Tuesday poem: I saw a jolly hunter

We’re presently in Key West, where the local paper, the Key West Citizen, carried a report on Saturday about a hunter in Belarus who was shot by a wounded fox. It seems that the hunter had shot and wounded the fox, but when he approached to finish the kill the fox fought back. And somehow, during the tussle, the fox’s paw pressed down on the gun’s trigger and shot the hunter in the leg.

The hunter’s in hospital with a leg wound. The fox escaped and is, I hope, recovering from its own injuries.

This story may be apocryphal, although it has the ring of possibility about it – and it gives a whole new context to the saying ‘clever like a fox’. It also reminded me of Charles Causley’s wonderful poem, “I saw a jolly hunter”, which I am using here with the kind permission of David Higham Associates.

I Saw A Jolly Hunter

by Charles Causley

I saw a jolly hunter

With a jolly gun

Walking in the country

In the jolly sun.


In the jolly meadow

Sat a jolly hare.

Saw the jolly hunter.

Took jolly care.


Hunter jolly eager –

Sight of jolly prey.

Forgot gun pointing

Wrong jolly way.


Jolly hunter jolly head

Over heels gone.

Jolly old safety catch

Not jolly on.


Bang went the jolly gun.

Hunter jolly dead.

Jolly hare got clean away.

Jolly good, I said.

If you’re reading this on my own website and feel like browsing more poems, do have a look at the Tuesday Poem page, where this week there’s a great New Zealand poem in the lead, with more from other contributors in the side bar.

8 Responses to “Tuesday poem: I saw a jolly hunter”

  1. mary mccallum Says:

    Great story, Belinda! And I like the poem – very Brit.

  2. Elizabeth Welsh Says:

    I have really been enjoying your upbeat jocular posts this year, Belinda! This matching together of the newspaper excerpt and the bouncing rhythm of ‘I saw a jolly hunter’ is marvellous. Hope you are having a fabulous time!

  3. Frances Thomas Says:

    Why is it that so many of us take the fox’s side? We spent one Christmas day picking bits of dead chicken up from the road – but I’m still on the fox’s side.

    And hare coursing – which is still somehow sort of legal, I think – is an outrage. There’s a couple living near us who breed hare coursing dogs – grrrrr!

  4. Jennifer Compton Says:

    this is fun – have read it before but forgotten all about it

  5. admin Says:

    Frances, I think we side with the fox because (a) we’re romantics at heart, (b) we like the odds in a fight to be even, so we naturally side with the underdog, especially one as beautiful as an arctic fox, and (c) we tend towards accepting killing for food but who the hell is going to eat a fox? That said, of course, your compassion for the poor chickens on Christmas day needs some air time too! (I didn’t know hare coursing was still legal in the UK – that’s unconscionable.)

  6. Frances Thomas Says:

    Just looked up hare coursing -it was made illegal in 2005 but still carries on. The intention was the chase, not killing, and apparently the dogs were trained not to kill the hares, but in fact many died in the course of it – apart from it being stressful and cruel. It’s still legal in many countries including Ireland and the USA
    Our killer fox by the way, was a ‘humanely released’ urban fox – these are dumped on us in large numbers, don’t know how to survive, and get shot anyway by irate farmers.

    Do you know Ralph Hodgson’s ‘The Bells of Heaven?’

  7. admin Says:

    I didn’t know ‘The Bells of Heaven’ but I am delighted to meet it. For other blog readers here it is:-

    ‘Twould ring the bells of Heaven
    The wildest peal for years,
    If Parson lost his senses
    And people came to theirs,
    And he and they together
    Knelt down with angry prayers
    For tamed and shabby tigers
    And dancing dogs and bears,
    And wretched, blind, pit ponies,
    And little hunted hares.

  8. The Physiotherapist’s Piano « Homepaddock Says:

    [...] I Saw A J0lly Hunter by Charles Causley. [...]

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