The humble hedgehog enjoys a less prominent place in modern cultural tales than his woodland friends. But like the Fox, as we go back into ancient folktales from around the world it is portrayed as an animal that is highly intelligent - whether it uses this power for the greater good or simply for selfish reasons can vary. Daniel's two very different Hedgehog designs show the two sides to this clever creature.
In Europe the hedgehog is seen as an industrious, no-nonsense animal with the foresight and discipline to prepare for a long hibernation. Daniel's daytime Hedgehog conveys that bright open helpfulness perfectly. In Eastern Europe, legends have the prickly creature giving sage advice that shaped, or indeed, saved the world. A story from Lithuania and Latvia tells of a miscalculation by the Creator, resulting in Earth being made bigger than Heaven. The handy little hedgehog came along and suggested simply squeezing the Earth a bit to make it fit inside the celestial realm. This not only worked a treat, but also resulted in the hills and mountain ranges which were created by the pressure. Another tale tells of the Hedgehog preventing the Sun from procreating, lest it scorch the earth.
Travel further East and the Hedgehog's wisdom turns more to a knack to beat its rivals, despite its diminutive size. The mask-like eye shading on Daniel's Nocturnal Hedgehog design lend it an air of cheeky cunning. This story from Mongolia best shows a sneaky old Hedgehog, when it competes with a Wolf and a Fox not to eat the blackberries depicted in the DM Collection's Nocturnal Hedgehog's spines but a plum.
Trying to work out who should get to eat the rare treat, the Wolf apparently suggested a kind of reverse drinking contest to see who could get drunk the quickest. (Woodland parties are clearly less wholesome than Beatrix Potter would have us believe!). Despite the Fox and Wolf attesting to being total lightweights, the little Hedgehog was able to convey inebriation simply from all the talk of alcohol. Not to let the smallest beast win so easily, the Fox then insisted on a straight race, with the fastest winning the prized plum. The short legged Hedgehog borrowed a technique from the Wren, and hung onto the Fox's tail shooting across the line only at the very end. The story concludes that the plum was the best ever tasted by a Hedgehog or any other creatures.
Which do you prefer? The Night or Day time Hedgehog design?
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In Greek mythology, Halcyone and Ceyx were lovers who incurred the wrath of the god Zeus by mocking him and his wife. Angered, Zeus killed Ceyx.