Tailypo by fenrislorsrai



6 September 2014 at 21:47:48 MDT


It’s a long lean winter and a hermit goes out hunting with his three dogs for something, anything, to eat. He catches a rabbit, but that won’t go very far between him and three dogs.

Just before dark, his dogs tree a critter he’s never seen before, with a great bushy tail, tufted ears and weird eyes. He can’t get a good shot at it, but can almost reach it in the tree. He tries to hit it with a hatchet but just cuts its tail off. The creature shrieks and runs off through the tree tops as darkness falls.

The hermit takes the tail home and makes a stew of it and the rabbit. It tastes funny, but at least its filling. The dogs get the leftovers and he goes to bed while they lick the pot.

He wakes to a scratching noise and there’s the beast he wounded earlier, climbing up the end of the bed.

"give me back my taily-po!"

He screams at the strange talking animal and his three dogs wake up and attack it. They go round and round, tearing up cabin so he opens up the door and they run outside. It gets quiet and two dogs come back, covered in scratches. There’s no sign of the third.

He tries to get back to sleep, but its not long before he hears scratching again.

"Give me back my taily-po!"

He screams even louder and his two remaining dogs leap up and attack the beast, going round and round the cabin. He again lets them out but this time only one dog comes back, even more scratched up.

He settles down with the dog to wait out the night.

But the scratching returns and the beast is back again.

"Give me back my taily-po!"

He doesn’t even get to scream this time, the dog’s already up and after the beast. He lets them out one more time and then waits and waits…. but the dog doesn’t come back at all.

He sits up. waiting. There;s broken furniture and scratches all around the inside of the cabin from the last three fights. And then hears the scratching sounds again.

"give me back my taily-po!"

"I haven’t got your taily-po!"

"Yes you have! INSIDE!"

And it leaps on the man and rips his stomach out.

It got its tailypo back in the end.

A variation on the Tailypo story. I added some details to the basic version of story that would make logical sense for some gaps in the story, like why nobody was injured by Tailypo in the first encounter. Tailypo is supposed to have dark fur, tufted ears, long claws, and a huge tail. Size isn’t really specified in most versions of story, but its neither described as very large or very small.

So for painting I choose to base its rough body shape on a weasel, as that would make sense for a relatively small animal killing three dogs and a human.  I also chose to make it a climber since this would let it leap down on large prey, like wolverines do.  It would also account for its claws being the primary weapon in these stories. It’s got sharp claws for climbing and the muscle to leap from tree to tree unseen. Or to dig tasty critters out of hollows in trees.  The long tail is to let it turn midair so it can get around branches quickly.

Since it’s apparently quite capable of tracking down people for murderous vengeance, I went with giving it an extra long nose and large ears.  It can smell you and hear you long before you see it! It ran off during the initial encounter as its primarily a nocturnal ambush predator. 

Obviously since it TALKS its not exactly your run of the mill fearsome critter.  Never eat anything that talks.  It never ends well. Same deal with Raw Head.  don’t eat talking animals! They will get even!

Acrylic paint on masonite.

Tailypo will be featured in my Anomalous Animals of the Americas show from August 27th-October 23rd 2014 at Molten Java, 213 Greenwood Ave, Bethel CT.  Reception Saturday September 27th 6:30-9PM.

Submission Information

Visual / Traditional