March 05, 2016
As we know, the juvenile male fawn is destined to lose most if not all of his characteristic spots, and eventually grow a majestic set of antlers. But how exactly did this animal acquire this crown of horns?
In the Disney film adaptation, Bambi, one of the young fawn's best friends is a rabbit called Thumper, but according to the Native American mythology of the Cherokee people, long ago these two animals were more competitors than friends, and they once competed for a very special prize indeed...
A long, long time ago the behaviour of animals was quite different from how we know them to be today. Back then, an animal could have the same characteristics as a human person: they could be shy and bashful, or flamboyant, and even boastful. Pride had got the better of two of these animals, the rabbit and the deer, and this resulted in the two of them having a heated argument over who was the fastest runner.
The other animals grew tired of all their kerfuffle, and a bear decided that the two of them should have a race to see who was the fastest runner so the whole thing could be put to bed! Being declared the fastest runner wasn't enough of a prize for the arrogant rabbit, so a beaver was given the task to carve a lovely set of antlers which would be presented to the winner. It was decided that they would race from one end of a wood to the other but, being unfamiliar with the lay of the land, the rabbit asked if he could just have a quick look in the wood so as to see the various routes and trails.
The rabbit spent so long navigating inside the wood that the other animals began to worry, and one of them was sent in to see if the rabbit was ok; which resulted in the naughty rabbit being caught red-handed, cheating! Yes, the whole time the rabbit had been gnawing away at the woodland undergrowth in an attempt to clear his path for faster access. On hearing this the animals declared the rabbit the loser for his antics, and the proud, but honest deer, was declared the winner by default and awarded the magnificent antlers.
To this day a deer will lose his antlers once a year to remind him that he didn't always have a head of horns, and so he is also reminded of the importance of fair play.
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