“So, are foxes evil?”
I finally had the courage to ask Ling the question right in the face. We were at the school canteen, deep in the midst of History worksheets.
Ling raised her eyebrow. “Why do you ask?”
“Curious,” I said, dreading the reply. I pretended to stare at my answer on the worksheet, hastily scribbled, with doodles along the blank margins of the paper. Today I drew paw prints.
For a moment, she didn’t answer, only nibbling at the end of her pen. Then she placed it down and rested her chin on her hand. “Not all foxes are that evil. You know, the same goes with you wolves. We have our good people and those who choose to walk the dark paths.”
“Yes. Stereotypes. Foxes are always seen as cunning or evil. Chinese foxes have bad press. Sucking chi out of men? Oh puh-lease.”
“And pretty fox spirits praying on men.”
“You know what Miss Haslin said in class yesterday. Misogynists portrayed us as evil and they were mostly men.”
I chuckled. “Miss Haslin is awesome.”
“She is. And back to our subject. Can’t be helped if young vixens leave their family groups for a while to find their place in the wild. So, bam! evil pretty maidens. Can’t help it too if we were known to be solitary predators catching men unawares.”
“What makes the Hu different now?”
Ling grinned, a flash of fox teeth. “I would ask the same for you Lang types.”
“We are,” I grabbed a sip from the can of juice. Our school had banned soft drinks. “We are in between man and animal. Not really man. Not really animal. Our packs keep us safe, protected.”
Ling nodded. “Family. It keeps us safe from the evil humans.”
I had to laugh. “Now, now, let’s not stereotype them.”
Another flash of fox teeth, a glimmer of amber humor. “We shouldn’t. Now, help me with this: “Why did Nazi Germany lose the war?””