The Stranger: Generation

In the fifth story about the Stranger, our hero is getting old. It is time to hand the herd off to younger and more capable deer. Only who is more capable? After a series of disasters and personal tragedies, the Stranger is left hurt both physically and mentally. He plans are left in ruins, and he finds he has to begin all over again. How he can adapt to these calamities will test the strength and resolve of the Stranger.

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2. ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

 

He came out of the woods several days later as close to normal as he could be. It had taken him a while to finally accept the idea that what he had done was necessary. Claris and Bambi were right. What had convinced him to return was that he was still herd leader and although the herd did not need a leader at this time, he was still responsible for them; at least for now. That was going to change. He finally made up his mind about that also. He walked slowly out onto the meadow with the herd and saw the others there. He saw Bambi and Faline eating next to Claris. Carie was eating next to her son, Stuben and Young Faline. For now he only wanted to talk to Bambi, Faline, Claris and Carie. The rest he would tell later.

He walked over to Bambi, Faline and Claris who stopped eating. “I like to talk to all of you and Carie, when you finish eating,” he said to them in a low voice.

All nodded silently. He next went over the Carie and repeated the message. She also agreed. He was leaving when Stuben spoke up.

“Father,” Stuben said to him.

He turned and looked into his son’s dark brown eyes which were almost on a level with his. By the time next season came around, he be as tall or even taller than him. He and the others would  soon be ready.

“Father, I know you wish to be alone," Stuben said in a low voice. "Mother has explained what happened. I am very sorry for that, but as you taught me, some things cannot be helped. I just wanted to let you know I think you did the right thing. My only concern is the hurt it has caused you and mother. We can all see how this has torn at you. I am sorry it had to be done. I just wish we could be of more help.”

A lump formed in his throat, for he knew his son meant what he said.  His eyes got misty and he walked over and nuzzled his son like he had done when he was a fawn. “You already have helped, my Son, and I thank you and your mother for that.”

With that he walked away feeling better than he had for days. It made what he was going to say easier. He went out into the middle of the meadow and continued to eat alone until he noticed the others coming up to him. He waited until they were all there before he bowed his head slightly.

“Thank you for coming,’ he started. “I am going to call a gathering of the herd soon. When I do, I am going to announce that I am giving up being herd leader. I will ask the herd to accept Balo as the new leader. It is time I step away from this and let a younger male lead.”

“Stranger, if this has anything to do with our fawn, do not do this. I was angry at the time, but I know you did the right thing,” Carie told him.

“Thank you,” he said to her, "But this has more to do with my age than anything else. Like Bambi did with Gorro, I rather give it to someone I trust than have some young male fight and beat me for it.”

“You are not that old,” Bambi said. “Other than Balo and Stabo, I doubt any male could take this herd from you.”

He smiled slightly. He had some doubts about that.“Thank you, my friend, but age is catching up with me as it is doing for all of us. As you have shown me, I  now know it is time someone else lead. If there are problems, both you and I will be here to help, at least for a while. The others are almost ready to take over themselves so this forest and the Man path forest will be well lead without us. There is not much more I can do here.”

“I do not believe that,” Claris told him. “I have seen you too many times do things that I thought could not be done, and yet you did them.”

“I have done all that I could do,” he answered. “Both Bambi and I knew that the young deer we trained this time would most likely be our last. That is why we trained so many of them. I can only hope what they learned will be passed on to others.”

“So you will tell the herd that Balo is now leader?” Carie asked.

“No!” he said empathically. “I will tell the herd that I am giving up the leadership. I will ask the herd if they will accept that Balo should lead in my place. The choice belongs to the herd. They must decide who will lead them.”

“And suppose someone challenges him?” Carie asked.

“Anyone that challenges Balo, will get his tail stomped into the ground,” Bambi said just as empathically. ”Stranger is making the right choice. It is best to leave rather than to be beaten.”

“When will you tell Balo and Stena?” Claris wanted to know.

“Tonight,” he said. " I will tell the others in our family when their training is done. That should happen in summer. Only then will I call a gathering.  I doubt if there will be any problems. Any of the senior males in this herd will not fight Balo on their own, they know better. I also know they will also not form a group like Tarro and Razor did to push Balo aside. At least not while Young Bambi, Koren, Stuben and Delon are here."

“Then who will follow Balo?” Carie asked.

“When the time comes, the herd will decide that also,” he said clearly.” I guess it will be either Delon or Stuben. The herd will make that choice when the time comes.”

“Your son should follow you,” Carie went on. “I agree with you he is not ready yet, and Balo is the wisest and strongest, but afterwards it should be your son.”

