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An Old Buck’s Tale

An Old Buck’s Tale
R. Brian Campbell

“Grandpa! Grandpa!”  The two fawns came tearing across the meadow. 

Bambi looked up from munching dandelions and smiled.  He always enjoyed it when Didi brought the fawns over. Their energy invigorated him. 

“Grandpa, tell us a story,” Daisy begged, as she skidded to a halt in front of him.

“Yes.  A story,” her brother, Lucky, agreed, as he crashed into his sister, knocking them both into the remaining dandelions, crushing them.

Ah well, he should stop snacking anyway. The other bucks were beginning to ask when his fawns were due. 

“Hi Dad,” his daughter, Didi greeted, then asked. “Where’s Mom?”

“Hi Didi.  Your mother is in the field at the other end of the glade, foraging some vegetables for dinner.  She could probably use and extra hoof.”

“I’m on it, Dad.”

Bambi watched his daughter glide towards the human farmer’s field, then turned and smiled at his grandfawns. “A story, is it?  What story would you like to hear?”

“Tell us about the time you beat up the big metal monster,” Lucky insisted, as he stumbled to his hooves, shaking off ragged pieces of dandelion.

“Yes, that one,” Daisy agreed. “Please, Grandpa!”

“Ah, yes,” Bambi said, his memory taking him back to that fateful night.  His hoof brushed the souvenir he still kept, a red chunk of metal, about the size of a fawn’s head, with what appeared to be a very smooth, reflective piece of ice, which wasn’t cold, nor did it melt, in one end.   “I remember that night well.

“Your Grandma and I had just began courting and it was still another couple of seasons before your mother would be born.  We had been on a date, foraging in a field, and getting to know each other.   The big light in the sky was going down and darkness was coming, so I knew it was time to walk your Grandma back to her herd. 

“Just as the last light was disappearing, we came to one of those hard black stone rivers that the humans keep putting through the middle of our forests.  Now you fawns know that you should always be careful to watch out for predators, especially the metal monsters the humans use, before crossing the hard black rivers, but I guess your Grandma was distracted, thinking about something else, because she started across before I could be sure that it was safe.

“Well, it wasn’t safe. Out of nowhere, one of those big metal monsters came barreling down on your Grandma, its yellow eyes glowing as it aimed straight at her.  She could have been killed.  Luckily, she managed to get across the stone river, just in time.”

“Bambi! Are you telling that silly story again?” Grace asked, as she and Didi wandered up, rolling a large bundle of wheat, barley, oats, corn stalks, and other assorted grains a head of them with their noses.

Bambi shrugged at his mate. “They asked me to tell them the story.”

“Well, at least try not to be overly dramatic.  I wasn’t in that much danger.  The metal creature was slowing down.”

Bambi scowled. “Who’s telling the story? You or me?”

Grace smiled at her mate, shaking her head. “Carry on.”  She and Didi shared a grin as they continued pushing the pile of grain towards the meadow.

Bambi turned back to the fawns.  “I don’t think your Grandma is aware of how much danger she was in.  Yes, the metal beast was slowing down, but I think that was because it intended to chase her down.  I know that most of these metal creatures stay in their black rock rivers, but some do, occasionally, leave the river and roll through the forest, knocking down everything in their path.  I know. I’ve seen them.  And I believe that is what this one was planning to do.  It was preparing to go after your Grandma and crush her under its huge body.

“With no time to waste, I sprang into action.  The beast was concentrating on your Grandma and didn’t see me coming. I lowered my antlers and charged its blind side.  I struck one of the extra eyes that protruded from its side and, with a twist of my head, tore it right off, wounding the creature.”  Bambi patted his prize with a hoof.  “I still have that eye, right here.”

“Wow, Grandpa,” Lucky exclaimed.  “Didn’t the monster fight back? You could have been hurt.”

Bambi’s smile grew larger and he puffed out his chest.  “Like I said, I caught it by surprise.  It didn’t have a chance to react.  But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t injured.  I broke off a piece of my antler.” He leaned forward to display the damaged antler, as the fawns scrambled closer. “See?”

“Bambi,” Grace admonished. “That wasn’t how you broke your antler.  You broke it when you and Comet-”

“Hush, please,” Bambi cut her off. “Will you please stop interrupting when I’m telling the fawns a story!”

“Fine.  Tell it your way.  But please hurry.  Dinner is ready.”

“Yes, deer.” Bambi turned back to the fawns. “As I was saying, I caught the beast by surprise, and not only did I injure it, I scared the fight out of it.  I roared out of there so fast, if it had a tail, it would have been pointing straight up and waving.  I showed it that I was no deer to mess with.  It never dared cross my path, or your Grandma’s, again.”

“Wow, Grandpa,” Lucky said, his eyes huge. “You’re a hero.”

“You’re my hero, Grandpa,” Daisy echoed, nuzzling Bambi’s side.

Bambi felt his face heating up.  “Uh, yeah.  Thanks.  So that’s it. Story’s over.  Let’s get some dinner.”

“FOOD!”  Both fawns screamed, as they ran towards the area where Grace and Didi had laid out the grains and vegetables.