A noblewoman of some renown liked to stroke the animals of the court and countryside. Cats and dogs; cows and horses; sheep and goats; the King’s crows and the Queen’s swans; the noblewoman petted them all, and took great delight in doing so.
One spring, a hedgehog took up residence in the bushes of her garden. Each night, she put out food for the creature, and over the long months of summer she slowly gained its favour. One night, she sat in the garden in her nightgown, the bowl of food in her lap. The hedgehog climbed up onto her, and while it ate, she reached down, and gently, ever so gently, stroked the hedgehog’s back.
Over the coming days, many asked her to describe how it felt to stroke a hedgehog, but she could not find the words to describe the sensation, and so she stayed silent, no matter the clamour they made for her to impart her wisdom.
Before autumn turned to winter, the noblewoman went mad and died, and her knowledge was lost to the world.
1. Written April 1st, 2019
2. Part of my ongoing “To…” series
3. All of which utilise the same ending formulation
4. The series began with To Follow A Cat
5. And includes To Lose Your Faith, To Follow A Child, and To Ponder Infinity
6. But, confusingly, not To Be Kept Safe