He tried not to show his anger. “That is not my choice or yours to make. It will be up to the herd. They will decide when the time is right. That will not be for many seasons. By then I will not be here.”

“That no one knows,” Faline answered.

He nodded his head. “Yes, Faline, you are right. That no one knows.”

He then stopped and took a deep breath. “Now here is something that I will not discuss with anyone else except us,” he told them all. “I also want you never to mention what I am going to say to anyone. This is deeply personal and I do not wish to share this with anyone else including the rest of our family.”

They all looked at him strangely before he continued “I have been thinking about what happened with our fawn. I am wondering if I am getting too old to make healthy fawns myself.”

The others looked stunned almost in disbelief.

“That is nonsense,” Bambi told him. “My Father had me when he was your age and I turned out rather well.”

“I know, but after what happened with Claris and now with Carie, I have to wonder if I am at fault here. One thing however is for sure; even if I can still make healthy fawns now, I will not be able to do it for much longer.”

There was silence. He knew Bambi had not sought out another doe after Faline’s fawn was born dead and she told him there would be no more. Carie was young enough where she could still have those fawns.

He went on trying not to get emotional. “Carie will be able to have healthy fawns for several more seasons. I will not be able to father them for that long. Therefore I give Carie a choice. If she wants to stay with me and try and have more fawns, I would be happy to try again during The Season. However,” he said and looked directly at her. “If you feel you would rather find another male for your fawns, I will not stop you or challenge anyone for you. I am giving that choice to you.”

Carie looked more surprised than anyone else. She stood there in silence for a time while everyone looked at her. Then she spoke clearly, but he could hear the emotion in her voice. “I will not lie to you, Stranger, I did think about your age when my fawn was born deformed. Right now I do not know if I want to leave you or not. One thing I can say is that none of the other males in this forest I would even consider to be a father for my fawns. Only two males in this forest have ever interested me and that is you and Bambi. Bambi has a fine mate already. The only other good males are our children and Bambi's children and their children. The rest of the herd are lesser males and I will not be a mate to a lesser male. This is why none of the herd males interest me in the least. We still have a while before The Season. I will let you know if I will stay with you or not before that time, In the meantime I will help raise our son and daughter and see they come into to their proper place within the herd.”

Her talk did not surprise him; he expected that much. He also knew, but would not say it, that Carie also liked the position of mate to the herd leader and while she did not push herself forward, she did present herself as being a leading doe. If she was as wise as Claris he would not mind this, but she was not. He was now going to give that up so she would lose that position. He further knew she would not like it. He also did not like her comment about his son’s and daughter’s proper place in the herd. He knew you got position by being reliable, knowing what to do, and being able to protect the herd. To whom you were born to meant nothing. That was something she had not learned yet and possibly never would.

 “Very well, I accept that,” he told her. “We will discuss this later.”

“When will you tell the rest of our family?,” Bambi asked.

“When their training is done and before I call for the gathering,” he said. “They need to know, but I do not think any of them will dispute Balo being herd leader.”

“Nor do I,” Claris said. “Stabo already has the Man path forest, Stena will be the mate of the herd leader, so I see no problem there. I do not see any the other children objecting. You have made it clear for a long time that Balo would most likely follow you.”

“Again, that is up to the herd,” he repeated.

“Very well,” Bambi said nodding his head. “I do not agree with everything you have just said, but I do understand why you said it. I agree it is time for Balo to take over. You have to tell him this  and I suggest you do it now.”

“I intend to,” he answered. “I thank you all for listening to an old deer.”

With that he bowed his head and left them still standing in the meadow. It was easy to find Balo and Stena. Other than himself and Bambi, Balo was the largest deer in the forest. He saw them eating with Delon and Stena's new doe fawn Balene, named after Balo,  and some of the other young males around him. He walked up to them until he was within a length of them. Balo looked carefully at him, but it was Stena that spoke.

“Father I am so sorry at what has happened,” she told him her eyes misty. “I just want to say we understand.”

He nuzzled his daughter like she was still his fawn. “Thank you, daughter,” he said and then turned toward the others present. “I need to speak to Balo and Stena alone,” he told them. “Please excuse us for a while.”

The herd males left quickly and Balene went to play with the other fawns. With that he walked toward the trees near where the stream from the pond entered the meadow. When he was sure they were alone he stopped.

“What is it Stranger?” Balo asked. “Is something wrong?”

“No, Balo, for once nothing is wrong,” he said with a smile. “I need to tell you that soon I am going to call for a gathering of all the deer in the forest. At that gathering I am going to give up being herd leader. I am getting too old for this and it is time for a new leadership. I am going to suggest to the herd that you be the new herd leader. You are old enough, you have been trained by Bambi and me, you know what to do, and most importantly Stena is very wise on her own. You both can lead the herd as well or better than Bambi or I ever did.”

