A Horse, a Mongoose, and a Cigarette


 

(See previous post for the background.  I have blogged this story before somewhere, but rather than tracking down and repeating the previous version I have decided to retell it.) 

Socks on beachYoung girls on holiday can become rather lazy early in the morning.  Thus it was that quite often I was elected to do the beach exercising of Magic Socks.  On one such occasion I was strolling past the side of the house in the direction of the sea with an eager horse following closely – head just behind my shoulder – when we saw a lone mongoose just ahead of us.  Although we would often catch glimpses of our resident mongooses they were quick to dive out of sight as soon as anyone came near, so I was delighted to get such a good view.  Socks and I stopped in our tracks. 

Mongooses 5 221103To my surprise, instead of fleeing, the mongoose turned to face us and stood up with paws tucked into his chest.  Looking straight at me, he gave an eager chirp.  I was just wondering how I could call the family to view this remarkably unafraid animal when his actions became even more astonishing.  With a few more chirps, he scampered straight towards us! 

Eyes widening, I watched him as, ignoring Socksie, he headed directly for my leg.  Eyes bulging, I watched him as he climbed up my pants and shirt to perch on my shoulder.  Mouth hanging open in utter amazement, I squinted sideways at him sitting there happily. 

Socksie was observing him with far less surprise from the other side – after having got used to a cat companion, and to a tame Mynah bird we had rescued as a chick perching on him from time to time, cheeky small creatures didn’t ruffle him.  

As for the mongoose, he hardly glanced at the horse, but gave me a friendly look.  ‘Chirp!’ he said again, and then reached down into my shirt pocket and lifted out my packet of cigarettes –  it is amazing what they can do with their hand-like little paws.  Deftly, he flipped open the lid, and extracted one.  Then he dropped the box back into the pocket. 

It can well be imagined how stupefied I must have looked by now.  I wondered wildly whether I had suddenly been transported into some Alice-in-Wonderland world.   At this stage, I fully expected him to say casually, ‘Got a light, mate?’ and I was on the verge of groping for my lighter … 

His next action started bringing some sanity into the situation.  He simply munched on the cigarette, with every evidence of enjoyment.

Naturally enough, the morning ride was postponed for some time while the family met my new friend, and while we discovered that he had been abandoned somehow as a young baby, found by our next-door neighbours, and raised by them without our having become aware of it.  

It is surprising that he had become isolated.  Usually mongooses have a designated ‘escort’ for a group of young ones (not necessarily the parent), who will shepherd them and forage for them until they become self-sufficient.   I think his mother must have had something happen to her when he was still too young for any ‘escort’ election to take place. 

At any rate, after that he would come visiting us from time to time, and when the neighbours went on holiday he lodged with us.  What a character he was! Fortunately Coojee and our many other cats and dogs of the time took it all very philosophically.

Here are the latest pictures of some of our present residents:

Mongooses 3 221103Mongooses 2 221103 Mongooses 1 221103Mongooses 4 221103

© Colonialist November 2013 (WordPress)

 

 

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About colonialist

Active septic geranium who plays with words writing fantasy novels and professionally editing, with notes writing classical music, and with riding a mountain bike, horses and dinghies.
This entry was posted in Beach, Cats, Dogs, Horses, Humour, Nature, Personal Journal and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

46 Responses to A Horse, a Mongoose, and a Cigarette

  1. huntmode says:

    Col, everybody above has said what I’d have said. My part – laughed and laughed and laughed! I, too, wish we’d caught you on camera – your expression must have been priceless! Lovely story!

    Like

  2. adeeyoyo says:

    What a wonderful tale, Col. I too was transported by your words and you should have heard me burst into laughter at the cigarette episode!

    Like

  3. gpcox says:

    I think they’re adorable.

    Like

  4. optie says:

    What an awesome encounter Col, thanks for sharing it

    Like

  5. The Asian says:

    I never thought a mongoose would chew on tobacco!

    Like

  6. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Unexpected Visitors | Colonialist's Blog

  7. cupitonians says:

    Blog of the Year 2013 – how does that sound? i just nominated you! http://cupitonians.wordpress.com/2013/11/23/breaking-news/

    Like

  8. What a great story to dine out on, Col. That is something I would have loved to see. Chris and I had such a good laugh. 😀

    Like

  9. footsy2 says:

    I have turned a very unattractive shade of green……

    Like

  10. linda says:

    I love the Mongoose. We where camping at Warm Baths in South Africa in a tent, when we came back from swimming, we found that the Mongoose had been visiting, we found broken eggs, and sugar all over the tent’s floor. It was our fault, we didn’t close the tent. Naughty little rascals, but sooo cute. Love your photos Col.

    Like

  11. All I can think of when I see your troop of furry buddies is – oh you lucky lucky thing!!!

    Like

  12. How big are they when they stand up? They look bigger than I imagined.

    Like

  13. disperser says:

    Smoking hot . . . er . . . cold story.

    (hopefully, you quit smoking since then)

    Like

  14. Blondie says:

    Close encounters with wildlife is just one of the many privileges we get to enjoy, living in Africa. Having said that, however, I’d swap the monkeys (that sneak into my house & raid my kitchen cupboards the second I so much as leave a window ajar) for your meerkats any day!

    Like

  15. Grannymar says:

    Great story, col. Are they the same as meerkats?

    Like

    • colonialist says:

      No, Meerkats (Suricates) are a different and specific type of mongoose, though also noted for living in communities like the Banded Mongoose (Mungos Mungo). Many of the mongoose varieties are actually solitary by nature.

      Like

  16. A heartwarming story and lovely pictures. Thank you for completing the history.

    Like

  17. nrhatch says:

    Love this tale . . . and the accompanying pics! Thanks, Col.

    Like

  18. SuziCate says:

    Socks is a perfect name for the horse. Those mongoose look like tiny bears!

    Like

  19. cupitonians says:

    So exciting. I have expected him to ask for a light as well. That tobacco chewing cutie! Is he still around? What’s his name?

    Like

  20. What a great story. I could only imagine your amazement! What strikes me, though, is that you stood there and allowed him to climb up to your shoulder. You must have wonderful energy about you that animals know they are welcome so close.

    Like

  21. bulldog says:

    Firstly you are so lucky to have that group of banded in your yard… and secondly I’ve heard of the mongoose eating cigarettes before, I do believe it is a good de-worming cure for animals… love that he helped himself and wow I’m not sure I would have been able to keep this story off the blog… beautiful… I do love the Mongoose, squirrels and the like… if one sits quietly enough often enough I’ve found they become quite curious and will really get close to you to investigate…. I’d be sitting in my yard all day waiting for them…

    Like

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