A Visit from Ratatoskr


This beauty was in my garden first thing, calmly surveying her surroundings and ignoring my cat who was clumsily stalking her. I’m fairly sure this is a female; the males usually have a much bushier tail.

In Norse mythology the squirrel Ratatoskr is actually a red squirrel, not one of the invading greys (invaders for us in the UK anyway). Despite their ‘nuisance’ factor, I have a real soft spot for these cheeky rodents, who use cunning and skill to raid the bird feeders and anything else they can get their paws on.

Ratatoskr is a messenger, a role which implies responsibility, yet he actually revels in trouble making, delighting in passing insults between the hawk Veðrfölnir at the top of Yggdrasil, and the wyrm Níðhöggr, who is gnawing at the roots of the great world tree.

Ratatoskr is a gossip, a stirrer, and if you check out the squirrel’s somehow inherently cheeky expression, you can well believe this! These chattering creatures could be saying anything once they start scolding you; if only we could understand them.

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