We took our Viennese visitor to Richmond Park for a walk in the winter sunshine. He was enchanted to see the deer roaming freely in the park, quite close at hand (see photo).
While we were watching this group of deer, we witnessed a ‘raid’ by another stag. He ran up to the group, and was chased away by the bellowing stag in charge. But a moment afterwards, several female deer – after what looked like a lightning review of their prospects – detached themselves from the group and ran after the interloper. A moment later we turned and saw the splinter group – the intruder and his new female companions – munching peacefully together on the other side of the lark meadow.
Erich said it reminded him of an old joke about a Turkish pasha who keeps a harem. One day he calls the women together and says, ‘Times are changing, and I must change with them. From now on, I must treat you more seriously, in line with modern customs. I must not withhold information from you any more. You deserve more respect. And therefore I must tell you: I have fallen in love with another harem.’