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                          Firefawn:  A tale by Masochistic Maiden 

                        Silently the fawn stepped into the clearing. It's
                   fur dappled with white blended well with the filtered
                   light coming through the aspens. Here, high in the
                   Cascades, the fawn had greeted spring at its birth only
                   a few weeks ago. Now, its legs were strong and its
                   attitude cautious but playful. It stopped for a few
                   seconds and sniffed the mountain air.   Mother.. her
                   scent on the breeze... was just across the clearing.
                   There were other scents too......fresh shoots of grass,
                   tempting and new... the deep wet smell of the earth...a
                   sharp scent that he was not familiar with lay almost
                   hidden among the other odors. He hesitated, but wanted
                   so much to run to his Mother and drink deeply of her
                   life giving milk. She had been away for a big part of
                   the early morning grazing in a lower clearing. Now that
                   she was returning he could almost taste the warm rich
                   milk. He remianed cautious and took a second step.
                        His mother steped into the clearing oposite him.The
                   sun shined tawny and golden on her back and the early
                   grasses hid her tiny feet in a carpet of lushious green.
                   Her head held high she advanced with prancing steps
                   across the clearing. The wind at her back ruffled the
                   hair along her spine. She advanced across the clearing
                   and the fawn began to almost tremble with anticipation.
                   No longer cautious he leaped into the air and landed
                   with his hooves bunched together then sprang upward
                   again. Switching ends in the air he landed facing away


                   from his mother then quickly pivoted on his hind legs to
                   get her back into his sight. She seemed to take forever
                   to cross that clearing.
                        The wind again brought her scent to him, along with
                   the scent of that pungent but unknown thing. Somehow the
                   scent felt wrong but the fawn had no experience to give
                   him any indication how that scent figured into his
                        His mother was nearly to him now and he frisked
                   across the few steps between them and burried his nose
                   beneath her flank. At that moment his mother caught the
                   faintest hint of the pungent smell that the fawn had
                   noticed. Her large eyes suddenly seemed to be even more
                   alert and her nostrils flared as she turned her head to
                   try and detect the message the scent brought. She had
                   not smelled this smell for a long time but she knew it
                   brought danger. She searched her distant memories... it
                   was not a man smell exactly, but somehow she associated
                   it with man. Pungent and sharp but not strong enough for
                   her to fix. Then the recognition flashed into her...
                   FIRE. The smell was smoke. She and her young fawn were
                   standing knee deep in the dead growth from last years
                   grass. Fire could sweep the understory of shrubs and
                   grasses with terrifying speed. She nudged her fawn and
                   began to move hurridly away from the smell. Upward...
                   the slopes of the mountains called her.
                        She began a slow trot toward the upper slopes,
                   angling toward the river. The scent of smoke grew and
                   soon it was not only a scent, but whisps of gray swirled
                   among the trees in the lower canopy when she looked over
                   her shoulder. Other animals had joined into the retreat
                   as she had traveled. Rabbits now dived between her feet.
                   Other deer, elk and a moose with a calf ran full out
                   past her. She picked up her pace to as much as the fawn
                   could handle. Leaping great distances a buck raced past
                   her. Behind them a raging forest fire was growing. It
                   threatened to overtake the sea of life desperately
                   running for the river.
                        Near the river a lone figure was aware of the
                   coming fire. He had been alerted by the passage of the
                   first few animals and had spotted the smoke high in the
                   air long ago. As he loaded his pack animal and prepared
                   to ford the river he saw that one doe and fawn lagged
                   far behind the other creatures who were preceding the
                   curtain of flames.
                        The doe reached a point between the tall trees that
                   had been blocked by a downed evergreen. Its trunk
                   stretched far and the upper branches reached as far the
                   other direction. This was not impossible for the doe,
                   she could easily jump the downfall. The fawn however
                   might not make the distance. There was no time left. The
                   doe flew over the barrier and hit the ground at a dead
                   run. The fawn, tired already, leaped but failed to reach
                   the top of the massive trunk. it ran left, then right,
                   but there was no way around. It leaped again and again.
                   The smoke of the fire began to fill the space between
                   the tree tops and darken the world where the fawn was
                   trapped between a wall of fire and a wall of unyeilding


