A Mock Battle
: The Tale Of Nimble Deer
When Nimble had three-points on each of his antlers, in his fourth
summer, he felt that he was at last grown up. He was now a
"three-pointer." Some of the older bucks had no more points than he.
Many of them were but "four-pointers." His own father had been a
"five-pointer." So Nimble hoped, secretly, that he would have five-point
antlers in another two years.
As soon as his new horns were ready Nimble an
his friend Dodger the
Deer began their mock battles again. And Nimble found them greater fun
Dodger was a spry fellow. He was quick as a flash at dodging. When
Nimble ran at him with head lowered and horns aimed straight at him
Dodger could wait until Nimble all but struck him, before leaping aside.
And then Nimble would go rushing past him.
But Dodger did not always dodge when attacked. Sometimes he stood his
ground, with his own head lowered in a threatening fashion. And then
Nimble checked his headlong rush and merely clashed his horns pleasantly
There was something about the sound that sent a thrill through Nimble
and started his coat to bristling along his backbone with a queer,
One day in the fall Nimble's mother came upon them in the woods when
they were having one of their sham fights.
"You'd better stop that!" she said to them severely. "Somebody will get
hurt sooner or later if you're not careful."
Nimble and Dodger paid little heed to her warning, except to stop until
the good lady had gone on and left them. Then, just as they were on the
point of renewing their frolic, somebody spoke in a hoarse voice. It was
old Mr. Crow. He sat on a low branch of a spreading pine, where he had
been watching the contest for some time without being noticed.
"I'd have my fun if I wanted to," he croaked. "Ladies are too finicky.
They don't know what a good time is."
Now, Mr. Crow's remarks pleased Nimble. And they pleased Dodger the
Deer. They didn't know that the old gentleman was a famous trouble
So Dodger and Nimble drew a little distance apart, as they always did
when they were getting ready to clash.
"Go it!" squalled Mr. Crow.
And they started. And Mr. Crow jumped up and down in his excitement.
"Now there's going to be some real fun," he muttered.
But Dodger the Deer leaped aside just in time to avoid being hit. And
that didn't please Mr. Crow at all.
"You fellows aren't half trying," he cried impatiently. "Anyone would
think you were a pair of Spike Horns."
Now, all Spike Horns were two whole years younger than Dodger and
Nimble. So it was no wonder that Mr. Crow's words stung them.
Nimble charged more fiercely than ever. And Dodger stood his ground.
With his feet planted firmly beneath him he waited for the blow.
There was a crack and a thud.
"Ha!" Mr. Crow squawked. "That's a little more like it. Dodger didn't
dodge that time, to be sure. But he stood still. And only a Spike Horn
would stand and wait for the enemy."
Of course Dodger couldn't help wanting to show Mr. Crow that he knew how
to carry on a mock battle. So the next time Nimble rushed at him Dodger
did not wait. He jumped to meet Nimble. They struck in the air with a
frightful crash and fell sprawling upon the ground.
"Ha! That's more like it!" Mr. Crow applauded. "That's the sort of mock
battle I like to see!"