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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3. GHOSTS FROM THE PAST

 

 

A few days  after his talk with Stabo, they were all out on the meadow putting the final touches on the regular training to Koren, Charlene, Karlene, Young Bambi, Young Faline, Delon and Stuben. The training was some mild sparing and practice kicking. Soon he would start the final phase of their training and then he be done. It was mid spring, and the weather was mild with some rain in the afternoon.  He had just come onto the meadow with Bambi, Faline, Carie and Claris and young Stelar. He saw Stuben stop and suddenly turn to face the Man cave. As he turned, he saw a large male walking out onto the meadow across from the Man cave. The training suddenly stopped. He looked at the new male carefully. He wasn’t from this herd and he did not look like any male he knew from the Man path forest. The male looked maybe three or four years old and in the prime of life. He was tall, heavily muscled, and he could already see a large rack starting to grow. He walked over to Bambi and Faline.

“He is not from around here. Could he have come from your old forest?” he asked Bambi.

“He looks familiar, but he did not come from my forest,” Bambi answered. “I would have known a male like that.”

Now Balo, Stuben, Koren, Young Bambi, and Delon approached them looking at the male. “Do you know who he is Father?” Stuben asked.

“No,” he said. “I wonder if he is one of the males from over the hill in the forest Felon and Young Claris went to?”

“We did not fight him when Razor came, I know that,” Balo said.

He knew they could stand here and wonder all night. It would do them no good. There was one way to find out. He looked at Bambi. “Care to introduce ourselves?”

“I do not mind,” Bambi said with a smile.

He looked back at the other five males. “You all stay here. If there are more of them and they come out, then come in quickly, but I do not think he has friends.”

The others nodded and he and Bambi walked over slowly. The other male didn’t more, didn’t show any sign of threat. He was studying them as intently as they were studying him. They walked up until they were within three lengths of the strange deer. The deer looked right at them. “You must be Stranger and Bambi,” he said in a deep voice.

Bambi froze in place looking shocked. “He sounds like my Father.” 

“Not your Father,” the deer said. “More likely your son. I am Galin. My Father was Geno, your son.”

Bambi continued to look stunned for a moment. He then walked forward sniffing the air around the large male. “Yes, Geno’s scent is with you.”

“You come from the forest over the hill and across the large open field?” he asked.

“Yes, I crossed the large open field. It took me two days of careful movement. Man is not in the forest at this time so it was safe. I wanted to come here and meet you both.”

“Did my son send you?” Bambi asked suspiciously.

“No,” he said abruptly. “Bambi your son and my Father Geno is dead. He died last winter of illness. I came on my own.”

 Bambi stopped and dropped his head. The large black eyes closed. “Another one,” he said almost sobbing. “My children are fewer and fewer.”

He walked up to his old friend and rubbed his flank. “I am sorry,” he said. Then he looked at Galin and asked, ”Why have you come here?”

“That is a story I would like to tell, but I can see the five large males looking anxious. I take it those are the males you are training.

“And some of the doe too,” he answered.

“Interesting,” Galin said. “My Father told me you could not train doe. My Father said it be a waste of time to even try and train them. They would not understand what they were learning.”

Bambi looked up harshly. “In that and a great many other things, your Father was wrong.”

“I know that,” Galin said as a matter of fact. “My Father believed in strength and power. He always felt like that was the best way to rule. He was wrong as I found out and so did he when it was too late, but that is part of my story.”

“Very well,” he told Galin. “If you have not come here to challenge or cause trouble then you are welcome here.”

“I thank the herd leader,” Galin said.

He took Galin over to the rest of his family and introduced him. The shock was universal all except Faline. She did not even have to be introduced before she saw and smelled him and ran over to him and embraced him.

“You look and smell like my son returned,” she said and kissed him as a mother would.

“Faline!” Bambi called out. “Later, Galin has a story to tell and I think it would interest all of us to hear it.”

He nodded; he was still uncomfortable around this new male. “OK, let us get everyone together and go to the pond. It is more open and we can fit everyone in.”

It took a little while to get everyone there. After they all arrived Galin stood and addressed them as he would friends.