“Father, you are not that old,” Stena said looking shocked. “You can still be leader for seasons to come.”

“No daughter, I cannot,” he said calmly. “Bambi has showed me it is best to turn over the herd in your own time, rather than get beaten by some new male. I watched him do it with Gorro and then saw how you both helped him. Now it is time for you two to do it on your own.”

“Will the herd accept me?” Balo asked.

“The herd has seen you help me for many seasons. They have seen me and Bambi teach you. They have seen how you helped Veron, Stabo, Gorro and I take care of Razor. Right now you could most likely beat me. Besides I am old and tired. It is time for a younger deer to take my place. You are the best deer in the forest to do this. Both Bambi and I agree on this. The herd also knows this and I feel will agree. Besides if any deer is stupid enough to challenge you, I know you can stomp them into the ground.”

“I hope the others agree with you,” Balo said still looking a bit frightened at the prospect.”I also hope I am up to being the leader.”

“You are,” he said and rubbed his forehead against Balo’s. “Besides you can always ask Bambi and me for advice if you want to, at least for a while.”

“Father no,” Stena said the tears now flowing.”You will be here for a long time to come. I do not know what I would do without you and Bambi, Even mother and Faline are a great help. The forest would not be the same without you.”

He looked deep into Stena’s black eyes and smiled openly. “You will do the best you can no matter if we are here or not. You have your children and mine to help you. All of you are good deer and we have trained you well."

Stena then turned to Balo and spoke in a normal tone. “Father is right. If you are herd leader, Delon will be of help to you. He can also can follow you if anything happens to us.”

Not again he was thinking. “That will be up to the herd when that time comes. Remember one of the first lessons I taught you long ago; the herd will decide, not you.”

Stena stepped back looking disappointed. “Yes Father of course, but it is only natural that the son will follow the father.”

“Balo is not my son,” he reminded her, “Although he is like a son to me. Balo is the best deer in the forest. This is why he should be herd leader. The deer in the forest will follow the best deer no matter who it is. When the time comes, the herd will make the choice.”

“Yes, Father,” she said meekly.

“I will try and do the best I can,” Balo said.

“I know you will,” he said. Then he looked deep into Balo’s black eyes.”I only knew your mother for a short time before she was taken. I do know if she was here now, how proud she would be of you and the deer you became. You are as close to me as my own sons. You will do a good job. I trust you with the herd.”

With that he rubbed Balo’s forehead again and turned and walked away. Balo turned quickly not wanted to see the tears forming in his eyes. Stena went over to comfort her mate. He walked into the forest alone toward the other side of the meadow. For the first time in many risings of the greater light he felt at peace within himself. He had done the best he could. It was time for others to carry on.

He found some grass over by where the stream to Bambi’s old forest flowed between the hills. Near the stream were also fresh leaves. He ate them. He had not eaten fully for a while and he discovered how hungry he was. He then heard someone from behind him. It was Claris she came over and started to eat next to him. He looked at her and pictured the doe he first knew when he came to this forest. Not a beauty like Faline or even Young Claris or Young Faline, yet she was still beautiful.  How he wished he could take her in The Season like he once did and put himself inside her. That too was now beyond him. How he hated getting old. He went over and lifted her head with his like he once did. He then gazed into her green eyes and kissed her long and passionately. He watched her white fluffy tail shoot upwards has his did. He still felt the warmth fill his body like a fire.

“I still like that, Stranger,” she said taking in a deep breath.

“So do I,” he told her. Now sleep with me here tonight. I need someone near me.”

‘I will always stay near you,” she said in that voice of hers that use to make him almost crazy in The Season.

They finished eating, drinking and then empting their bodies before find a soft piece of grass and there sleeping close together until the greater light was high overhead. It was then he heard someone creeping through the forest very quietly. The wind was blowing in the wrong way; then he heard a different noise. There was more than one of them. He slowly got up taking in a great breath through his nose. He smelled nothing, He turned and faced the noise and saw two deer coming toward them. The male had his nose in the ground smelling for something. A moment later he got a good look. It was Young Faline and Stuben out walking together.

He bleated lightly once, and they both approached them. Both were smiling broadly. He looked at Claris who kissed the side of his cheek. “I was her age when you first came here,” she reminded him.

“Hello Father,” Stuben said. “You left so quickly, we did not have a chance to talk to you.”

“We have something to announce to you and Claris,” Young Faline told them. A pity she did not have the voice to go with her beautiful body and face.

