In a short part of the story that I am writing, there is a scene in which all the characters are sitting together and asking a female character, "how does she talk to the animals?"

The whole world is made up and set in medieval times, so how would one understand the animals?

I have written the scene, I want to confirm that the details I have written are correct. If you read the two bold texts, you will notice I have changed the verb of the sentence: from talk to understand. That's the same difference the character points out. She goes on to says, "I don't talk to them — I have spent so much time with them that I understand what they mean from the way they behave. I feed them, take care of them, and protect them... they do the same for me." If you move ahead in the story, at another instance, she explains how from her childhood she has been with them: playing with them and training them.

The reason, why other characters are asking her these questions is because her animals point out the location of the base of other players (it's a kind of game), like the birds would circle the area or sometimes a mouse would come up to her and nibble her hand, guiding the MC to the players' location.

So, what I am asking: is something like this is possible? Does this make sense?

PS The MC does not live like Tarzan, she has mommy issues. Therefore, she spends most of her time in the nearby forest

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    $\begingroup$ Re: training, avg. lifespan of a mouse in the wild is ~12 mo. and avg. lifespan of a sparrow in the wild is ~3 years. Unless the MC has been constantly training new cohorts of animals as the previous generations die and new ones are born, this seems improbable (if such training is even possible). Suggest cueing by familiarity with wild animal behavior instead, e.g. "the birds are quiet and alert here; there must be intruders" or "this bush full of berries hasn't been disturbed even though the berries are ripe; others must be nearby" $\endgroup$ Aug 7, 2021 at 3:24
  • $\begingroup$ @GrumpyYoungMan... Yes your doubt and suggestions are both valid and nice — respectively. Yes, she does train new animals, and she trains other animals too. And the smartness of your suggestions stands on its own. $\endgroup$
    – Momobear
    Aug 7, 2021 at 15:23
  • $\begingroup$ @GrumpyYoungMan "Suggest cueing by familiarity with wild animal behavior instead" good call, awareness of & familiarity with animal behaviour can yield a surprising amount of information, especially coupled with a little basic tracking skill & deductive reasoning, $\endgroup$
    – Pelinore
    Aug 7, 2021 at 23:20
  • $\begingroup$ ^ I can only claim the most basic tracking skills but on the one occasion I got to display it (fallen behind the rest of the guys on a TA training patrol & came to a fork in the path as we hurried to catch up, didn't know which way they'd gone) the other guy with me thought I was a magician or something :)), it was just the grass bent across in the direction they'd turned, but I didn't tell him that :) $\endgroup$
    – Pelinore
    Aug 7, 2021 at 23:26

1 Answer 1


Totally possible.

I think any pet owner can tell you that they understand what the pet wants to communicate.

When I was in high school I often studied with a classmate who had a dalmatian. When the dog wanted to play, it would just grab a tennis ball and bring it at my feet, so that I could throw/kick it away. It wasn't even my dog, and I could understand it without speaking a single word of woofwoofese.

There are even examples of wild animals which can be understood and understand humans. For example there is a bird in Africa which help honey-seekers in finding beehives, getting food as reward

Honeyguides inhabit an area of Africa that includes Tanzania and Mozambique. When they're in the mood for beeswax, they approach a human and start making a chattering call. This call is distinct from the call they use to communicate with each other, and it's accompanied by very specific behavior: the bird flits from tree to tree in the general direction of a bee's nest. Once the nest is located and opened, the human comes away with honey and leaves the wax behind for the honeyguide to eat.

  • $\begingroup$ That's very interesting. $\endgroup$
    – Momobear
    Aug 7, 2021 at 15:25
  • $\begingroup$ All true // it is a matter of degrees of intelligence & shared interests though, a dog has the comprehension of an average 2 or 3 year old on average, the OP's mouse example is unlikely in the extreme as are most birds '(other than the crow family & some few others) deliberately' pointing out others in a forest to a person other than by the person just recognising their reactions & calls are indicative of a predator or some danger in a given location or direction // if no magic or fantasy tech OP will need to be cautions to keep specific information provided reasonable for each animal type $\endgroup$
    – Pelinore
    Aug 7, 2021 at 22:50
  • $\begingroup$ It's the lava not just the wax the honeyguide is after .. just to be pedantic, sorry :) $\endgroup$
    – Pelinore
    Aug 7, 2021 at 22:55
  • $\begingroup$ ** "larva" rather $\endgroup$
    – Pelinore
    Aug 8, 2021 at 0:05

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