                        The doe fled when the smoke and heat became too
                   great. She reached the river and plunged to the other
                   side. A cascade of various creatures flowed over the
                   banks and to safety across the river.
                        The lone man also crossed the river and was filled
                   with sorrow when he did not see the fawn alongside the
                   doe as she pulled herself from the water. There was no
                   way he could return to the flames to rescue the fawn.
                   The evergreens were fully ignited and their heat was
                   easily felt even across the wide river. Running Buck
                   lead his horse and pack pony away from the heat. He'd be
                   a few days late getting back from his hunting trip due
                   to the fire, but it would save him miles to wait for it
                   to cool some and cut through the burnout to his village
                   to the west. He hoped the fire had not disturbed the
                   village or made the tribe move to a new site.
                        During the night a hard rain began to fall. It ran
                   down the roof of Running Buck's leanto in heavy rivers,
                   but it would put out the raging fire and begin to cool
                   the ground. Maybe Running Buck would not be so late.
                        Early in the morning a stand of blackened giants
                   and chared earth was all that greated Running Buck as he
                   reforded the river and began his journey homeward. The
                   trail he was following lead about 30 yards from the
                   downfall that had stopped the fawn. Remembering its
                   panicked eyes, Running Buck was again touched by
                   sadness. He turned his pony toward the last spot he saw
                   the fawn and decided to ride to the spot to say goodby
                   and ease its spirit into summerland and maybe collect
                   its pelt for a pair of mocossins for his daughter.
                        He rode along the massive trunk, once, twice, and
                   did not see the fawn. Just as he was about to turn away
                   he noticed a hollow under a part of the log. He
                   dismounted and carefully approached the hollow. When he
                   peered into the darkness beneath the massive trunk, a
                   tiny hoof was about all he could make out. Figuring the
                   frightened animal had forced itself under the trunk
                   moments before dying of smoke and heat, Running Buck
                   grabbed the hoof to draw the animal out. The pelt should
                   be a good one without any charing.
                        Suddenly the tiny hoof gave a jerk. The fawn was
                   still alive but trapped beneath the log. it had rammed
                   itself so far into the interior that it could not back
                   out on its own. Running Buck pulled hard on the kicking
                   hoof until a smoke streaked, terrified body came into
                   view. He slipped a length of leather cord around the
                   fawn's neck before he freed it from the hollow.
                        Once out from under the massive trunk the fawn
                   tried to spring away from Running Buck, but the leather
                   around its neck held it fast. Soon it stood meekly,
                   breathing hard but resigned to being held. Its tongue
                   hung from the corner of its lips and a light foam
                   followed the upper curve of its mouth. Running Buck
                   decided that any animal who survived the fire must be
                   blessed by the spirits and that he would not use this
                   animals pelt, but instead would take it back to the
                   village and give it to his daughter as a pet.
                        He lashed the fawn to the packframe on his pack
                   pony and rode off toward his village. The fire had left
                   a ugly scar across the foothills, but fortunately had


                   not reached as far as the quiet valley where his
                   tribe were camped.
                        Arriving in the village, Running Buck went first to
                   his family's site and entered the teepee. The lifting of
                   the flap let golden sunshine spill into the interior.
                   His daughter and wife looked up. Little dove, his
                   daughter jumped up suddenly to greet him and sent a bowl
                   of colored beads scattering at her feet from the beading
                   she had been working on. Running Buck swept her into his
                   arms with quick loving hands and told her about the
                   great fire...he told her about the fawn not being able
                   to leap the high tree trunk and being left by its
                   mother. Tears of sorrow came to Little Doves eyes as he
                   described the scene. He turned and carried Little Dove
                   out to the waiting ponies and showed her the fawn who
                   was still alive.
                        Little Does looked at the tiny body with its
                   spotted fur, and the big brown eyes and pink tongue and
                   thought it was the most beautiful animal she had ever
                   seen. Running Buck lifted the fawn down and tied it to
                   the side of the teepee. He left Little Dove to get
                   aquainted with her new friend and went to prepare an
                   animal bladder as a nursing bag for the fawn. The tribe
                   had several ponies giving milk for their foals. Perhaps
                   the fawn could be raised on their milk. He filled the
                   bladder with warm mare's milk and carried it back to
                   Little Dove.
                        She sat on the ground with the fawn gathered into
                   her lap like a puppy stroking its tiny ears and
                   scratching the fur between its eyes. Already the fawn
                   was becomming accoustomed to her gentle touch. She took
                   the bladder full of milk and stuck the end of the
                   protruding spout between her fingers so that the fawn
                   could suck on her fingers and draw milk from the
                   bladder. At first it turned away from the strange scent
                   of the mare's milk, but finally thirst overcame its fear
                   and it began to suck.
                        "Well," said Running Buck,"It looks like your young
                   friend may make it. Perhaps you should name it now."
                        "I already have." responded Little Dove. "I will
                   call it Firefawn, because he came from the fire."

                        Firefawn grew into a strong young buck during the
                   summer he spent with the tribe and made so many friends
                   among the tribe that they kept him with the ponies over
                   the winter.
                        When spring came again and it was time to let
                   Firefawn return to the wild. Running Buck made him a
                   bright red collar of leather so that none of the tribe
                   would accidently shoot him as he grazed among the trees.
                   For many years the deer with the red collar was seen by
                   members of the tribe and whenever they saw him they knew
                   their hunt would be successful. Firefawn became the lead
                   buck of a large herd of deer.
                        Running Buck and Little Dove's kindness returned to
                   help feed the tribe for many winters.

                        So in life, all that we do returns to us. Good for
                   good and bad for bad. Let good be what returns to your life.


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