“You do not have too, I saw it last season and I see it now,” he said grinning ear to ear.

“Were we that obvious?” Stuben asked looking embarrassed.

“As obvious as Claris and I were when we were your age,” he said. “I wish you both well, my Son. Finding the right doe is a wonderful thing and makes life well worth living.”

“Faline has agreed to stay with me and be my mate during The Season.” Stuben was beaming like he was.

He first kissed Young Faline on the side of her face and then rubbed Stuben’s forehead. Claris did likewise.

“Have you told your mother?” he asked his son.

“Yes, and she is happy about Young Faline and me. We will go soon to the Man path forest and tell Young Bambi,  but I am sure he already knows. Mother thinks we will be a good pair. She also told me what you told her Father.” Stuben then lowered his head.”I am sorry this has happened, but I understand it. Mother does not blame you or anyone for this. I am glad you gave her the choice.”

He did not indicate that he was bothered by Carie telling their son of their private conversation.  He continued to smile. “She deserved that and a lot more for giving me you and Stelar. I look forward to seeing your fawn next spring.”

Stuben reached over and kissed Faline on the mouth like he just like he did to Claris. It was a long, passionate kiss and both their tails shot up into the air. His eyes got misty again and he thought so did Claris' At least here was one announcement he enjoyed hearing. Now he had only one more journey to make.

"Well I must go see my son Stabo, so I will leave you all for a short while," he told them.

"Thank you Father," Stuben said and he and Young Faline walked away their flanks touching. They were, obviously very happy.

"That makes me glad," he told Claris and then kissed her again.

"So I can see," she said in that soft voice of her and she kissed him again.

"I need to see Stabo," he told Claris. "He needs to know about this."

"I will go with you," Claris told him and together they walked into the forest.

It was near the time the lesser light was over head that they came to Stabo's clearing. They were not there, but their scent was strong, so they stayed nearby. It was near the rising of the great light that he smelled Stabo, Gena, Charlene, Karlene, Koren, and Young Bambi approach As they got close to their clearing, they smelled them and hurried into the clearing.

"Mother, Father," Stabo called out and his son came over and embraced his mother and then him. They all embraced which made him feel good. All looked healthy. However, only Gena had a little male fawn. He also noticed Surro, the male fawn from last year was not there.

"I glad you are all here," he said. I wanted to talk to you.

"We were going to come to see you, Stabo said. "There have been some changes here. Surro has left for the other forest over the hill. The forest Young Claris and Felon went to."

That surprised him. He thought Surro would start training this year. "Why?" he asked.

Stabo took a deep breath. "Surro was not going to be a big deer and he was never going to be a strong deer. I could see that and so could Young Bambi when we played with them. The rest of the herd saw it too and I think they teased him about it. Surro would never speak of it. Surro knew he could never be a senior male so he decided to go someplace where no one knew him or his family.

"He did not even say goodbye," Gena added. "He just left. The only way we knew where he went was we followed his scent."

He took a deep breath. Yes all his brothers and sisters were all strong, powerful deer. For some reason he was not. Finally he looked up. "That was his decision to make," he said. He then looked at the new male fawn.

"Who is this one?" he asked.

"His name is Kalen," Gena answered.

"He appears healthy enough. He is always trying to play," Stabo added.

He then looked at both Charlene and Karlene. He knew Karlene and Delon would be close and would likely become a pair. "What of you?" he asked. "Did you find a male you like."

Charlene spoke up. "No Stranger, I have found no one. All the good deer I know are already part of our family. The senior males here and in your forest do not interest me."

"You will both  find someone," he told them. You are far too pretty not to have males interested in you. "

"They are interested in me, Stranger," Charlene said. "I am not interested in them. After what you showed us, we are fairly good at keeping unwanted males away."

He laughed out loud as did the others. "Well I am sure you will find someone that will interest you. " The he stopped and looked at the other.  "Now I need to  tell all of you why I have come."

They all lay down in the clearing and he told them of his plans. Stabo seemed surprised. "Father, you are not that old," he said. "You were strong enough to take care of Razor."

"That was two seasons ago," he said. "Things I have changed since then. I have gotten older and weaker. I have decided to turn it over to Balo."

Stabo nodded and turned to Young Bambi. "You are right," he said. "Come next Season, I will turn this herd over to Young Bambi. It is his rightful place. I just wish he could find a mate."

"Like Charlene said, all the good doe are already in my family," the young male said.

"One problem at a time," he said. "Mates for your daughter and Young Bambi will come later."

With that they all bedded down for the rest of the day.

 

 

 

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