Introduction: This story was written back in 2006 by the new-deceased Terry Gardner. He worked as a clinical social worker all the way up to the time of his death. He also was a published author. This Four Directions story, as he called them, is shared in his memory and with permission of his widow, Lin Gardner.
This is one of seven stories he created that he designated as being from the East.
The rabbits and the deer were having a huge argument about which animal family was the most cowardly. Eagle, with the help of the Wind Beings, helped calm everyone down. That way, they could get to the real truth as they met in the Council Ring.
Argument between the Deer and Rabbits– a story from the East
© 2006 by Terry & Lin Gardner; Re-told and re-formatted with the permission of his widow, Lin Gardner, by Debbie Dunn
The loud shouting and screams awakened Ellen Eagle. She pulled her head from underneath her huge wing and peered around her huge nest. She stretched her head, neck, and wings. She gradually woke up enough to hear the shouting and screams.
“NO! We’re not scaredy cats. You are scaredy cats!” came from the far shore of Beaver pond in Master Forest.
An opposing shout thundered through the air, “You’re wrong! You’re the scaredy cats. Do you want us to prove it?”
Eagle listened briefly and said, “I’d better check this out. This sounds like some major trouble in Master Forest.”
Eagle preened her feathers and stretched her huge wings. She launched herself from her nest into the air and caught an air updraft. She shot straight up and smiled. She loved to fly. She swiftly followed the sounds of the shouting.
When Eagle reached the site of the shouting, she could hardly believe her sharp eyes and ears. She saw at least 75 rabbits lined up. They faced an opposing line of deer 50 feet away. The rabbits were stomping their rear legs on the ground in unison and shouting simultaneously, “You are! We’re not!”
The deer were equally determined. They reared up as one deer and came down stomping their front legs to the ground at the same moment. Eagle heard the deer taunting the rabbits, “Chicken, chicken, chicken!!”
Eagle swooped down and circled the two lines four times. Then, only ten feet off the ground, she flew down the center line between the rabbits and deer. The rabbits and deer saw her and instantly fell silent.
Eagle called out, “What is going on here? This is not the Master Forest I know.”
The deer looked at each other. The rabbits looked at each other. The deer and rabbits looked at each other. The deer looked back at one particular deer – Debbie Deer. The rabbits looked back at one particular rabbit – Richard Rabbit. Eagle looked at everyone.
Eagle called out, “Debbie Deer and Richard Rabbit, please step forward and come with me NOW!”
Debbie Deer and Richard Rabbit dropped their heads and slowly followed Eagle to the Council Ring of Master Forest. They reached the Council and immediately began shouting at each other.
Debbie Deer yelled, “You’re a chicken!”
Richard Rabbit stomped his foot and retorted, “You’re a scaredy cat!”
Eagle just shook her head and knew she had to take some drastic action. She screeched in a peculiar way three times. The Wind Beings heard her and immediately circled the Council Ring. They danced around harder and harder so the trees bent in half.
The Wind Beings danced so hard that Debbie Deer and Richard Rabbit could not hear each other. Each one grabbed a tree and hung onto the tree as tightly as possible. The Wind Beings looked to Eagle high above them. Eagle smiled and nodded.
The Wind Beings laughed and danced as hard as they could. They danced so hard that Debbie Deer and Richard Rabbit lost their grips on their trees and were both blown toward Beaver Lake.
All the deer and rabbits saw their leaders flying over their heads and started laughing together. They completely forgot their fighting from just fifteen minutes earlier.
Eagle nodded her head and the Wind Beings stopped their dancing. Debbie Deer and Richard Rabbit immediately fell into Beaver Lake with two huge SPLASHES!
All the deer and rabbits ran to the edge of Beaver Lake. Debbie Deer and Richard Rabbit were slowly climbing out of the lake.
Eagle glided to the branch of a nearby tree and asked, “Are you two ready to listen and talk with each other now? I see you are both okay.”
