Genuine Oaxacan Alebrije
Artisan: Florencio Fuentes
Hometown: San Martin Tilcajete, Oaxaca, Mexico
Craftsmanship: Original Oaxacan Art; Hand Carved from One Piece of Copal Tree Wood; Meticulously Hand Painted; Signed on Bottom by Artisan; Exclusive & Unique; Federico is the Only One in the World
Fun Backstory about Federico:
The wind blew softly across the field, making it a little more bearable under the lone shade tree where Federico lie, one eye shut tightly and the other cracked just enough to remind him that he was still awake. Taking a deep breath, he immediately became alert as his olfactory lobes detected the faintest scent of one his favorite delicacies in the whole world - - chicken! He stretched lazily and then sat up on his haunches, sniffing actively to detect where the birds might be located. Smiling wryly, he began to saunter off to the northeast, his snake like tail dragging behind him. Federico now had a challenge - - find, and get, one of those chickens!
Fortunately, he soon found himself out of the dry field and in some thick foliage that offered at least a little shade from the relentless April sun. He was, he realized with glee, coming ever closer to his quarry and, without realizing it, quickened his pace. Coming to the edge of his cover, he gazed intently at the open field in front of him.
Before him was an adobe hut that housed one of the many poor peasant families in the area; a stone-laid well; a number of little children and, finally!, a dozen or so chickens scratching and occasionally cackling as they roamed freely in the yard. He noted that their “coop” consisted of little more than a roosting pole and several straw filled boxes that served as nests - - two of which were currently occupied by setting hens. Licking his chops he raised his paw as he prepared to circle his prey when he noticed one other thing that gave him pause - - the family had a dog! Crouching down Federico began to size up this natural adversary.
As dogs go, he didn’t look like much - - but he was big! And, apparently, lazy! And probably dumb! Federico continued to lick his chops as he realized he needed a plan before he could dine on one of those choice examples of poultry. A ploy he had learned long ago was to disarm an enemy by making friends with them. Thinking for a moment, he began to meander over to where the dog was. He was, he knew, not proceeding unnoticed.
“Say there, friend,” he began, “might you be able to tell me the way to Xoxocotlan?”
Eyeing Fredrico with what looked like an uninterested stare, the dog rearranged himself from lying on his side to his stomach. Yawning hugely, displaying a well-stocked mouth of teeth, he slowly responded.
“No, can’t say that I can.”
“How about Coyotepec?’
“Well how about Oaxaca City? Can you tell me how to get to Oaxaca City?”
“No, can’t say that I can.”
“You don’t know very much do you,” Federico asked, his frustration putting just a tad bit of sarcasm in his voice.
“Nope - - but at least I ain’t lost,” the dog replied.
Federico sat down and gave the dog a long, hard stare. He couldn’t tell for sure if the dog was toying with him or had simply stated the obvious. Still bent on employing his “friendship” plan, he took a slightly different tact.
“Sure is hot out here. Don’t know where I might get a drink, do you?”
The dog yawned again, not quite so largely this time, before replying.
“On the other side of the well, there’s a little ditch where cool water seeping out of the well puddles. You should get a pretty fair drink from there.”
Federico moseyed over, checking out the location of the chickens as he went. Wary, they had flocked together and were working their way towards the side of the hut, each and every one of them keeping their eye on the visitor. Looking at his mirrored image in the clear pool of fresh water he marveled how his unusual markings him made him both regal and admirable - - his lilac colored snout and matching feet blended well with his brick red fur, while his checker-board haunches made him, perhaps, the most striking fox in all of Mexico.
Drinking enough to convince everyone that he really was thirsty, Federico went back and sat by the dog.
“Funny,” he began nonchalantly, “how those chickens always huddle up together isn’t it?” he asked.
“Ahhhhh, that ain’t all of them.”
“It’s not?” Federico asked, fighting hard to hide his interest and excitement.
“Oh, no. The three biggest ones are over there in the barn,” he said, nodding his head to indicate the way.
Putting on his best poker face and feigning disinterest, Federico noted that the barn was about a hundred yards away. It would, he knew, be pretty easy to slip into the barn, grab a chicken, and hightail it back to the field and safety - - probably even before the dog could get to his feet! Sitting a while longer, he smiled and said,
“Well, friend, I guess I had better be on my way. Thanks for the drink, and next time I am back this way I’ll let you know how to get to Oaxaca City.”
The dog nodded his farewell and watched as Federico sauntered off in the general direction of the barn. Moving slowly, but purposely, he bided his time until he was only a few feet from the door. Suddenly he bolted into the barn, hot on his quest for one of those large tasty chickens. The dog sat up so he could see what was happening, and waited patiently. He didn’t have to wait long before he heard the resounding honking of the three large, angry geese lounging in the cool of the barn. They had, he knew, turned the tables on the sly ol’ fox! Immediately he saw the fox come running out of the barn, making a beeline to the field and the sanctity of cover the brush offered.
Unscathed but scared, Federico vowed to never come back this way and take a chance with those odd looking chickens again. The dog, on the other hand, el perro lento, marveled at the fact that was the third fox he had run off that way this month - - which only goes to prove that sometimes we are not as sly and clever as we might think we are!!