“Thank you for your invitation," he said first. At least he was trying to be polite. He then went on in a strong powerful voice. "After my Father was told to leave this forest, he traveled to the large forest over you hill above us. That forest is similar to this one only it is much bigger and has three meadows and a much larger herd. There was no real herd leader, but an old large male Asar was considered the strongest and all the deer paid attention to him. “My Father came and Asar saw him as a threat. My mother told me, Geno said he has no interest in being herd leader, but he was not going to be thrown out again. Asar tried to push his weight against Geno who pushed back and told Asar he fight him there and then if he wanted. Asar saw he was not afraid and seeing my Father was a large male like him, he laughed and said any male who fight him was either very brave or very stupid. Asar and my Father decided not to fight and Geno became one of the lead males. Rignor the next senior males in that herd did not like it and went after Geno. Geno beat him so badly that he died soon afterward. Mother told me he beat him with ease. After that no one bothered my Father and he got along with Asar. In fact he even mated with Aslene, Asar’s younger sister and my mother.”

"I was born four seasons ago and for the first two seasons things were fine. No one bothered me or my mother because no one wanted to anger either Asar or Geno. During this time things worked well. My Father and Asar did not like each other, but it was like what Father told me about Bambi and Ronno, and how they agreed to live peacefully with each other. The next season my sister Galene was born and that year passed peacefully. The next season my sister Garla was born along with my brother Garten. Things were fine until The Season came with Man. The hunt was large and many deer were killed. Asar did not know what to do, but Geno took the herd and went deep into the forest where Man could not find us. As a result, no more deer were killed. After that all the deer started to ask my Father questions and ask his advice on what to do. This bothered Asar greatly. He was used to being herd leader and having his way. This spring my mother died having a fawn that was born dead. Asar blamed my Father and things got worse and worse. Finally at The Season Asar started yelling at my Father for looking at the same doe he was interested in. Their yelling led to a fight. The fight was terrible; both would not give way and fought longer than they should of. My Father killed Asar, but was injured badly during the fight. He had a hard time getting around. When the cold came, he got the fever and died. That was last winter.”

He could see Faline did not take that well. He had always felt that Faline hoped Geno learn his lessons and come back one day. He was her first born along with Gurri. Now they were both dead. She lay next to Bambi and turned her head away from them.

“What about the rest of the deer?” he asked. “What are they doing?”

“Nothing much," Galin added. "They eat, drink, and breed and go on their way. There is no direction so they all look out for themselves. I hate to think what will happen when Man comes back to hunt during The Season.”

“Then who is herd leader there now?” Bambi asked.

Galin shook his head no. “No one really; there is just a group of males constantly fighting. That is why my sisters, young brother and I came here.”

“Your family,” Faline called out. “Your family is here?”

“Yes,” he said. “I told them to stay hidden because I was not sure we would be welcomed on account of my Father.”

He got up slowly and spoke directly at Galin. “I will not lie to you. Your Father was not liked because of what he did with Bambi and him trying to put his deer in charge here. That is why Bambi and I chased him away. You and your sisters and brother did not do any of these things so you are welcomed. You may go get them and bring them here.”

“I will get them now,” he said and left in a hurry.

Everyone kept silent until Galin was far away as not to overhear. “Stranger, do you trust him?” Balo asked.

“For now yes, but let us watch them,” he told them all.

He then turned and faced Bambi. “You and Faline have more to say about this than any of us. They are your family. What do you think?”

Bambi just nodded. “Stranger, I agree with you. What I feel for all of them is mixed with what I felt for Geno. They cannot help being Geno’s children, but they have done nothing to harm us. I think you are right, Stranger, we welcome them and watch them.”

“Does anyone else have an opinion?” he asked the group.

 

"They are my family also," Young Bambi said. "If they act well, then I would gladly accept them in our forest. I am sure Stabo would also agree."

"I know I agree," Young Faline spoke out.

There was silence after that so he took it that the rest of his family agreed. They retold the story of when Bambi got so mad at Krono he almost killed him and other stories about Geno that would not have pleased Galin.  He again reminded his family that these were Geno’s children, not Geno. Then he smelled several deer approach. Into the clearing walked Galene, an older doe, and then a two-year old brother and sister. His jaw almost dropped and so did Bambi’s and Claris'. Galene was almost the exact image of Faline when she was her age. It was uncanny. She had the same graceful lines, the same perfectly formed body. She was a delight that any male would want. The other doe Garla was also very nice looking. Her brother Garten was a nice size deer, but would not get as big as his older brother.  He stood up again.

