We crawled down to the river, lapped from a pool where leeches waved at our lips, and crawled back to our chamber, where we fell asleep, side by side and head to toe, as all good badgers do. But Tom always moved in the night. “Feet in the face aren’t friendly,” he said.

We awoke to the rattling of a jay and the growling of an engine. It was Burt, with fish pie. “Bogus, I know, but I won’t tell anyone.” In fact, it wasn’t bogus at all. Badgers are the ultimate opportunistic omnivores. No badger would turn up its nose at fish pie. “I’ll tell you what, though,” he went on. “To compensate, I’ll come down later and set the dogs on you. And then we’ll go up to the road and I’ll try to run you over.”