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Fewmets, in the context of hunting, are the dung of a hunter's quarry. An ability to distinguish different species' droppings allows the hunter to identify and track game.
T. H. White's novel The Once and Future King makes reference to the "Beast Glatisant", or Questing Beast, constantly hunted by King Pellinore who uses its fewmets not only to track the beast, but to monitor its condition and state of health. White describes how the medieval huntmaster would wrap in leaves the spoor of the animal he was stalking, carrying this package stored in his hunting horn. This part of his job served two vital purposes:
- Firstly, even if the noble sponsor of the hunt and his equally exalted guests were sufficiently skilled huntsmen to keep up with the hounds, it would have been beneath his dignity to dismount and examine the condition of the spoor to ascertain how close the hunted animal was. He would be shown the excrement, to ascertain from its condition how close the prey might be; but the physical task of retrieving the droppings would be left to the huntmaster—a skilled functionary, but also a commoner.
- Secondly, in the event that the patron was not knowledgeable about woodcraft, the fewmets served as the huntmaster's bona fide. They were physical evidence that there was in fact an animal out there to be caught—and that the sponsor of the event and his noble friends were not being led in a merry and altogether pointless chase around the woods by a malicious or ignorant bumpkin.
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