Rinkin of Dragon Forest
Some of you may remember when I had a blog. It wasn't a very good blog, or even updated more then once a month, but it was still a blog I could call my own. Who can forget the time I revealed that a TV series about the The Land Before Time movies was being made, or the time I somehow made everything italics and couldn't fix it? Good times.
One post you may not remember is my musings about the book Rinkin in Dragon Forest. What happened was that I was in the woods at my family's camp and was really bored. We couldn't go outside due to inclement weather and we couldn't watch TV due to my grandmother's belief that it steals your soul. For some unknown reason no periodical made past 1998 can be brought to the cabin, so I was left with the choices of reading a decade old Reader's Digest or looking for something interesting in the Mystery Shelf.
The Mystery Shelf is a mystery because nobody knows what is on it. This is because the Mystery Shelf is positions between the end of a coach and a door that is always open. If the door was closed then you could easily get to that side of the mystery shelf, but closing the door would make it difficult for us to get into the other room because then we would have to turn the doorknob. We would rather save three seconds by not turning the doorknob then see what is on the Mystery Shelf. I broke all the rules by closing the door just enough to gain access.
It is here I found Rinkin in Dragon Forest, a book about a fox named Rinkin and a magical land called Dragon Forest. I read the first chapter, lost interest, and moved on to heavy drinking to pass the time. After sobering up I began to wonder if the dragon was a metaphor for man's destruction, like they think a dragon is tearing apart the forest but it is really urban development, or if it was an actual dragon. On the one hand books starring animals usually have an environmental message and there isn't much a fox could do to not get killed by a dragon, but on the other hand it would be pretty sweet if it were an actual dragon.
Well my friends our questions will soon be answered for I am going to read Rinkin in Dragon Forest in its entirety and you're coming along for the ride. It will be an awe inspiring adventure full of talking animals and pootang.
I wanted to through this out first so that everybody will know before we start what things mean. People from England always have to include these kind of glossaries when they send books overseas because nobody knows what half the words the English use actually mean. The English even have trouble because they have about a million different regional dialects. They aren't even really dialects as much as entirely different languages. If you travel more then a hundred miles in England you won't know what anybody is saying.
1. Underground Nursery
The story begins with Fyn, a fox, walking down her path. I don't know why it is her path, as opposed to somebody else's path, but the book says that it is hers. It must be a shitty way to hunt since she is seen by a mouse who yells a warning to all the other mice and the rabbits who are hanging out nearby. Fyn needs to start walking down a path where she won't be seen as quickly. Fyn then finds a dead bird on the path. She doesn't know were it came from but assumes Faws, her mate, left it for her. I'm also going to go out on a limb and assume Faws is dead but his ghost lives on and brings them food. At this point I am not sure if he does this metaphorically or if he is some sort of ghost. I guess he could also be alive and just doesn't like to hang around the den.
I'd like to point out that my description of that portion of the chapter is longer then the actual text. I should just type out the actual book. It would be a more efficient way for you to follow along with my adventures in reading.
Anywho, the focus shifts away from Faws to her den where her cubs are waiting for some food. There is Ranty, Firk, Flexy, and Rinkin. Foxes have fucked up names. I guess we can't have Steve the fox. Nope it has to be Flexy or Firk or Moorkindymoorkamoo. According to the characterization Rany and Firk are never apart.
That's kind of odd guys. Somebody needs to tell these foxes that sort of behavior is not appropriate among family members. Otherwise we're going to end up with a bunch of inbred foxes in the woods and that will do nothing to help the struggling fur industry.
We also learn that Flexy has a character trait. She is totally into fairy foxes which are like normal foxes but "with fur as white as the moon." I also assume they have some sort of fairy magic. This establishes Flexy as that one weird girl who lived down the hall from you in college who was either slightly overweight or way to skinny that wore black rimmed glasses and was into fairy's so much that it was kind of creepy. She would have those posters you can get at Walmart with naked fairies on them and she always wore Tinkerbell shirts with snarky slogans like "Full of Attitude" or "Don't mess with me" and Tinkerbell would be looking angry. Then one day the girl shows you her fairy tattoo on her ass and its really awkward and you have to avoid her by not showing up to hall meetings. Flexy is totally that girl.
