The Girl With the Fox Face
The mountains held many secrets and many creatures within its slumbering body. One such creature was a wily, old fox. This old fox spent her days foraging for berries and grubs, plucking eggs and young animals from under their parents' noses, and lounging about her domain. One day, however, she came upon another one of the mountain's many secrets--an abandoned child.
She approached the small creature with a whimsy in her step and her teeth sheathed for she had a full belly and no need for another meal so soon. As she scooped the miniature being up she quickly found the reason for its abandonment as the tiny creature opened its eyes to reveal two pale moons. The baby was blind.
The old fox took the babe as her own and raised her. Her den had been empty for countless turns and the injection of life was palpable from day one. She taught the youngling all her tips and tricks to survive: which rocks and logs held the tastiest and most nutritious grubs, where one could find hidden nests and burrows, the art of illusion and stealth, and, most importantly, to be wary of those that looked like her.
Her visits were sporadic, but always with a purpose as mother foxes are apt to come and go as they please. Sometimes she would bring food and other times she would simply dote upon the young one. Countless hours would be spent running a careful paw through long, dark hair or traversing the mountainous terrain in search of mischief or fun. The little one often delighted in these visits and came to love them.
The child grew older, as did the fox, and it was upon her ninth birthday that the old fox decided to give her a special gift for nine was an important number for foxes. "Name one thing," said the elder fox to the youngling, "Anything at all and I will grant it." The small soul blinked once...twice... then replied at once, "I want two eyes that can see."
This saddened the aged fox for she could not give this so easily and she bade the youngling go to bed, which she did with tears welling up in her eyes of white darkness. However, as she slept the fox came to her side and with a heavy paw cut her face from herself and lay it over the sleeping cub's.
When she awoke her world was a dazzle of light and color--what had been but phantasmal imagery in her mind was given a corporeal form and the vividness before her was so clear she could taste it. Delighted, she took off down the mountain and came across a group of traders, their backs heavy with sacks of rice, but they drove her away with rocks and stones upon seeing her wild, mishappen appearance. They called her wild, homeless, and a stray... these words meant little to her, but the harshness of their tones conveyed the message quite clearly and she fled.
As she passed a river she looked down and saw what those farmers meant--long and wild hair that reached her knees, bare and calloused feet, and dirt-smudged skin. A small tear welled up in her new eyes...
Torn, she shut her eyes tight and ran back to the den, she ran back home, but the place was empty... cold... and dark. The girl cried into the den desperately, she called for the old fox, but there was no answer. She collapsed onto her knees and remained there until she wasted away and her eyes finally returned to only seeing darkness.
In her sorrow she could not see that her skin was the perfect color for blending in with her surroundings and preventing the moon or sun to give away her position, her hair was healthy and strong and kept her warm when the winds were fierce, and her feet could climb mountainsides and traverse the forest floor with ease.