As the story goes…in a big woods not far from you, there once lived a Mr. Whitetail. He had lived with his mother, but as the days shortened and the air turned cooler, she insisted he was old enough take care of himself, for that is the way it had always been in the deer family.
In just a short time, Mr. Whitetail had grown a very nice set of much sought after antlers on that fine head of his. He was really quite proud of his accomplishment. As he would roam the big woods, the other creatures would look at him in wonder and amazement. Many would shake their head and say things such as “splendid, magnificent, what a gentleman.” Yes, Mr. Whitetail was really quite full of himself, until one day something happened…
That day Mr. Whitetail decided to take a trail that led to the far end of the big woods. He thought the little critters at that end of the woods should have the wonderful experience of seeing such a magnificent creature such as himself.
As he was nearing the clearing at the far end of the woods, he suddenly froze in his tracks! What was that hanging on that tree?!! DANGER!!! RUN!!! Turning on his heels, he ran, bounding over the creek and fallen trees, back the way he had come. You see, Mr. Whitetail had a very good memory. He knew every tree branch, stump, and rock in the woods, and when he saw this new “thing” in the woods, he knew something wasn’t right.
Well, the day before, Mr. Hunter had silently crept into that far end of the big woods and set up a small tree-stand. It was hunting season, and he had his eye on Mr. Whitetail.
So after Mr. Hunter found the perfect spot to hang his tree-stand, he also put a small block of “candy” on the ground nearby. It was Mr. Whitetail’s favorite—a mixture of corn, salt, and molasses. Yummy!
The next day Mr. Whitetail decided to walk to the far end of the big woods again. And again as he was nearing the clearing, he froze in his tracks! DANGER! Run!!! He listened to the voice of instinct that once again sent him bounding back to safety. However, the next day he made the same trek again back to the clearing. This time as he is nearing the clearing, he met Mr. Fox. He and Mr.Whitetail had become friends when they were just little tikes and had been lost together in the big woods.
That day as they walked into the clearing together, Mr. Whitetail stopped frozen in his tracks! Danger!! As he prepared to turn and run back to safety, Mr. Fox said, “Hey, don’t run. Let’s go closer and see what it is.”
Mr. Whitetail stayed where he was as Mr. Fox ran up and sniffed the tree-stand. “Aw, it’s nothing to be afraid of,” he said with a grin. “It’s tied to this tree and sure isn’t going anywhere! You’ll be okay. Just act like it’s not here.”
“Wellll, I guess it wouldn’t hurt to just walk past it on this trail,” Mr. Whitetail thought to himself. “I’ll try not to look at it.”
So heeding Mr. Fox’s council, he walked right past that tree-stand. Later, on his way home, he again walked past it. “Not bad at all,” he thought. “Mr. Fox was right. It’s nothing to be scared of.”
The next day Mr. Whitetail found the “candy.” Skunk and Weasel had found it as well. “Hey, he’p you’sef,” they said. “This stuff is good!”
Mr. Whitetail knew he shouldn’t be seen with the likes of these fellas, much less be standing around the “candy block” with them. But it looked so good and there really couldn’t be any real danger here; after all, they had figured out that the thing in the tree was safe. Throwing caution to the wind, Mr. Whitetail squeezed between the two stinky brothers and helped himself to some of the good stuff!
After a few days of walking by the tree-stand and standing at the delicious candy block, Mr. Fox and the other critters invited him to spend his nights with them at the far end of the big woods near the clearing. “It would be really nice to be closer to my new friends, and I really am enjoying the clearing,” he thought. So he decided to make his home just a short walk from the clearing.
Two days later, very early in the morning, Mr. Hunter crawled out of his cozy bed and jumped into his truck. As he drove back the long dusty road to the big woods, he had this feeling in the pit of his stomach that today was going to be a good day in the woods. Quietly he crept from the cab of his truck and gathered his gun and other hunting essentials. He tiptoed to the clearing and quietly climbed into the tree-stand.
Suddenly Mr. Whitetail jumped to his feet! What was that noise! Danger!!! Run!!! But no, the noise came from the clearing and that was where the tree-stand and the candy was. He had been walking past that tree-stand every day and spent many hours standing at the candy block with his two friends, and he had been bedding down nearby every night. Nah, it was probably just a squirrel that got up on the
wrong side of the bed. He stretched and made his way to the beloved candy. “Oh this is so good!,” he said. “And to think that I had been afraid of the . . .” BOOM!
It was a good day for Mr. Hunter but not for Mr. Whitetail.
Mr. Whitetail listened to the counsel of Mr. Fox rather than listening to the law that was written in his heart. His God-given instinct told him to run away from anything that didn’t seem right.