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The Adventures of Fleetfoot and Her Fawns (Illustrated)

The Adventures of Fleetfoot and Her Fawns (Illustrated)

by Allen Chaffee

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“Me-o-ow!” screamed Old Man Lynx, from the heart of the woods. The two spotted fawns heard the cry from their laurel copse on the rim of Lone Lake. But, though their big, soft eyes were round with terror, so perfectly had they been trained, they never so much as twitched an ear. Well did they know that the slightest movement might show to some prowler of the night just where they lay hidden.

Next morning, no sooner had the birds begun to chirp themselves awake, than Mother Fleet Foot fed the fawns as usual and ate her own light breakfast of lily pads, Then she lined up the two fawns before her.

“Children,” she said, in deer language, “you have a great deal to learn before ever you can take care of yourselves in these woods. From now on we are going to have lessons.”

“Yes, Mother,” bleated the little ones, “but what are lessons.”

“They are going to be as much like play as we can make them,” said Fleet Foot. “You need practice in running, and we must play ‘Follow the Leader’ every day. Mother, of course, will be the leader. It will be lots of fun.”

The fawns waggled their ears in delight.

“Now listen, both of you,” said Fleet Foot. “This means danger! Follow me!” And she stamped her foot three times and whistled, as she leaped away through the bushes.

“Just watch my white flag, and you’ll know where to follow,” she called; and she showed them how, when she ran, she held the white lining of her tail straight up to show which way she had gone. This was because her brown back might not show between the tree-trunks.

“And when I give the danger signal, you must give it, too, to warn the others,” she added, leaping back to their side.

“What others?” asked the tinier fawn.

“Any deer within ear-shot. That is how we help each other. And remember—obey on the instant! It is the only safe way!”

Suddenly she gave the danger signal!

This time it was in real alarm, for she had spied a black snake wiggling toward them. The fawns bounded after her, just in time to escape the ugly fellow. And, because woods babies learn quickly they remembered to give their own tiny stamp and whistle, their own wee white flags wig-wagging behind them. Fleet Foot could have killed the snake with her sharp fore-hoof, but a deer’s long legs are better suited to running away when danger is near.

The next day she taught them to leap exactly in her footprints. She took short steps, so that it would be easy for them. Great skill and experience is needed for a deer to know where and how to put his feet down when he makes those great leaps of his. He may land, now among the rocks, now in marshy ground, slipping over mosses and scrambling over tree-trunks. It would be only too easy to break one of those slender legs, and be at the mercy of his enemies.

By the time the fawns were six weeks old, they had learned just how to land without stumbling and hurting their frail ankles. Then, one day, young Frisky Fox, hiding at the edge of the clearing, saw a strange sight. In fact, he thought he had never seen anything quite so odd in all his life.

Down four little trails from the hill-top came four does, Fleet Foot among the number. And close behind each doe came her two fawns. Then a fifth mother came from the other side of the meadow. She had only one baby with her.

It was to be a sort of party. But the fawns were most unwilling to get acquainted, as their mothers intended them to do. The baby bucks made at each other with heads lowered, ready to fight. The infant does backed timidly away to the edge of the meadow. But their mothers insisted, with gentle shakings of their heads and shovings of their velvet noses.

They were pretty creatures, these baby deer, with their soft orange-brown coats spotted with white, and their great innocent brown eyes! Everything about them, from their slender legs to their swinging stride, was graceful.

Now the mothers formed in line, the little ones trailing along behind them. “Ah!” thought Frisky Fox, “a game of ‘Follow the Leader’.” He and his brothers had often played it with Father and Mother Red Fox.

At first the does ran slowly around the clearing, then they quickened their pace, the little ones trying their best to keep up.

Suddenly Fleet Foot, who was in the lead, leaped over a fallen log at the edge of the glade and off into the woodland. The other does followed. Then came Fleet Foot’s youngest. This little scamp only ran around the log, while her brother crawled under.

But that was not what Fleet Foot wanted. She came back, stamping her foot for attention.

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Product Details

BN ID: 2940149562664
Publisher: Lost Leaf Publications
Publication date: 02/26/2014
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 2 MB
Age Range: 6 - 8 Years

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