Then there is Rinkin who is just Rinkin. He doesn't get a defining trait yet because the story is going to be following him and he can develop various traits while on his adventures. He thinks he sees his mother coming into the den but it turns out to be Crawly Whopper, a beetle that tells the cubs stories. According to the book life in the den would be unbearable without Crawly Whopper's stories but that doesn't keep them from threatening to eat him. Foxes eat beetles apparently. Learn something new everyday I guess.
Rinkin is bored and decides to leave the den and go hunting. Then he gets scared off by the wind because he never encountered the wind and thinks it's the dragon hurrying by on his road. They describe the dragon as having a road so maybe it's really a car or something. The mystery thickens.
2. In Dragon's Wood
The cubs grow older and are allowed to play outside. Then they want to learn to hunt, but get denied. Then one day their mother let's them come along. The first thing Rinkin does is fuck up and hurl himself into Flexy who unexpectedly stopped to "nip a flea."
Fyn needs to simmer down. If she destroys Rinkin's self esteem he'll never become the cocky kind of fox that steals chickens from chicken coops and stars in fables.
While on the hunt they come to the end of Dragon's Woods and see the dragon's tracks. Then they go the other direction because they aren't about to follow a dragon. That would be absoludicrous.
I think this would be a good time to tell you that I have added the word absoludicrous to my computers dictionary, so that it doesn't come up as a misspelled word. I think it is insane that some people do not recognize a random word Mr. T made up as a real world. That my friend is truly absoludicrous.
Back to the story. Rinkin and the crew have come upon a badger trail and then a crab apple tree that tells them everything is "All clear" but Fyn doesn't listen because she knows the tree is a liar. I have no idea why this particular tree can talk or why it is such a dick. Then they come upon a Porpin the hedgehog.
Fyn hails Porpin and calls her the wisest of all hedgehogs. Porpin berates Fyn for spying on her, comments on how she found a nice stump with better benefits then surrounding stumps and then goes off swearing. Really she just starts swearing. The book describes it as "muttering words not fit for the years of any woodland animal" which I take as her cussing like a sailor. Overall it was an odd encounter that doesn't seem to really develop the story. I don't know, maybe Porpin plays an important role later on.
I am writing this after finishing the story. Porpin does not play an important role later on. Just thought you would like to know. Actually that's a lie. I know you don't care at all.
Then Fyn has a very brief conversation with a badger about how they are rivals but not enemies. The badger is kind of a jerk. Then Fyn introduces the cubs to Howgy, a Spanish chestnut tree and master of the area. So yeah, not only do we have talking trees but now the trees are land owners. This shit would never fly in America. If a tree tried to take control of an area we would have beavers tearing him apart faster then you can say coniferous.
Rinkin stares at the tree then remembers starring is rude so he puts his head down. Then he wanders away and finds a place where badgers use to live. Randy and Firk join him and they discover that it is full of bones and stuff that a badger would not leave in his den so it must be occupied by other foxes. Foxes are messy and just leave their trash on the floor instead of throwing it away. Then the foxes remember that they are supposed to be with their mother hanging out with a tree so they return. I guess at this point the author, Thora Colson, wanted to get the chapter done because they are all of a sudden at home paying communion to the trees while watching the sunset. Then they all go to bed although technically foxes don't use beds, they just sort of sleep on the ground.
3. Learning to Hunt
This is the next night I guess. Or maybe it's the same night because I was under the impression that the last chapter took place during the day. The foxes could have just slept for a few hours before going out to learn to hunt. You might have noticed that last chapter they didn't actually learn to hunt as much as they just went around talking to animals and trees that they don't eat. That's because that chapter wasn't called learning to hunt. This chapter is, so it is not far fetched to assume some hunting will be learned.
Rinkin has an epiphany that "adventure would ever be with now, hovering before him like a witch-ball between the trees, tempting him on." I'm glad about that. If Flexy was the one always being tempted by adventure and Rinkin was the one who played it safe then this would be a boring book.
Fyn takes the cubs to get some water. Then she digs up some food she had buried. I guess foxes bury food. Kind of like how pirates buried treasure. From now on I'm referring to foxes as the pirates of the woods. Luckily their aren't any actual pirates in the woods so nobody will get confused and think I'm referring to blood thirsty scoundrels when I tell them I saw some pirates of the woods running across the highway.
Fyn gets in a fight with something at one point. I don't know what because the book doesn't say. It does mention wings so I guess it was a bat or something. Maybe it was some sort of flightless bird like an emu. Rinkin is itching to fight something himself and we are told his desire will soon be satisfied. Ooo I love foreshadowing.
