The Parable of the Old Man and the Deer

I was having a tough time coming up with an idea for a post today, so I started browsing through some of the stuff I wrote in college. What follows is a short story I wrote in 1999.

Parable of the Old Man and The Deer

An old man lived in a rustic hut, deep in the forest. He would often see deer run through the thick woods that surrounded his home, but they would never stop. One day, in the hopes of seeing one of the creatures up close, he left a plate of vegetables sitting near his home and watched through a window until, after several hours had passed, a doe stopped and ate.

The next day, the man left another pile of vegetables sitting in the same place, hoping that the deer would return. This time, though, he sat motionless outside his cabin to await her arrival. She returned at about the same time she had come the day before. He knew it was the same doe by the string of successively larger spots that trailed down her back from her left shoulder. Approaching the food, she sensed the man’s presence and stopped, her muscles becoming perfectly rigid. Suddenly, she bolted into the snowy forest.

But the man still did not move. He waited until the hungry doe finally returned and nibbled at the food. Still uncomfortable with the man’s proximity, she left having eaten only a very small portion of the man’s offering. He gathered up the remainder and took it inside with him until the next day, when he put it, replenished with more vegetables and a couple of sugar cubes, in the same place.

The doe approached the plate tensely and tentatively, but ate everything, sugar first. After finishing, she looked at the man for several seconds before she abruptly turned and ran.

In this manner, a relationship was formed. Each day, the man would leave the doe food; and each day, she would come eat it, not caring that the man was always a tiny bit closer than he had been the day before. But still she would not let him touch her. Whenever he would try, she would bolt.

So it went, until one spring morning when Daisy Doe (as he had named the fine-looking specimen) ate a carrot from his hand. Several weeks later, she let him stroke her forehead, with two fingers, very gently. Daisy found that she enjoyed his touch and allowed him to pat her each day when she returned, after she had eaten her meal.

The sun hung high in the blue June sky when Daisy laid her head upon the man’s lap. He worked her sore muscles gently with his fingers, easing out her pain with his skillful touch. Soon, she had drifted off to sleep.

The man ate venison for dinner. This is the way the Devil works.

3 Responses to “The Parable of the Old Man and the Deer”

  1. Jim Says:

    So the lesson here is don’t eat vegetables?

  2. MEJ Says:

    Ugh. Nothing personal, but maybe next time you are without material you could take the day off?? Or provide another great answer to a reader email!

  3. Bobby Says:

    I believe the lesson to be learned here is…”Beware the kind stranger”

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