Mr Crow Looks On
: The Tale Of Nimble Deer
Nimble and his friend Dodger the Deer picked themselves up off the
ground where they had fallen after their collision in the air. They did
not feel any too pleasant. One of Dodger's sharp tines had given Nimble
a good prick. And one of Nimble's points had stung Dodger like a
If only one of them had been pricked the whole affair might have ended
differently. For then perhaps only one of the
would have lost his
temper. As they drew apart they were growing more angry every instant.
And when they wheeled and glared at each other old Mr. Crow, who was
watching them from his perch in the pine tree, called out: "Don't stop!
Make it lively, now!"
Nimble gritted his teeth and stamped upon the ground.
"I'll teach you not to prick me!" he muttered.
"I'll make you wish you'd left those new antlers at home!" cried Dodger
"Don't stop!" old Mr. Crow urged them once more as he teetered on his
perch. "Let the fun go on!"
He squalled so loudly that his cousin Jasper Jay heard him half a mile
away and came hurrying up to see what was going on. He arrived just in
time to see Nimble and Dodger stagger back from another mad charge.
"What's this? A mock battle?" Jasper Jay inquired as he settled down
beside Mr. Crow.
"No!" Mr. Crow replied in muffled tones. "It is a real one--but they
don't know it yet."
Next to quarreling himself, old Mr. Crow loved to look on while others
wrangled. And though he had no taste himself for actual fighting, he
liked to see his neighbors pummel and peck and buffet and bounce one
So Mr. Crow enjoyed watching the tilt between Nimble and Dodger the
Deer. Neither Mr. Crow, nor his rowdy cousin Jasper Jay, had ever seen
so furious a fracas as that one soon became. Sometimes Nimble and Dodger
rushed together with such force that it seemed to Mr. Crow their horns
must break off. Sometimes they reared and struck each other with their
At first, whenever he felt a hurt Nimble only fought the harder. When
Dodger's horns gouged him and his hoofs cut him Nimble butted and thrust
and struck all the faster. But for every buffet he repaid Dodger, Dodger
gave him another that was heavier than ever.
It was no wonder that in time Nimble began to feel tired. But he didn't
let Dodger the Deer know that.
"This was easy to start," Nimble thought, "but it seems hard to stop. I
wish Dodger would run away."
In the meantime Mr. Crow and Jasper Jay agreed that the battle was
growing tamer every moment.
"Hustle it up!" Mr. Crow called to Nimble and Dodger, while Jasper Jay
jeered at them both and told them they were mollycoddles.
"I shouldn't call this a mock battle now," Mr. Crow told them. "It's
more like a game of tag."
"If only Dodger would run away!" Nimble said under his breath. "I'll
stop a minute and see if he won't." So he stood still, with his nose all
but touching the ground.
Dodger the Deer did not run. But he paused and stood exactly as Nimble
So they eyed each other for a while. And neither of them said a word.
"Come!" cried old Mr. Crow. "This will never do. Give us more action!"
And then Dodger the Deer looked up at Mr. Crow and Jasper Jay and spoke.
"If you want more action why don't you two furnish it?" he asked.
"That's a good idea!" Nimble exclaimed. "Let's see a mock battle up in
But Mr. Crow replied hoarsely that he had to meet a friend down the
valley. "I must be flapping along," he said. And off he went.
Jasper Jay grinned and winked at Nimble and Dodger behind Mr. Crow's
back. And then with a loud squall--which might have meant almost
anything--he too flew away.
"That was the liveliest mock battle we ever had," Nimble remarked to his
Dodger agreed with what he said.
Nimble's mother gasped when she saw her son a little later.
"You're a terrible sight!" she told him severely. "What have you been
"I've been having fun with Dodger the Deer," Nimble explained. "But to
tell the truth, it wasn't as much fun as I had expected."