“Welcome Galene, Garla and Garten” he said. Please lie down over there. I still have some questions for your brother.

“You are the one they call Stranger?” Garlene asked. Her voice was a little gritty, not like Faline’s smooth voice.

“Yes,” he said with a nod and went on to introduce everyone else in his family group. “You must forgive our stares, but you look exactly like Faline when she was your age.”

“You mean my Father’s mother he told me about?” she asked.

“Yes, my child,” Faline said and got up and looked her over before looking over Garla and Garten. “Yes, you are all Geno’s sons and daughters for sure. I smell his scent in yours. I am so happy to meet all of you.” With that Faline embraced all of them like they were her own fawns. That relaxed things considerably.

Young Bambi stood up and walked over to his sister who also rose. "My name is also Bambi and this is my sister who is also named Faline. We are children of Veron who was Bambi and Faline's second son. I regret to say our father was killed during the hunts. We welcome the new members of the family."

He looked at them together. Young Bambi was a little smaller than Galine, but much stronger looking than Garten. Young Faline was as big as Galene,

After everyone greeted the new pair and they all lay back down he started asking questions. “Tell me Galin, why have you come to our forest? Do you wish to live here?”

“No, Stranger,” I want to go back to my old forest, but I want to learn from you and Bambi how to be a good herd leader. Right now no one leads the herd and it suffers because of it especially during The Season and the hunts. I want to stop that. We had heard of both of you and know of your wisdom and teachings. I would like you to teach that to us.”

“How do you know of us?” he asked.

“It is not that hard,” Galin answered “From the end of our forest, it is a one night walk to a smaller forest that lies near Bambi’s old forest. Sometime we get deer from Bambi’s old forest and we hear the stories like what you did to Tarro. We also heard how you train the new herd leader Gorro. We need a herd leader like that in our forest and we both figured this be the only way to get it.”

That caught him by surprise. Geno would have never cared about learning how to lead despite Bambi’s teaching. Bambi looked at him and then looked at them nodding his approval.

“This training you ask for is not easy, and takes times,” Bambi spoke seriously. “There is not enough time to complete it this season.  If you stay over winter and into next spring we can do this. It would please me to teach you. I tried to teach your Father, and that never worked out.”

“So we would not be back for the hunts after The Season,” Galene said.

“Yes,” Bambi told her. “I know that will mean another season of hunts, but you will be back to try and help out in the seasons to come. All the deer you see here have been taught or are being taught. You will join them. If you want, we will start tonight.

Galin looked at his brother and sisters. They all nodded. “If you are willing to teach, then we are willing to learn,” Galene said.

That settles that,” he said. “It is getting toward light. We will rest here as a family today and start tonight.”

They all bedded down and as a group and slept together.  He was happy his family was getting so large. At least there would be more to take over after him. That thought comforted him as he fell asleep.

That night he got up with the others. After they all went to the meadow to eat and drink he spoke for a while with Bambi and then called everyone together.

"Bambi will take Galin and Garten start teaching them. He will start on how to move quietly and how to keep Man from Tracking you. Stena, I would like you, Claris and Carie to take Galene and Garla and start showing them how to defend themselves. Balo, I would like you to come with me. It is time we started the last of the training for Young Bambi, Koren, Delon and Stuben. This training we do in private so we will go to the clearing. Are there any questions?"

There were none. He took his group and went to the clearing. When he got them there he started on them. "You have learned most of what you need to know as senior males and herd leaders. I have no doubt any of you could defeat any male in either this forest or the Man path forest outside of this family. What we taught you was normal fighting. We use that when we fight other males for mates and leadership. There is another type of fighting we only use when others try and come to hurt or kill like Tarro and Razor. This is what Balo and I will start to show you now."

All four younger deer started to smile. He knew they had always wanted to know how to fight other deer like this, but he had waited until they were all well trained with regular fighting. It was easier to learn that way.

"What we are about to show you can easily kill other deer. Other deer can also use it to kill you. Never use it unless you find yourself in a fight to the death. Then you must kill your opponent before he kills you."

He started with kicks to the mouth, and neck that can cut open a deer. Then kicks into the stomach and then he started on the stomp. They all got in a lot of practice that night, but it was tiring. He was getting too old to do this much longer. Near the rising of the greater light, they all went back to the clearing.

The others were already there. He motioned to Bambi to follow him. When they were away from the others he asked.  "How where they?"

