A Woodland Burial

Waliking around with Ollie yesterday, we managed to avoid the rain that had been hammering down all morning, and which started again just as we got home.

I gave him a good walk; twice around Beetley Meadows, then two full circuits of Hoe Rough.

When we got back across the river, Ollie wanted to go into the small woodland area, so I opened the kiissing gate for him and followed. After all the rain, the trees were dripping water, and it felt humid and uncomfortable in there. Ollie had the scent of a deer that has been living in there, so he scampered off, nose to the ground.

When I caught up with him on the small back path, I saw him sniffing something intently. On inspection, I discovered a tiny field mouse, dead in the middle of the path. It appeared to have no injuries, and I guessed it had died very recently, as its colouring was still perfect, it wasn’t wet, and the body still soft as I turned it over with a stick.

It didn’t seem right to leave it on the path, so I dug a small hole at the side with a stick. It didn’t have to be very deep of course, and I flicked in some leaf litter to line the little trench. Then I rolled the dead mouse into it, and laid it to rest by covering it with more leaves, and a few stones.

When I had finished, I looked up and saw Ollie looking at me with a look of complete puzzlement.

But it had seemed to me to be the right thing to do.

78 thoughts on “A Woodland Burial

  1. As I child, my brother and I found a dead butterfly on the road. We buried her in our garden and added a marble head stone for a good measure. We couldn’t carve on it like Harry Potter but I remember bringing her fresh flowers many times. It still feels like the right thing to do.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I wonder how it died? Are you sure Ollie didn’t stamp on it? My niece’s dog waits and watches in the long grass then suddenly lifts both front paws and slams them down on the field mouse. Nice you gave the one you found a decent burial.

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    1. No, Ollie didn’t hurt it. He was just curiously sniffing it.
      I buried it because it was on a well-used path. I suspected someone would stamp on it, or kick it into the shrubs.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Lovely gesture. I felt compelled to intervene when a seagull was attacking a pigeon a couple of days ago. I am not sure if the bird will be OK, but it didn’t seem to be badly injured, and I do hate bullies… I am sure Ollie is convinced you’re a bit peculiar anyway, Pete. 😉

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I agree, Pete. I really hate seeing the corpses of “road kill” just left beside the road, no-one caring. It’s not always possible to stop and there often is no place to bury an animal, but it always makes me sad and I always say a little mantra. Which I realize does no good either, but it’s an acknowledgment at least, I suppose. When we find corpses here, we place them in the woods where other animals can feast on them as I believe that is Nature’s intent.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I killed a deer with my car once. It was in a dangerous spot on a fast road, and I couldn’t do anything about it at the time. I wrote a blog post about it later.

      Mankind 1. Nature 0.


      On one of the comments, I was told I could have phoned 111 and the Police would contact someone to remove the dead animal.
      I didn’t want anything to eat the little mouse, for some reason.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

    1. It felt unkind to have left it there like that once I had stumbled across it. It should probably have been left for food for another animal, but I wanted it to have a quiet resting place.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, David. I wouldn’t mind being buried in the woods at Beetley Meadows. Trouble is, there are so many dog-walkers, I expect someone’s Labrador would dig me up! 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. The ghost of that tiny field mouse is now roaming the woodland, urging its living counterparts to congregate at your house to show their gratitude by swearing multi-generational allegiance to their new feudal lord, Peter the Great.

    Liked by 3 people

            1. No, I am from Central London. Lived there for 60 years, and moved here when I retired. The nearest shop is over 2 miles away, but I drive 4 miles into the nearest town, called Dereham. (Even that is small, just 13,000 people.)

              Liked by 2 people

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