Spotted Deer

Elmer Russell Gregor Papersense


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Night had fallen, and forest and river were cloaked in darkness. Aware that his foes might have come within bow-shot, Spotted Deer realized that each moment was precious. Turning toward the shore he maneuvered the canoe with rare skill. It glided forward as easily and silently as a drifting leaf until Spotted Deer stopped it at the edge of the bushes. He tested the depth of the water with his paddle. It was shallow. He waited a moment or so, listening for a warning of danger. All was still. Feeling secure, Spotted Deer stepped from the canoe and waded toward the shore. As he left the water, he again stopped to listen. He heard a splash a short distance below him. His heart beat wildly. He believed that his foes were close at hand. There seemed little chance of concealing the canoe before they found him. He listened in breathless suspense. In a few moments he heard another splash. This time it gave him relief. He had recognized it as the signal of Amoch, the beaver, slapping the water with his great broad tail.

"Amoch," Spotted Deer murmured, softly.

He moved cautiously along the edge of the woods until he found an opening in the undergrowth. Then he drew the bow of the canoe from the water. Stooping, he seized the fore legs of the buck and dragged it from the canoe. It was a difficult task as the deer was heavy and Spotted Deer feared to make a sound. When the buck was safely on the ground, he drew the canoe into the bushes. Then he crouched behind it to watch and listen for the approach of his foes.