Fawn Who Played Dead
a time, there was a herd of forest deer. In this herd was a wise
and respected teacher, cunning in the ways of deer. He taught
the tricks and strategies of survival to the young fawns.
One day, his
younger sister brought her son to him, to be taught what is so
important for deer. She said, "Oh brother teacher, this is
my son. Please teach him the tricks and strategies of deer."
The teacher said to the fawn, "Very well, you can come at
this time tomorrow for your first lesson."
deer came to the lessons as he was supposed to. When others cut
classes to spend all day playing, he remained and paid attention
to the good teacher. He was well-liked by the other young bucks
and does, but he only played when his class work was complete.
Being curious to learn, he was always on time for the lessons.
He was also patient with the other students, knowing that some
learn more quickly than others. He respected the teacher deer
for his knowledge, and was grateful for his willingness to share
One day, the
fawn stepped in a trap in the forest and was captured. He cried
out in great pain. This frightened the other fawns, who ran back
to the herd and told his mother. She was terrified, and ran to
her brother the teacher. Trembling with fear, crying big tears,
she said to him, "Oh my dear brother, have you heard the
news that my son has been trapped by a hunter's snare? How can
I save my little child's life? Did he study well in your presence?"
said, "My sister, don't be afraid. I have no doubt he will
be safe. He studied hard and always did his very best. He never
missed a class and always paid attention. Therefore, there is
no need to have doubt or pain in your heart. He will not be hurt
by any human being. Don't worry. I am confident he will return
to you and make you happy again. He has learned all the tricks
and strategies used by deer to cheat the hunters. So be patient.
He will return!"
the trapped fawn was thinking, "All my friends were afraid
and ran away. There is no one to help me get out of this deadly
trap. Now I must use the tricks and strategies I learned from
the wise teacher who taught so well."
The deer strategy
he decided to use was the one called, "playing dead."
First, he used his hoofs to dig up the dirt and grass, to make
it look like he had tried very hard to escape. Then he relieved
his bowels and released his urine, because this is what happens
when a deer is caught in a trap and dies in very great fear. Next,
he covered his body with his own saliva.
out on his side, he held his body rigidly and stiffened his legs
out straight. He turned up his eyes, and let his tongue hang out
of the side of his mouth. He filled his lungs with air and puffed
out his belly. Finally, with his head leaning on one side, he
breathed through the nostril next to the ground, not through the
he looked so much like a stiff corpse that flies flew around him,
attracted by the awful smells. Crows stood nearby waiting to eat
it was early morning and the hunter came to inspect his traps.
Finding the fawn who was playing dead, he slapped the puffed up
belly and found it stiff. Seeing the flies and the mess he thought,
"Ah, it has already started to stiffen. He must have been
trapped much earlier this morning. No doubt the tender meat is
already starting to spoil. I will skin and butcher the carcass
right here, and carry the meat home."
Since he completely believed the deer was dead, he removed and
cleaned the trap, and began spreading leaves to make a place to
do the butchering. Realizing he was free, the fawn suddenly sprang
to his feet. He ran like a little cloud blown by a swift wind,
back to the comfort and safety of his mother. The whole herd celebrated
his survival, thanks to learning so well from the wise teacher.
moral is: Well-learned lessons bring great