Friday, September 24, 2010

The Eurasian Red Squirrel

As the majority of my readership is American, you may have though the squirrel from yesterday's update to be more than a little odd.   As half of the imagery in this series is invented, you may have thought it to be a bit of artistic invention or fantasy.   While I agree that there's nothing wrong with an artist taking license by painting a gray squirrel red and adding some devil ears for good measure, I am writing to assure you that this squirrel is very real and indigenous throughout much of Eurasia and, in particular, Poland. Among other things, the Kracow cycle is about the bridge between Poland and and other cultures, with the portrait from acting as a vehicle for this projected fantasy.   A traveler to another country is first struck by all the differences, and I was always particularity interested in the new varieties of small animals in the cites and woods.  The ubiquitous crow, the gray squirrel, both are absent.   Magpies, Jackdaws, Rooks, and this curious little red fellow abound.  Like it's American cousin, the reds are very fond of nuts and can be quite friendly if you have a pocket full of almonds. 

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