Rinkin never really gets in a fight with a bird. I guess Thora Colson forgot about the foreshadowing she introduced in this chapter.
There's a little episode about a holly tree and it hissing but I don't know what's up with that. Then the little pirates try to catch mice in the roots of the tree. Rinkin almost gets one but his mouse is snatched by an owl.
I guess that's just sour mice.
Rinkin does not actually fight the owl so I guess that foreshadowing applies to something else. Then the foxes try to go home but the cubs are too tired and they go to sleep in a corn field. Fyn berates them all for not being able to get home before morning. No wonder Faws isn't around anymore, Fyn is such a nagger.
4. Meeting at Full Moon
I guess they live in the corn field now. The book says there is no rest for Fyn because the corn is a pretty lame place to live. Well it didn't say it like that but that's my summery. I got the distinct impression they were not living in a corn field earlier so I don't know why they moved. Foxes are just like that I guess.
There's another episode with a talking tree saying nonsense. Ranty interprets this as the tree saying they are looking good even though that is clearly not what the tree is saying. Ranty just has low self esteem and is searching for compliments. Meanwhile Flexy is looking at some mosquitoes and not paying any attention to their mother's hunting lessons. Jesus Flexy get your A-game on girl. There's animals that need to be killed!
Fyn tells the cubs to go play but be ready cause later they will be going near the dragon. Good, about time we got some wild dragon action up in this forest. By the way "Wild Dragon Action" is the name of the third album by my heavy metal band.
The other foxes go off and do the boring shit that secondary characters do while Rinkin runs into some rabbits. At first they are scared because he is a fox but then they realize he is a baby and one starts bad mouthing him, accusing Rinkin of being scared of dragons. Like that fucking rabbit isn't scared of dragons. Rinkin tries to kill a baby bunny only to be fooled. Rinkin thought he had the rabbit trapped because it went down a hole, but it came up a different hole, making Rinkin look like a fool. Rinkin vows revenge and then leaves.
The foxes get ready to go for the dragon. By the way "Go for the Dragon" is the first single from the album "Wild Dragon Action." The video is awesome, its just two computer generated dragons fucking. The video was made with really bad computers from the 80s so the dragons look like a cross between the video "Money for Nothing" by Dire Straights and King's Quest 3. Towards the end of the video the male dragon starts shimmering gold and a ejaculates hot lava which flows down from the sky and destroys the white house. A cartoon Bush, who is comically drawn to look like he is dumb, floats to the top of the molten stream while holding two money bags. Then as the video ends he says "I said blood for oil, not blood for LAVA!" Then it cuts to me and I say "Hey, what did you expect for 23 dollars." It's really sweet.
But yeah, the foxes. They meet some frogs. A husband and wife team. The husband can only say "go quicker" probably because of Alzheimer's. The wife says the dragon has killed a lot of frogs who tried to cross his path. Damn straight. That's why you don't cross paths with a dragon. Dragons will fuck your shit up.
Then they go see the dragon. It clearly is not a real dragon. Its looks like it is really a car. Fuck. I was hoping it would be way better. At least a bunch of guy's on bulldozers or something. Instead it's just a road in the woods, and apparently not even a road that's used very often since everybody busts a nut when a car drives by and starts making up myths. Of course they don't go out and directly say it's a car, but it's pretty heavily implied, especially when the dragon is described so that it is exactly like a car. Man, once, just once, can't there be a dragon? Why is man always the villain in these books? We just like to cut down trees and live in homes. Is that all that bad? Dragons are way more evil then man. Has a man ever breathed acid on some punk for trying to steal his treasure? Probably not! Dragons do that shit all the time.
Well the foxes are freaked by the dragon and decide to go home. On the way they hear some rabbits giving the warning yell and running. To the confusion of the foxes they realize the rabbits are running at them. Turns out they are being chased by none other then Faws, Fyn's mate who I mention earlier. I guess he isn't a ghost, he is just absent from his children's lives. Maybe Fyn left him because he beat her or masturbated on her face while she slept, that really pisses off the ladies. Um, not that I know from experience or something. That would be weird and creepy. Faws was the one chasing the rabbits. Chasing them like a mother fucker if you ask me. Faws briefly looks over his kids. Then he and Fyn go off in the woods, probably to fuck. The cubs just have to sit on the path and wait for their parents to finish having sex. Kind of reminds me of my childhood trip to Pictured Rocks. That's the end of the chapter.
