Red Squirrell
Red Squirrel

Beatrix would have recognised him straight away, of course. Rather that go all the way to Owl Island, he popped in to see if Jackie had refilled the peanut dispenser. It would seem that the fact that peanuts are not nuts at all, doesn’t trouble him in the least. That we serve them without their shells, thus saving him time and effort, is probably a plus in our favour.

Squirrels seem to spend a great deal of their time travelling. Long before Nutkin sailed over to Owl Island on a raft, his Scandinavian cousin was busy running up and down Yggdrasil, the tree of life. At the top of this Ash Tree (or Yew, depending on who you choose to believe) sat an eagle and down at the bottom of the tree, beneath one of its roots, lived a dragon. The dragon, possibly called Nidhogg, was eating the roots of the tree from underneath. It was doing this, possibly because it was imprisoned by the roots or possibly not. Ratatoskr, the squirrel spent his day, scampering up and down the tree trunk, carrying gossip and insults between the dragon and the eagle.

At that time, Scandinavian mythology was in the hands of the minstrels – and minstrels are performers, most of whom would be quite likely to improvise, to match their performance to the mood of their audience. Scandinavian society was built around the warrior, and a disgruntled audience full of warriors could easily be fatal. Today, this leaves us with groups of scholars, happily devoting their lives to produce a unified Scandinavian theology. Out of the stuff the local bard made up as he went along.

Ratatoskr would be delighted!

2 thoughts on “Nutkin

  1. We’ve known they were around because people kept saying “Have you seen the red squirrel, yet?” but this his first visit to our nut feeder. We feel privileged!


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