"During my earlier life, I was a keen history student and I loved reading about England during the two World Wars. One of my favourite poets and authors at the time was Siegfried Loraine Sassoon; an English soldier who was decorated for bravery on the western front, and who became one of the leading poets of the 'First First World War' years. I loved his style of writing about the war on the western front and his poetic description of trench life.
Ten years after the war, after some experience of journalism, Sassoon felt ready to branch out in prose and wrote a number of books. I enjoyed his books immensely, and in particular, his description of the English countryside and way of life at the time. One of his most memorable books was 'Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man', which he wrote in 1928. The book won numerous awards and was hailed by critics as a classic of English literature. After its first appearance, it soon became a regular set text for British schoolchildren.
When Sassoon wrote 'Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man', he felt so uncertain of how it might be received as representing his first work of prose that he published the book anonymously. Written like an autobiographical novel, it depicts his early years growing up in England and the accepted and widely followed activities of the time, including fox hunting, which the young Sassoon innocently accepted as a normal pastime of the gentry. I was a young man of 15 years when I first read the book and being unaware of the cruelty of foxhunting at the time enabled me to be enthralled with his description of the hunt. At the age of 16 years, I recall going to see an Easter Sunday fox hunt with a mill girl I worked alongside and with whom I fancied a much closer association. The mere fact that a mill girl could ever hold an interest for an upper-class activity initially intrigued me. It made her most interesting and it enabled me to temporarily lend a romantic image to the chase of both the foxes and myself once we'd respectively picked up the scent of a kill.
While we saw part of the chase and had a thoroughly memorable day, my eyes had been spared all sight of the kill. It was only in later years, after discovering the savagery of fox hunting, that I was rocked out of my romantic complacency of this traditional English 'sport.' It is a travesty of the English language and an insult to mankind's understanding to ever see fox hunting described as 'a sport'. It is not a sport and could never be accurately described as such, especially when only one side knows they are in the game. The commandment 'Thou shall not kill' was never hedged with exceptions.
When she lived, the late Princess Dianna declined to go fox hunting, against the royal expectations of her in-laws and husband. Neither did she want to see her sons, the Princes William and Harry go hunting. This was a wish of hers that they have always respected.
During 1990, when I first started writing books and became a published author, one of my first widely acclaimed books was 'Sleezy the Fox.' This book which had been written for the 7-11-year-old reader (and which I dedicated to my first two children, James and Adam), was bought by Yorkshire schools in its tens of thousands. Its theme was one of 'second chances.' Many famous celebrities read from this book in school assemblies.
Around 1991, when Prince William was aged almost nine and his brother Prince Harry was seven-years-old, Princess Dianna contacted me and asked if I'd be so good as to send her a copy of the book, which she would like to read to her sons at their bedtime. Naturally, I was only too happy to oblige. After all, who wouldn't want to know that their story had been read to a future King of England and his brother by their mother at bedtime? At the time, I was wholly unaware of how abhorrent and cruel to the Princess, fox hunting was! When I later learned, it made a bit more sense why a Princess of the realm should bother to communicate with some relatively obscure Yorkshire author who wasn't widely known to the public outside his county of residence.
Given all the quotes that have ever been cited about fox hunting, the most popular of all was when Oscar Wilde chose to describe the experience as 'the unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable.'
Should anyone wish to purchase a copy of the 'Sleezy the Fox Omnibus' ( the four stories of Sleezy), it is available from www.smashwords.com in e-book format or from www.lulu.com and amazon in paper/hard copy. As with all of my publish works, the entire profits from their sales will be given to charitable causes in perpetuity (over £200,000 since 1989/90).
The four Sleezy stories have also been professionally recorded and can be heard on my website for free by accessing:
This free audio version was initially professionally recorded with the partially sighted and blind child in mind, along with all able-bodied children.There is also a specially composed song entitled, 'The Ballad of Sleezy the Fox.' This song can also be freely heard or downloaded from my website through accessing:
There are so many things to gainfully hunt for in anyone's lifetime, such as a lifelong partner, true peace, happiness, self-fulfillment and spiritual understanding etc, without ever needing to cruelly tear a fox apart!" William Forde: November 3rd, 2016.