White Tail the Deer's Adventures
The cover image was created by the transcriber and is placed in the public domain.
With all the speed and power he could summon, he delivered a crushing blow
THE DEER’S ADVENTURES
|THE JOHN C. WINSTON COMPANY|
INTRODUCTION TO THE TWILIGHT ANIMAL STORIES
All little boys and girls who love animalsshould become acquainted with Bumper thewhite rabbit, with Bobby Gray Squirrel,with Buster the bear, and with White Tailthe deer, for they are all a jolly lot, brave andfearless in danger, and so lovable that youwon’t lay down any one of the books withoutsaying wistfully, “I almost wish I had themreally and truly as friends and not just storybookacquaintances.” That, of course, is asplendid wish; but none of us could afford tohave a big menagerie of wild animals, andthat’s just what you would have to do if youwent outside of the books. Bumper had manyfriends, such as Mr. Blind Rabbit, Fuzzy Wuzzand Goggle Eyes, his country cousins; andBobby Gray Squirrel had his near cousins,Stripe the chipmunk and Webb the flyingsquirrel; while Buster and White Tail werefavored with an endless number of friends andrelatives. If we turned them all loose from thebooks, and put them in a ten-acre lot—butno, ten acres wouldn’t be big enough toaccommodate them, perhaps not a hundredacres.
So we will leave them just where they are—inthe books—and read about them, andlet our imaginations take us to them where wecan see them playing, skipping, singing, andsometimes fighting, and if we read very carefully,and think as we go along, we may cometo know them even better than if we went outhunting for them.
Another thing we should remember. Byleaving them in the books, hundreds andthousands of other boys and girls can enjoythem, too, sharing with us the pleasures ofthe imagination, which after all is one of thegreatest things in the world. In gatheringthem together in a real menagerie, we would beselfish both to Bumper, Bobby, Buster, WhiteTail and their friends as well as to thousandsof other little readers who could not sharethem with us. So these books of TwilightAnimal Stories are dedicated to all little boysand girls who love wild animals. All othersare forbidden to read them! They wouldn’tunderstand them if they did.
So come out into the woods with me, andlet us listen and watch, and I promise you itwill be worth while.
|I||White Tail Jumps Stepping Stone Brook||9|
|II||Father Buck’s Failure||17|
|III||Young Black Buck’s Challenge||25|
|IV||Father Buck’s Decision||33|
|V||Young Black Buck’s Challenge to a Race||41|
|VI||Downy the Woodpecker Brings Startling News||49|
|VII||A Race With Puma and Timber||57|
|VIII||Mrs. Puma and Timber Fight||65|
|IX||Young Black Buck Has An Accident||73|
|X||White Tail’s Magnanimous Act||81|
|XI||White Tail’s Adventure in the Camp||89|
|XII||White Tail Escapes||97|
|XIII||White Tail Hears Unpleasant News||105|
|XIV||Choosing a New Leader||113|
|XV||The Great Combat||121|
|XVI||White Tail Made Leader of the Herd||129|
White Tail Jumps Stepping Stone Brook
White Tail grew rapidly in size andstrength, his long, clean limbs showing tautmuscles and great springing power; and hisneck grew thick and short, which is well for abuck, who must use it in savage thrusts whenthe head is a battering ram. His horns wereshort and bony, but they protruded in frontlike knobs against which it would be unpleasantto fall.
But his antlers were his pride. They spreadout fan-shape on his head, crowning it witha glory that made Mother Deer supremelyhappy. At times it seemed as if the antlerswere too heavy for the head and neck, butWhite Tail carried them easily, and when heshook them in sport or anger any one couldsee they were just fitted to him.
In time he stood as high as Father Buck,and a head taller than Mother Deer. Theday the tip of his antlers reached an inch aboveFather Buck’s, he felt a little thrill of pride.10To be as big and tall as his father had alwaysbeen his ambition. But while it pleasedFather Buck that his son was growing so big,it made him a little sad.
“You will soon be ready to take my place,White Tail,” he said. “You’re growing tallerand stronger every day.”
“That may be, Father Buck,” he replied,“but it will be many a season before I can runas fast and far as you, or show the samestrength in a fight. Oh, no, there’s littlechance of my equaling you for many, manyseasons.”
Father Buck merely smiled and nodded hishead. “I want you to run out with me toStepping Stone brook,” he said simply.“There is something I want to show you.”
White Tail was always eager for a run withFather Buck. Nearly every day they went offtogether to hunt and explore. Father Buckhad been teaching him all the ways and tricksof the woods so that his education would becomplete.
It was a cool, crisp day, and they ranthrough the woods, side by side, in long, gentlelopes until they came to Stepping Stonebrook. This was a small stream confined betweentwo ledges of rocks, with stones placedin it for stepping across when one didn’t want11to wet the feet. Frequently the whole herdcrossed it, using the stones so that not a foottouched the water.
When they reached the brook, White Tailimmediately took a long drink of the coolingwater, for their run had made him hot andthirsty. Father Buck watched him in silence,a very sad expression in his beautiful eyes.There was admiration also, but a little sadness.
“White Tail,” he said suddenly, “I havebrought you here to tell you something. SteppingStone brook has always been the test forour leaders. Here it is that many a youngsterhas first earned his right to lead the herd, and,alas! many an older leader has broken hisheart here.”
White Tail looked up in surprise, andglanced from the speaker to the tricklingwaters. He was clearly puzzled by the wordshe had heard.
“No buck can be leader of the herd unlesshe can jump across Stepping Stone brook,clearing it from bank to bank without falteringor stumbling. If he fails he must waituntil he can make the leap. Many, manyhave tried and failed, and others—”
White Tail’s eyes gleamed with anticipation.12He liked to take risks and attempt difficulttasks.
“I see,” he said, laughing joyfully, “youbrought me here to see if I could make theleap. Well, I can do it! I’ll show you. Iwon’t disappoint you, Father Buck.”
“I know you won’t, White Tail,” was thereply. “I shouldn’t have brought you hereso soon if I thought you would fail. But Ihad another purpose, too.”
“What is it?” asked White Tail.
“I will tell you later. Now I want to seeyou take the leap. Years ago, many, manyseasons ago, I came here, and took it. Thereon the rocks you can see the marks of my leap.It was one of the longest ever made by any ofour people. I was naturally proud of it. Ishall never forget that day. I think it wasthe happiest of my life—except one.”
“Which other one?” asked White Tail.
“The day I defeated Black Buck in the finalstruggle for leadership,” was the reply. “Itwas a battle that lasted for hours, and all theherd watched us. We were down, and upagain and again, struggling, fighting andbucking until it seemed as if both