July 12, 2010 - 7:09am — SelfAsylum
I looked down to the little body pressed against my dark pelt, his brown fur illuminating in a few leftover autumn rays stretching through the trees from the fading light. With a soft voice I invited his curiosity.
"What makes the sun set?"
"Well. . .no one really knows." I whispered as I looked far away into the dying orange glowing through the wood. "But, my father used to tell me a story when I was a fawn, of how the great spirit of the forest brought day and night to all living things."
"Herne?" He asked eagerly.
"Well. . . . ." I began. .
. . . . . .A long, long time ago, in a magical forest, along a mystical river, lived two deer. A handsomely muscular twelve point stag and a beautifully poignant doe brought together by the forces of the universe for the perfect match, vowed to love and protect each other for eternity, for together they cast over the dawn of every morning, and cover us with the dusk of every evening. Without the sun rising and setting the world would not grow and time would seize. So the great spirit of Herne, the God of deer, put Dusk and Dawn together on Earth to roam the forest forever free of harm, and bring about another night and a new day.
However, Herne had one condition that came with this gift. As long as they remained together on Earth they were never to cross the mystical river at the edge of the huge forest. When Dawn asked Herne why they were never to cross, he replied 'Because when one of the spirits of the forest no longer has a place of life in this wood, I send them across the river to the other one, to roam free until I decide to send them back. I gave you the privilege to enjoy the forest forever, to cross the river to the land of spirit would be an insult.' With that Dawn didn't question him further, in fear of abusing Herne's generosity.
So the two deer enjoyed the forest day after day, night after night. They frolicked through the tall grasses of the meadow's and danced beneath the cool rain from the grey skies. They enjoyed laying side by side on summer nights to watch the stars for hours, and listen to the rhythms of the crickets and frogs. They ran through cedar swamps and over wooded hills, bringing with them life, and love. Although they never grew tired, a day was not complete without a fresh drink from the river and the close heat of each others resting bodies as they lay beneath the birches.
Many years went by, and the deer continued to watch the animals of the forest. They watched the fawns be born in the spring, and grow into adults. With time, they became envious. One night, Dusk and Dawn summoned Herne to speak with him.
"Oh great Herne," Dawn started, "We've done all that you've asked, and obeyed your rules. Wouldn't you gift us the ability to experience this life we live? Shouldn't two deer who love each other be able to share the creation of new life?"
At that Herne looked thoughtful for a moment.
"Very well. I shall grant your wish to have a fawn, but. . . they will live the life of a normal deer. You will watch them grow old and cross the river to the forest of spirits. They will require your protection, for they will not be free from harm."
The deer thanked Herne for his kindness before he ran and disappeared on the wind.
The next spring, they were blessed with a fawn of their very own. They taught him the ways of the forest and about love. They showed him the different woods, the meadows and lakes, and valleys of flowers. Sometimes they would venture close to small herds and watch from close by as he frolicked and played with other fawns.
They repeated this every year, watching them grow and pass over the river.
One year, when traveling through the lower birch forest, they stopped by the river. They drank the cool water and ate the fresh grass that grew beside, grazing along the river for most of the day. Suddenly part of the bank gave in and washed out. Their little fawn was swept into the current and pulled under.
The two deer bellowed in sadness and bowed in grief, as they mourned their loss, but just then they watched as she climbed onto the banks of the other side. Without thinking they ran into the water and swam across. When they arrived on the other side, the little fawn ran into the forest and disappeared. Before they could follow Herne appeared before them, angry to see that they had disobeyed him.
"Why have you crossed the river to the forest of spirits? I had forbidden you to cross the river!" He bellowed into the river bottoms. "You asked to experience life, and with that comes loss. Did having each other not satisfy you?"
"As punishment I will separate you for eternity!"
"But Herne!" Dusk pleaded, "How will there be a new night for the animals of the forest?"
"You will stay in the forest," Herne said, "as another forest life, but to make sure you may never be together I will turn you into a wolf at night and Dawn into grass during the day. You will have an hour every morning and every evening to be deer together, and bring the Dawn and Dusk."
". . . . . Some say if you see a lone stag laying atop a rock when the sun is highest in the sky, that it is Dusk, waiting for the day to end, refusing to eat the grass or frolic upon the earth. If you see a lone doe standing, staring into the distance, or running through the woods, could it be Dawn, waiting for her love or running from a wolf? If you listen closely you may hear the sound of a sad cry, lingering in the night air."
~Herne-- the God of deer--is used from the book "The Firebringer" by David Clement-Davies.
~This derived from an idea for a similar more in depth story a while back. I thought maybe it would make for a nice legend, though not exactly cheerful, or starring one deer in particular. I also had something similar of an idea for my deer's future bio the other day before I had written this. Looking for her long lost love.