"They seem eager to learn. I think Galin is as strong as I or Geno ever was. Garten is not as big or strong as Galin and most likely never will be. He can be a senior male in the herd, but he is not big enough or strong enough to be a leader. During some sparing I saw some of the things I taught Geno and then he taught his sons. For normal fighting they are fairly well trained. What they do not have is any idea how to lead a herd."

"What about the doe?" he asked.

"They were taught nothing so everything that Stena showed them was new to them. They will learn, but it will take time."

 That was more than he expected. "Very well,' he said. "I think you should teach them how to avoid Man and maybe some fighting. How to be a herd leader we will do over the winter."

Things did not change much for the remainder of the spring. Sometimes Faline, would talk to Galene alone after taking her into the forest. Questions were many and whenever possible answered as best that they could. Even the bear came down once in a while. The first time it scared Galin, Garten, Garla and Galene almost out of their wits, especially when he started to talk to the large bear. It took some convincing for them to get close, not that he blamed them a bit.

Things went well until early summer. "One night Bambi had all of them all together in the meadow. “Tonight we are going to go over pushing back and kicks again,” he told them.

“Stuben, you and Delon lock together and try and try to get one another on the ground.”

“Stuben and Delon got close together and locked at the shoulder and started to push each other around. They were evenly matched with Stuben being a little bigger. Both tried to trip and kick each other, not to hurt, but to exercise. The others had seen this, but Galin watched in fascination. In a short while Stuben and Delon had managed to put each other on the ground, Stuben by pushing Delon off balance, and Delon by tripping Stuben. Then he had both Young Faline and Charlene do the same thing. If anything the doe were more aggressive than the two males and after a while, neither could get an advantage. He then repeated the exercise with Young Bambi and Koren. Again both locked at the shoulder and after a while he could see no one was getting an advantage no matter what tricks they used on each other. Finally, he had Balo and Galin do it. Balo was able to throw Galin to the ground twice, but it was not easy. After they were done, Galin came up to Bambi.

“Bambi, I understand why you are trying to teach the males,” Galin said. “Males fight for mates and leadership. I do not understand why you teach the doe. They do not fight for either.”

“That is quite true, but there is another reason,” Bambi said and looked around “Charlene, come here please.”

Charlene came forward and stood in front of Bambi. Galin, I want you to come over and try and push Charlene onto the ground like so many males do.”

“I am not like that,” Galin said seeming sounding angry at what he was being asked to do.

“I know that,” Bambi said flatly. “Otherwise you would not be here. I do this to show you, your two sisters, and brother something. Now please do what I ask.”

Galin walked over and then leaned reluctantly over Charlene and tried to use his weight to push her down. It was obvious he was much stronger, but as he applied his weight onto to her back Charlene stepped aside quickly and in one motion brought her leg under Galin knocking out his front legs. Galin’s weight worked against him and he fell face first on the ground. Before he could get up she went over and kicked him lightly in the side. She then jumped back quickly and let the confused and embarrassed male get to his feet.

Galin shot up looking angry for a moment. For a second he through the male might attack her. Galin then stopped and looked down at the ground he just got up from. He then raised his head and suddenly laughed out loud. “I understand, Bambi,” he said. “Yes that might work once on a male.”

“I can use that moment to get away from you,” Charlene said calmly. ”We doe cannot fight males, but we can certainly discourage them.”

“Yes, I see you can,” Galin said and walked over to Charlene and kissed her on the side of the check before she could move. “Males can have surprises too,” he said with a grin on his face.

Bambi then showed Galene how to do that. Young Bambi offered to be used as a partner.  He let Galene trip him and then showed her how she could do it better. Then Koren did the same to Garla and Delon did it with Karlene. Both Bambi and he looked at each other and suppressed a smile. This was certainly interesting.

The lessons went on that night and for other nights. It was pleasing to see them getting along. He knew that Stuben, Delone, Karlene and Charlene would soon be done with their training. Then they have to learn by experience. He used the rest of the spring to show the others how to avoid Man and his dogs. It did not escape him that both Galin and Galene had taken a fancy toward Charlene and Young Bambi, as Koren had done to Garla. It was obvious that Stuben and Young Faline, as well as Delon and Karlene were going to be pairs, come The Season. If the others paired up, he would not complain.

It was very nice to have a growing family.

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