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Dearly beloved

She’s neither coy nor clever

Elegance carnate

 

 

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Sketi

Deep in the woods lived a herd of deer. One day they heard the apple tree calling to them. They held council about the matter, for out of the woods and under an oak tree lived a ferocious beast. The herd was terrified of this beast who they would certainly have to pass to get to the apple tree. While they were in council the younger does and some fawns were peeking out from between the hickories, pines, and poplars. They were looking at the sleeping beast and longing to go to where the apple tree was calling. Finally, one of them couldn’t stand it anymore!

The littlest doe stepped out of the woods, and walked toward the apple tree through the leaves . . . . crunch crunch crunch crunch.

The beast with fangs as long as skinning knives, ears as big as satellites, claws as long as daggers heard her; jumped out from behind the oak.

“Who dares come near?” he sneered.

With knees trembling, the littlest doe found her voice, “It is I –i-ii, the littlest deer,” she answered.

“Ah, just what I like for breakfast!”

“I-if you’ll wait a bit, mm-mm-y sister will be by, you could eat her instead?”

“GrrHmm,” growled the beast.

“She-sh-e’s fatter than m-me.”

“Alright then!”

The littlest doe walked crunch crunch crunch crunch past the beast, past the oak, and on to where the tree had called. She found apples and a globe of light. Then there was one.

 

 

 

The watching young does and fawns eyes widened, and they ooh’d and ah’d.

By and by a second little doe stepped out of the woods, walked toward the apple tree through the dry leaves . . . Crunch Crunch Crunch Crunch Crunch.

The beast with fangs as long as skinning knives, ears as big as satellites, claws as long as daggers heard her; jumped out from behind the oak.

“Who dares come near?” he snarled.

With knees trembling, the second littlest doe spoke up, “It is I –i-i, the second little deer,” she replied.

“Ah, just what I like for snack!”

“I-if you’ll wait a bit, mm-m-y sister will be by.”

“GrrHmm,” growled the beast.

“She-sh-e’s fatter than me, you could eat her instead?”

“I like me a doe with meat on her bones!” agreed the beast.

The second little doe walked Crunch Crunch Crunch Crunch past the beast, past the oak, and on to where the apple tree had called. She found the littlest deer, apples and globes of light. Then there were two.

 

 

 

Presently a third doe stepped out of the woods, walked toward the apple tree through the dry leaves . . . Crunch CRUnch CRUNch CRUNCh CRUNCH.

The beast with fangs as long as skinning knives, ears as big as satellites, claws as long as daggers heard her; jumped out from behind the oak.

“Who dares come near?” he snarled.

“It is I, the third doe!”

“Ah, right on time for my lunch!”

“You’ll have to come and get me!” said the doe, and she closed her eyes, lowered her head, and stamped the ground; kicking up globes of light that whirled around her, enveloping her in a moving shield.

The beast roared and sprang, claws splayed, fangs ready to tear into flesh. Only he met an invisible shield, he sprang again, again, again, and again. Each time he attacked it grew stronger until frustrated by his own efforts he stepped back sweating and howled.

The doe took the opportunity to form a single globe of light with the shield, which enveloped the howling beast and entered his mouth. As it penetrated further and deeper, the beast changed: his fangs contracted, his ears reduced, his claws retracted, and his howls became a bark. He whimpered at his sudden diminished stature and ran off into the woods.

The third doe walked Crunch CRUnch CRUNch CRUNCh CRUNCH past the oak, and on to where the apple tree had called, where she found apples, her sisters, and light. Then there were three.

 

 

 

“Come sisters, let us send up the light so our brothers and sisters in the woods’ see, and join us here under the apple tree,” said the third deer.

The three sisters played with the globes and all the deer in the woods saw them. They saw the beast was gone. They gathered together and stepped out of the woods, walking through the leaves, past the oak, and up to where the three young does were spinning light. And then there was a herd. And the apple tree was happy.

 

 

 

As for the beast:: neither the deer, the oak nor the apple tree saw him again, though word came on the wind, leaf, and root that folk see him here and there. Some think he’s a wolf, while others think him dog. The light touched him, turned his eyes blue and his fur shimmery. The sight and smell of deer make him gag, and he eats possum, raccoon, rabbit, snake. No deer for him anymore, no deer except for on the full moon.

On the full moon he shifts and is Beast for one night. Then folk hear his roars.  They notice the quiet stillness that accompanies his blasts.  The trees cease creaking, the leaves barely rustle, the owl is silent, no coyotes call.  The air goes heavily, thick through their nostrils.  A fog lays upon the earth, and they huddle together; vigilant.  The next morning the bird songs wake them, the sun fingers through the dark cloak covering the earth, mists swirl, the leaves are waving, and it’s crystal clearly sending forth rainbows in dew.