The Stranger: Into the Rising Light

This is the sixth and final story in the life of the Stranger. Stranger is now old. Other deer have taken over from him. He now awaits in the forest for his end which he knows will come soon. This should be a time of rest and relaxation, but old enemies and new problem once again upset Stranger's plans. How he faces these problems brings this series of stories to an end. Please let me know what you through of these stories

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9. EPILOGUE: INTO THE RISING LIGHT

 

 

Stabo walked carefully through the forest of barren trees and burnt ground.  It was still dark in the forest, but soon the greater light would rise with a new day. The forest he remembered as a fawn was gone, but he could see some signs it was growing back. He did see some signs of life coming from the trees. Many trees however looked dead and showed no life. He also started noting the greening of the ground near the bare trees. Some small bushes were starting to grow. Small trees were growing. Life would come back to this forest, but it would taken longer than he would be alive to be fully restored to what it was.

"Stabo, I have found some of his scent over here," Stelar said her head close to the ground. "It is very faint, but I smell it.

Although he had been reluctant to bring Stelar along with him, she had insisted she come. She even forced Helos to accept that. It was still early enough in the winter where her growing fawn would not bother her. As soon as be brought the herd back from their hiding place she had been bothering him to find their father. He did not have much hope of finding him alive. He never came back after he told Stelar he was going to warn Uttral about the Men. He doubted at his age if he could have lived through hunting. They had hoped after their racks had fallen out during the first part of winter that he would come back. They had heard the sound of many killing stick in this part of the old forest just after he left. That noise lasted several days. The fact that they had smelled bear meat being burnt had not added to his hope they find father alive.

"Stabo, many Men went his way," Stelar told him.

They followed the path for a while until he saw something that made him stop. There was a worn path of dried blood on the ground. He went up and smelled it; it had the smell of Man. This was Man blood. A Man had been hurt here.  There was a trail of Man blood that went up hill. He and Stelar followed it until they came to a small clearing. In that clearing were many patches of blood. He smelled a couple and the scents was that of dogs. Then he heard Stelar  cry out.

"No," she whimpered and turned quickly away from him.

He walked over to where she was standing and smelled at another pool of dried blood. He could clearly smell his father's scent. He closed his eyes and tried not to weep in front of his sister. It did little good.

He saw Stelar suddenly pick up her head. Just then an odor of wet fur and fat came across him. It was not the scent of the bear. It was Uttral.

"Uttral, it is Stelar and Stabo," Stelar called out.

A large back object came through the trees toward them at a slow walk. She looked alright. He saw no one else with her. She was alone and she walked with hesitation.

"Stabo," she growled.

He walked up to the bear and bowed his head slightly. "Uttral, we have come to look for my father. After he came to warn you, we never saw him again."

"Your father is gone," Uttral said. "I am sorry."

It was all he could do to keep from sobbing out loud.  "What happened?" he asked her.

"Your father came here to warn me. My father had fled his old den and came here because Man had hunted near there. Stranger told us Man would come here and then he told us where to run. He was too old and could not run any longer so he stayed here. He told us that Man would kill him and in that time we could get away. Both my father and I walked toward the hill where you hid your herd several seasons ago. My father then stopped and told me to keep going. He said he would not let Man kill Stranger and went back after him. The dogs and Man had already found Stranger. My father attacked the Man and the dogs and hurt or killed many of them. It was too late for Stranger. He had been hit by a killing stick. He was only able to go a little ways before he fell down and died.

He closed his eyes that were watering heavily. "What happened to my father after that?"

"It was strange," Uttral went on. "He told my father that after he was dead, if me or my father wanted to eat him, we could. Better us than Man eating him he said. My father could not do that. He dug a small den near here and put Stranger into it and then covered it with dirt.  This way Man would not find him or burn him. As my father told me, Stranger came from the forest and now had gone back to the forest along with Claris, Bambi, Faline and all the others. If you want, I can show you where it is."

Stelar looked at him and he shook his head no. "It does not matter where he is," he said in a low voice. "He is gone and that is all that matters. Thank you Uttral."

"Is your father here," Stelar asked.  

It was Uttral this time that wept openly. "After that, many Men and Many dogs came. I think they were angry that my father had hurt or killed a Man. They came after us.  They went all through the forest. There was no place to hide from them. My father told me to leave the forest and follow the stream to Bambi's old forest. He said hide in the open area next to the hills. He then stayed and when the dogs and Men found him, he fought them. I did not see that. I only found a spot with a large pool of blood with my father's scent in it. My father is gone now also."

"No, the bear too," Stelar said and openly wept.

There was nothing more to do. Both of them were gone now. He hoped where ever they went they would all be happy now. He did not know. He still had a herd to take care up and new deer to teach. He walked over very close to Uttral.

"My father and your father believed that we could help each other. I am still willing to do this if you want. Your  father  and my father were good friends no matter how strange that sounds. I will be your friend if you want it."

"Me too," Stelar said.

Uttral stopped crying and looked at them with a smile. "I would like that very much.  I am going to go over the hill to the other forest to dig a den and hunt, and I will be back after my winter's  sleep. If you two wish to approach me, I will not harm you.  You will teach this to your children and I will teach this to mine. In that way, the best of our fathers will go on. My father said his purpose and Stranger's purpose to be here was to make things better for all that live in the forest."

"That is what they both wanted," he said.

"Yes," Stelar agreed.

"Thank you for coming," Utrral said and turned away.

 In the increasing light of a new day he watched her walk away. He was happy now. He found out what he needed to know. As his father had said, the old would pass and the new would take over. That was 'The Way of All Things he liked to say. They may have all passed, but not all was lost. What they taught would go on.  He felt comfort in that.

"Come Stelar, it is time to go home," he called to his sister.

She followed him also smiling now. He looked down the hill across the meadow. The light was coming up over the hill as they moved down to their forest. He was sad, but he was also happy. Uttral was right. Not only their fathers, but the best of all of them would go on. He took more comfort in that thought. With greater happiness than he felt for a long time, he walked down the hill and into the rising light.

 

THE END

 

 

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