September/October 2022

The Deer in the Wood

By Lydia Joy

Once upon a time, not so long ago in a sunny glade, buried deep in the middle of a great forest, were born two lovely little fawns. They were light brown and had little white speckled dots flowing down their small, graceful backs. Their proud mother named them Anna and Agatha. 

One sunny and warm day, when Anna and Agatha were just a few weeks old, the three deer were quietly chewing some of the fresh grass next to a small clump of majestic oaks. They heard a rustle from a patch of thick ferns close by and the three elegant heads suddenly jerked up just as a wolf sprang from the shadows. The deer turned and leaped away at full sprint and kept running for several minutes. Finally, they slowed down to a walk. Agatha and her sister eventually just stood still gasping for air.

Their mother stopped a little way ahead of them, and turning back, she called to them in her soft clear voice, “Come my children, we cannot tarry here– a little farther on and then we may rest.”

And so, slowly and reluctantly, they followed her deeper into the forest.

 A little while later they stopped again for rest; after all, they weren’t full grown, and it was more difficult for them to keep up with the long strides of their mother. But she understood and waited patiently again while quietly sipping water from a nearby pond. Anna and Agatha lay down in a patch of ferns to sleep.

But after a while, their mother roused them saying, “Awake, awake, my little ones, we must go on, for it is only a little farther now and then you may sleep more. But we still are not safe here.”

But this time the fawns grumbled and complained bitterly about starting on another long journey. After it had been several minutes and they still had not left, their mother grew agitated, turning her head this way and that at faint rustlings in the distant underbrush. The sounds started to come closer and closer until finally there was a loud SNAP from behind them and the mother bolted away into the trees. The sisters, taken by surprise at their mother’s sudden dash, hesitated for a moment, and then suddenly became conscious of the earth trembling and the grass rustling behind them. Anna and Agatha whirled just in time to see a large pack of savage wolves, their eyes fierce and hungry, charging right at them!  

Not knowing quite what to do, the deer simply ran for their lives under the sweeping arms of the trees. They dove through clumps of thick brambles and tricky vines that clung to their legs as they ran, tripping them and making them stumble. After about two hours of this (though it seemed longer to the fawns) they ran into a cloud of thick fog. Losing total sight of their prey, the wolves eventually gave up the hopeless chase and turned back to find something different to eat. Though the fog did save the fawns from an almost certain fate, they felt fearful, nevertheless. For amid all the terror and confusion, the two sisters had become separated. Now feeling utterly alone, weary, and fearful, Agatha and Anna wandered blindly around trying to find each other in the fog. 

After some time of calling back and forth to each other, they managed to meet again in a little clearing just out of the cloud. Feeling utterly exhausted – their bodies still trembling with emotion – Anna and Agatha collapsed together under the shady branches of a hospitable maple, as it fended off the noon day sun. There they fell into a calming sleep.

Several hours later they awoke under the gentle and tender gaze of their mother, and the sweet soft voice they knew so well, “Everything will be ok my dears, we have reached our destination. I hope the lesson was well learned. I always have a reason for my instruction, and I do not give it without purpose. Sleep well.”  

The End

About the Artist

Lydia Joy is 12 years old and loves to write (and read!) stories and poems. She lives on a little farm with dogs, goats, chickens, and one fluffy cat. Her favorite summer pastime has been caring for and cuddling six baby goats! Lydia also loves learning and playing the piano and guitar.