An old poachin' tale for gullible townies.

Started by Gyppo, December 30, 2022, 08:05:19 PM

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Been doing the annual tidy of really old files and found this from way-way back.  When I was a teenager an old boy in a New Forest pub told me this, and I've passed it on a few times over the years since.  So many years that now I'm the old boy ;-)



'Candling' Rabbits.

Most people have at least a theoretical knowledge of using a ferret to 'bolt' rabbits from their burrows, driving them into purse nets pegged over the holes. This can be a very practical - and profitable - way of controlling a pest and getting several good meals.

But some people don't like handling ferrets, seeing them as nasty, smelly, vicous brutes. They needn't be, but that's a different issue. What I can tell you is that many a gullible 'townie' has listened to the following with every appearance of belief.

"Well, Boy, if thee want's a more gentler way of 'arvesting they conies (old rural name for rabbits) get yourself a tortoise and a short candle. One of they night light things is ideal. Baint no use using a torch though, it needs that little flame to do the trick proper like.

"Fit the candle onto the tortoise's back - I can sell thee a nice little custom made 'arness to hold it steady - light the candle, and put the tortoise gently into the rabbit warren .

"But thee must be patient then, patient as an 'eron waiting to catch a fish, and very still, and very quiet, so thee can hear the scuff of the rabbit's claws as 'e moves around. What's goin' on underground is this...

"The rabbit can smell the flame and smoke - which is why a torch is no good - and it makes 'im restless like, and when the tortoise gets near enough Mr Bunny starts moving away from the smell/flame. But 'e don't panic like 'e would with a big fire underground. Oh no, 'ee just backs off slow-like and if thee listens, careful-like, tis simple to figure which hole 'e be likely to pop out from.

"'Cept 'e don't exactly pop! The secret is 'e comes out arse end first and can't see thee until it's too late, so it's either let 'un go if the beggar's too small, or knock 'im and pop 'im in the sack for supper.

"Then all thee 'as to do is wait 'alf an 'our or so for the tortoise to follow 'im out, check the candle for life, and send 'im down another 'ole.

"Tis the most relaxin' form of 'untin' I've ever known. Let me know how thee gets on wi' it. And if thee want I can sell thee a young rabbitin' tortoise, specially bred for the job, a real steady worker."