species, up close and painfully personal.

For another angle on this animal hunger, see his description of ‘eat-water’. And for heart-rending comments on human hunger, see Nikos Kazantzakis and Vasily Grossman.

‘Running along the bank of a ditch beside the path, the fitches had met at the mouth of a drainpipe, out of which strayed a hunger-making smell.’


Source: Henry Williamson, Tarka the Otter: His joyful water-life and death in the two rivers, illus. C.F. Tunnicliffe (Harmondsworth: Puffin Books, 1976 (1927)), p. 57


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