One day Rinkin is hanging out by his house/corn field when he finds some bunnies. He pounces on one and the rabbit yells out "But we're neighbors" and Rinkin replies by saying "Oh" and running off. He then comes to the conclusion that neighbors don't eat each other. Those rabbits tricked him again. Of course neighbors eat each other. That's why nobody lives next to wolverines. Those assholes will eat you all day and night. That last sentence really makes no sense but I think I'll just leave it there. Yep, that appears to be what's going to happen.
Then a stoat (I think that's British for badger (Actually it isn't. Badger is British for badger)) tells Rinkin about where a man walks in the evening but then says it is no place for a baby fox. Rinkin wants to prove how brave he is by ignoring the warning. This was the stoat's intent all along because he is an asshole who wants to kill his neighbor.
Rinkin has to be the dumbest fox ever. Ever other fox is off robbing chicken coops and fooling bears, meanwhile he believes everything everybody says. He's just lucky he isn't at one of those Boy Scout camps where they tell you everybody has to have a sleep over in the counselor's cabin and clothes aren't allowed like I did those few years.
Rinkin gets sidetracked and goes to the wrong place but then a beetle named Nockle sets him on the right direction again. Nockle does this because Rinkin is bothering the beetles and they want him dead. Pretty much everybody in this chapter wants to kill Rinkin, even the man. I don't know what flies over in England but when I see a cute little baby fox I go "awww" and maybe try to take a picture with my cell phone. This guy flips out like he is some sort of fox hating ninja.
Rinkin is running and the man is chasing him. Then Rinkin realizes he can't run home because then the man would know where his family is. Instead he runs to that one abandoned fox den from earlier in the book. You remember it right? It was like chapter 2 I think. Well Rinkin runs there and thinks he's safe. But is he really safe? Find out in the next chapter, The Moodiwarts.
6. The Moodiwarts
I've had warts before but they tend to be pretty laid back. Not much bothers them.
Well Rinkin thinks he is safe, but continuing with the trend of Rinkin being wrong it turns out he is not safe. The human shuts off the exit. Rinkin panics for a little while but then remembers his mother's advice.
So he is chilling, smartening up his coat, when a good idea doesn't show up but something else entirety. It's the Moodiwarts, a family of moles. They dig their way into the den. Then they smell smoke and decide to hightail it out of that joint. Rinkin suspects they actually smell him, but is aware that men smoke out animals, so he decides to follow them as they dig their way out. As the Moodiwarts dig their way out Rinkin follows through the tunnel. The book describes the mole's buttocks being at the tip of Rinkin's muzzle, which gave me a laugh.
Rinkin is on his way to safesville when Mrs. Moodiwart realizes she smelt a fox not fire. It is not any more reassuring for her since foxes tend to eat moles. So she keeps going with Rinkin's face right up their butts. Then the moles are able to outpace Rinkin and the tunnel closes, trapping him. Rinkin is in big trouble, but lucky for him the Moodiwarts return to find one of their kids they left behind. Kind of reminds me of the time my parents left me at Six Flags over Atlanta. Of course they never came back to get me and I had to hitch hike home.
I thought maybe Rinkin would help save the kid, proving that animals can unite together to help each other out, or something along those lines. He doesn't. In fact he ends up nipping Mrs. Moodiwart on the butt in order to get her to dig a wider hole. I can't really blame Rinkin though. I wouldn't be feeling charitable either if three different people tried to get me killed in one day. When the nicest person you've met only fools and humiliates you, rather then tries to murder you, then it is a bad day.
Rinkin goes home and his mom gives him a stern stare down, but she is also relieved he is alive, unlike my mother who was sad I got back from Six Flags.
7. The River Bank
Rinkin and his brothers and sisters are now too old to hunt with their mother. If they try to she cuffs them. Cuff means she kind of smacks them with her paw. It is not some sort of gay buttsex thing, no matter what Scoutmaster Jenkins tells me.
On his own Rinkin heads down to the river. There he sees a stoat in a trap. He thinks about how he can profit from this another stoat with some kids comes by. "An everyday occurrence" she mutters before leaving. This makes Rinkin not want to eat the trapped stoat so he doesn't. Well wasn't that entire episode fucking fascinating. The fox was going to eat a dead thing and then he didn't. Give this book the Newberry.