Debbie Deer and Richard Rabbit looked at each other and then turned to Eagle. Debbie Deer spoke first, “Eagle, I’m ready to talk.”
Richard Rabbit finished shaking the water out of his fur and replied, “Yes, Eagle. You really got my attention that time.”
Eagle smiled slightly and said, “That was my purpose when I called upon the Wind Beings for help. Now, let’s go back to the Council Ring. That’s a place of calm discussion and peaceful and loving growth.”
Debbie Deer shook her head and remarked, “It’s calm, peaceful, and loving most of the time. I NEVER saw such a turmoil there when the Wind Beings came to us.”
Eagle observed, “The Wind Beings just increased the turmoil from you two. I’ll see you at the Council Ring. I STRONGLY suggest you arrive ready to talk calmly.”
Debbie Deer and Richard Rabbit strongly agreed, “We will!! We will!!!”
Debbie Deer and Richard Rabbit entered the Council Ring from the East. They passed Eagle who was perched on a small tree at the eastern entrance to the Council Ring. All the rabbits and deer formed four rings around the Council Ring.
Eagle opened the talk, “Now, please tell me what was going on. Remember, you are in a place of deliberation, calmness, caring, respect, and love.”
Richard Rabbit spoke first, “Ah, …, well, …, we rabbits got carried away. We tried to prove we have courage even though we run away from danger most of the time.”
Debbie Deer shook her head and looked sad. She said, “We deer wished to prove we are braver than the rabbits. My friends and family were NOT going to back down from our attempts to prove our point.”
Eagle asked plainly but kindly, “Tell me if anyone won this argument.”
Debbie Deer and Richard Rabbit shook their heads. Debbie Deer commented, “I thought we had the truth about rabbits and us. I thought we were much braver than the rabbits.”
Richard Rabbit hopped into the talk, “And I thought we had the truth about deer. They run far away but we only run a little way away and then hide to see what is going on.”
Eagle approvingly smiled and encouraged Debbie Deer and Richard Rabbit, “You both are taking some very important steps. Debbie Deer, you thought you had the only truth. Richard Rabbit, you thought the same thing.”
Debbie Deer and Richard Rabbit smiled broadly when they realized they were back in the good graces of Eagle. Eagle was not fun when she was angry.
Eagle knew of their courage as they talked with her and said, “You both show courage as you talk with each other and me. Let’s look at Truth some more. Each of you has your own truth. Is that right?”
Debbie Deer answered, “Yes. I see how there are as many truths as there are rabbits and deer.”
Richard Rabbit agreed. “I see how each of us has our own truth. Not all rabbits think the deer are scaredy cats.”
Debbie Deer began pawing the ground and Eagle quickly said, “Debbie Deer, you don’t have to accept the words of Richard Rabbit unless you agree with them. If you know what you believe, you know your truth.”
Debbie Deer stopped pawing the ground and looked thoughtful. She replied, “I see your point, Eagle. I don’t really think Richard Rabbit called me a scaredy cat anyway. He no longer believes that.”
Eagle asked Richard Rabbit, “Is Debbie Deer right, Richard Rabbit?”
Richard Rabbit smiled broadly and answered, “Yes. Debbie Deer and I look at how we think, talk, and act now.”
“We already covered a lot today,” said Eagle. “You know you have individual truths. You find that you best look at how you think, talk, and act. You can figure out what makes you feel good instead of angry, fearful, and yucky.”
Debbie Deer agreed, “Eagle, you make a lot of sense to me. I sincerely mean this. I will look at myself MUCH more.”
Eagle nodded her head and replied, “Very good. When you realize and accept how you can be happy and not fearful, you know your truth. You’re meant to be happy, loving, caring, and fun. Anything else is not really you.”
Richard Rabbit began laughing and he said, “Eagle, you are quick. You began answering my question before I asked it. I was wondering if there is only ONE TRUTH. If everyone has his or her own truth, we could get very mixed up.”
