6. The Deer That Saved Its Rescuer
The murmuring brook in the green forest flowed past glorious wild flowers which decorated the little house there.
The sun shone high in the sky. Suddenly, a deer raced into the courtyard of the house, where a little boy was playing. The deer hooked the boy’s clothing with its antlers. This scared the little boy so much he let out a howl that brought his mother running out to see what the matter was. She came out just in time to see the deer running off toward the mountains with her little boy.
Of course the boy’s mother was horrified! She ran after the deer as fast as she could go, and not too far away, she found her little boy sitting safely on the grass. When he saw his mother coming, the little boy laughed and stretched out his arms to her. His mother scooped him up. She was so happy that she cried.
She hurried back to their home with her precious son. When she got there, she stopped dead in her tracks, amazed at what she saw. The huge tree behind their house had toppled over while she was out chasing after her son. The whole house was crushed under its enormous weight. The walls were squashed, and all the roofing tiles were smashed into powder. The chickens and dogs in the house were all dead. If she and her little boy had been home…
Then the little boy’s mother remembered the day about a year before when a deer fleeing a hunter had run into her house. She felt sorry for the poor, frightened deer, so she covered it with some clothes. When the hunter rushed in after his quarry, he couldn’t find it. He thought it must have gone out the back door, so he kept chasing it, and when he was far, far away, she uncovered the deer and let it return to the forest.
The deer seemed to understand that she had saved its life, because as it left, it kept bowing its head to her, as if thanking her for her mercy.
She never imagined that the deer could remember her kindness. The deer somehow knew the tree was going to fall and crush her, so it came back to show its gratitude.
When the boy’s mother remembered all this, she said, “Saving the life of another is the same as saving your own life.”