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
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
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.
Next: A Dragon Tale (Kalioppe)