A Tale Begins in the Book of Deer

Jane’s Book Of Deer 1 – art by Jane Valencia (c) 2009

Once upon a time a deer wandered down from the hills to a village. So captivated was she by the goings-on that she witnessed there, that she decided to become human.

And once she became human, she forgot all about her original nature. And though she had come down to the village, enchanted by the dancing, the singing, the games, the storytelling ’round the fire, when she wandered as a young woman among the people, she found that she though she tried to talk as they did, she had no voice.

Now, two old folk at the market, noticed her distress as she attempted to ask for an apple and could not. They recognized something in her like the spark of the central village fire, and so they spoke to her, and coaxed her to join them for a meal, and then to stay they night. And one night passed into day and then into night, and in time they took her in as their daughter.

And as they taught her the ways of the village, and attempted to help her speak in other ways, with her hands, they began to realize how attentively she listened. It was as if her whole being trembled to her ears when she drank in the sounds of hearth, of field, of roads, of market.

And when the birds sang in the garden it was as if they sang a special message to her — they’d face her with tilted heads and warble a song. But she would slowly shake her head, as if she sensed that she no longer understood a language that had once been as commonplace to her as a mother tongue.

And the old man and old woman wondered ….

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