I'm sorry for that outburst. I just think I'm angry about all the time I've dedicated to this article. I could have written about 40 shitty little articles that are basically lists with comments in the amount of time it's taken me to get to chapter 7. I have 8 more chapters of this shit, plus I already know how lame the dragon is, so it's not like I've got any kind of motivation anymore.
Anyways, Rinkin thinks people are watching him by the river, and it turns out there are some swans and a snail hanging out nearby. The snail wants Rinkin to eat him, here is his reasoning "Was it not better to be eaten then ignored?" That snail is a retard. Rinkin eats him.
Rinkin then meets a vole who is swimming in the river. I was not aware that voles swam. Maybe what the English call a vole we call a muskrat, or fish. This vole is offering to show his home to people. Rinkin takes up this offer, rather then eating the vole, which is what I assume most foxes would do. Word must have gotten around that you pretty much have to beg Rinkin to eat you before he is a threat. Rinkin informs the vole that he is too large to go into the vole's house. The vole is all like "No shit" and instead shows his home to a waterbeetle. Rinkin listens from the entrance and it sounds like the vole has a kickass pad.
The vole wants to show his place off to more people and yells out his offer. Keb the rat appears and says he wants to see the vole's house. This is all a ruse. Keb the rat is an asshole who wants to eat the vole. The vole knows this and runs into his house to get away. Keb follows him since vole's homes don't have doors and as a result no way to keep out unwanted visitors. Lucky for the vole the home has a back exit and he gets away.
Rinkin finds the vole and offers to get revenge. The vole doubts Rinkin has the cojones to take out Keb the rat, saying "His cunning is a twisty as the wynds of the burrow…first you must find the wherewithal to match it." Translated into American he is saying that the rat is too smart for Rinkin. Considering how often Rinkin got outsmarted in the last chapter I would say this is a pretty accurate statement. Rinkin resolves that he will get some cunning twisty wynds and then kill that rat motherfucker.
8. The Flood
I didn't mention it last chapter but Keb predicted a drought was coming. Apparently I should have mentioned it since it appears that it is an important plot point as that prediction is mentioned in the first sentence of this chapter. I should probably go back and put it in, but I am talking about it now so this should be fine.
There is drought. According to the book it's so bad that some young animals don't know what rain is. Everybody decides to hang at the river since it is the only source for water. Rinkin comes at night and scares all the prey animals away. This makes him feel like the king of the river. Rinkin is a dick. Then he remembers that he never quite got rid of the rats in the vole's house and he feels like a loser. Also I guess there are multiple rats in that place now. Last chapter it was just Keb, but now it clearly says "rats" which is plural.
Rinkin finds a "hoof of a man" which I assume is English for foot. Some bloke got his foot cut off by the queen's guard and it was chucked in the woods where it was found by Rinkin. He decides to use it to fool the rats.
He puts it by the entrance of the home, and then covers his own sent with garlic and Axe Body Spray. He then has a mouse lure the rats above ground. The rats are wary because they think a human, or at least a human's foot, is near their home. Then Rinkin ambushes them or something. I think he gets in a fight with the rats but it's sort of hard to figure out because Thora Colson isn't good at writing action sequences and there is a shrew and some bulrushes yelling shit at them. Rinkin actually gets pissed at the shrew and throws him into the river. That was a pretty sweet thing to do.
I guess he beats up a female rat for awhile. Then trees start flipping out about their being rain a coming. Rinkin knows that Keb will be coming back soon because no rat wants to be out in the rain and sure enough he sees Keb swimming towards his home. This puts Rinkin in a bad spot. He can fight off one rat, but as soon as Keb gets home it will be a two on one handicap tag match. Rinkin is unsure that he can take out two rats. Then Rinkin sees a great big flood of water sweeping towards all of them.
This saves Rinkin. The water washes the rats out of the burrow. Rinkin gets swept away as well but luckily he gets stuck up against a willow tree. He even manages to eat some of the half drown rats. The chapter ends with a happy homecoming of the voles. Please note that although Rinkin tried very hard, he did not save the vole's home. That was done entirely by nature in the form of the flood. Rinkin's involvement had no effect on the vole's getting their house back. Rinkin is a really lame main character. Maybe the book should have focused on Flexy.