Eagle grinned and asked, “And how did I begin to answer your question?”
“You talked about being loving, happy, caring, and fun,” answered Richard Rabbit. “Those are traits anyone can have in his or her life. Those must be part of a universal truth.”
Eagle simply said, “You are not far from the Kingdom within you.”
Richard Rabbit exclaimed, “Do I have a Kingdom within me?”
Eagle nodded her head and continued, “You have the Kingdom of Truth within you. This is the Kingdom of your spirit.”
Debbie Deer asked, “If I have this Kingdom of Spirit within me, how does it come into my life?”
Eagle answered, “Spirit, your core self, influences your very center self. This self is energy like electricity. Your energy becomes your thoughts. You can choose between your thoughts. Your choice of thoughts determines how your thoughts become solid in your world through words and actions.”
A deer called from one of the rings around the Council Ring, “This sounds very confusing. Please help us to understand how we do this.”
Eagle responded, “Very good. I mean no judgment as I talk about what you rabbits and deer just did to each other. Your spirits talked ‘scaredy cat’ and ‘chicken’ to your energy selves. Your energy self told your thoughts about ‘scaredy cat’ and ‘chicken’. Each of you made a choice, either deliberately or without thinking, to yell those words. You went ahead and called out those names.”
“Thanks for explaining that,” said that other deer. “I was a bit confused. I best know my spirit and live from my spirit if I wish to be loving, caring, happy, and joyful.”
Eagle nodded her head as she said, “Yes. This is the importance of your strong commitment or sincerity. You best know your needs and wants. When you know your needs and wants, you know your truth. Your truth washes away your fears.”
Richard Rabbit looked long and hard at Eagle. He said, “Do you know what you just told us?”
Eagle answered, “I know exactly what I told you. You are not afraid when you live from your truth. Your life experiences tell you whether you make good choices about your thoughts.”
Debbie Deer responded, “Eagle, you just set many rabbits and deer free from fear, anger, and hate.”
Eagle smiled and responded, “I only point the path. Each of you must choose whether or not to walk THE TRUTH.”
Debbie Deer and Richard Rabbit said together, “We understand your help about THE TRUTH. This is bigger than any one person.”
Eagle concluded her comments, “You both are right. This brings me great joy.”
Debbie Deer called to her friends and family. Richard Rabbit did the same.
All the deer formed one line and all the rabbits formed a second line. They faced each other.
The rabbits yelled ‘TRUTH’ to the deer. The deer yelled back ‘SINCERE’ to the rabbits.
Eagle just doubled over laughing. She recovered her wits and spread her huge wings. She gently lifted herself into flight and resumed her watchful patrol over Master Forest.
- Click “Story Comprehension Questions: Argument between the Deer and Rabbits” to get a copy of the questions for your class to discuss or write about or both.
OTHER STORIES BY TERRY GARDNER
Four Coyote tales
- Read-Aloud Story for Grades 2-6: Coyote Meets his Master
- Read-Aloud Story for Grades 2-6: Courage to Fear
- Read-Aloud Story for Grades 2-6: Coyote Travels Inside
- Read-Aloud Story for Grades 2-6: Coyote Becomes Mindful
Story featuring Bear
- Read-aloud story for grades 2-6: Bear becomes bearable
Seven Stories from the East
- Read-Aloud Story for Grades 2-6: Dog Learns to Dance
- Read-aloud story for grades 2-6: Teeter-Totter Eagle reviews her past
- Read-aloud story for grades 2-6: Beaver Busy
- Read-aloud story for grades 2-6: Coyote and Fawn learn about growth within
- Read-aloud story for grades 2-6: Argument between the Deer and Rabbits (see above)
- Read-aloud story for grades 2-6: Wise Guy (Coming Soon)
- Read-aloud story for grades 2-6: Flying Eights (Coming Soon)
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