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30 The Hunt

hexagram-30-hunt‘IF THE TROPHY hunter fails to close with an animal that satisfies his strict criteria,
he may never fire a shot all season, except, in the final weeks, for meat.’

The raffle prize? The chance to name and shoot a lion. He’s licensed to
take three and ship their heads back home. An English-speaking bearer
comes with the package. Each has a multi-magazine rifle. Well-behaved
children are welcome. Before the kill he frames a silent prayer, for his
great-aunt’s benevolence and his lovely ten-year-old daughter’s aptitude.

1st – The Hunt for Wild Dogs
When wild dogs abounded, deer were seldom seen. River scrub was
alive with songbirds. Now it’s tall and green again, the birds are back in
paradise, hoisting their filigree of brags and warnings. These dogs are the
finer adversaries: deer carcasses make huntsmen feel like pest controllers.

2nd – The Huntsman’s Letter
‘The rich soil holds scent well, the quickset hedges offer no barrier to the
competent, and there’s a heavenly absence of wire, barbed or otherwise.’
Next for his mother he describes his inaugural morning. An account of a
good run, by one who can both ride and write, makes charming reading.

3rd – The Huntsman’s Chariot
A maharaja has customised his Rolls-Royce Torpedo for tiger hunting.
Low-geared for stealth, quietly it creeps through the jungle. It has
mounted guns, spotlights for night hunting, and a safe with contingency
rupees for the family of any ground crew killed by a tiger or an elephant.

4th – The Hunting of the Herd
A stripping party at the cliff’s foot waits for the fall – buffalo on buffalo,
lured by the running man with horns. Tongue, brains and liver are eaten at
once by a hungry tribe. Farther east, on the plains, horse-mounted hunters
ride alongside, shooting arrows, markers of ownership and prowess.

5th – The Man Hunt
It would be worth it even for a tithe of your haul: an escape app, with
GPS, pinpointing reliable rooftop leaps, the pipes used by frogs to cross
motorways, monasteries that ask no questions. Cut your own hair; or
stare at the barber till he looks away. Crawl. Let your accent pick up burrs.

6th – The Hunting Horn
An amateur whip, expected to hunt with mink hounds, finds blowing the
horn a tribulation. Some days he elicits a sound; other days he could cry.
The solution? The kiss of life for the embouchure. Keep a horn in the car:
practise in a traffic jam or at the lights. Avoid ornamental horns on eBay.

All six – The Hunt to Extinction
Shaggy hunters deride the animal extinction public apology initiative;
smooth townies conserve their prowess in a regulated wilderness. The
spearhead species will be the great auk, plucked of its feathers and left to
nature’s will; or the quagga, beautiful zebra forequarters fading to horse.

Introduction to Six-Way Mirror | The Index of Hexagrams and Cantos


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