A Mountain Deer’s Gratitude

Zheng Jian, Contributor, Dora Li, Contributing Translator

Two hundred years ago, there were about 20 households living on Chopsticks Bamboo Slope. Among them, there lived an old man named Shu Laowang. He had a newborn grandson, and his entire family was happy.

One afternoon, all of the family members went to harvest the crops. Only Feng, the daughter-in-law, remained at home doing housework. Suddenly, there was the sound of a dog barking. Feng knew that someone must have been hunting in the mountains behind their home.

A moment later, the backdoor was broken open, and a frightened little deer rushed into the room. It anxiously nodded its head at Feng. She saw the deer panting. It must have been chased by the hunters for a long time, Feng realized.

She said, “Little deer! Do you need help?” The deer nodded its head to her. Feng hastily took the bamboo lid off her pot and said, “Little deer, I’m so sorry, but you have to squeeze into this small place to hide.” While talking, she put the bamboo lid over the curled-up deer.

Afterward, Feng sat on a bench to feed her baby at the front gate of the house, pretending nothing happened. Not long after, three men carrying weapons on their shoulders came to the courtyard followed by two hunting dogs. They told Feng, “Three of us chased a deer all day, and we almost caught it. We want to know if it came into your yard.”

Feng answered calmly, “I’ve been watching my child, and I haven’t seen any deer.”

The men searched for a while and did not find it. They then continued their search, looking exasperated.

After they left, Feng removed the bamboo lid and told the deer, “Now you may go!” The deer nodded its head, and slowly walked through the yard.

Time passed quickly, and when Feng’s son was about one year old, the whole family prepared a big banquet to celebrate. All of the households from Chopsticks Bamboo Slope went to Feng’s home to join the celebration. When the party was about to start, suddenly the deer ran into their yard and, with its mouth, snatched the baby from Feng’s arms, and then sprang out of the yard. Everyone there immediately took out their weapons and chased the deer. They chased the deer for a mile. Then the deer stopped and put the child on the ground. It nodded its head at Feng and left.

When Feng reached her child and was about to pick him up from the ground, all the villagers heard an extremely loud, rumbling sound coming from their village. They all turned around to look, and they saw a massive landslide that buried all of the buildings in the entire village. It also buried the three hunters. All the other villagers escaped from the disaster. Later, the village was renamed Mountain Deer Village.

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