All Fun and Games!
We walked, Momma Deer and I, Ruth flew way ahead and then back again, and Ethie ran through most of the night.
Sometime way in the very early morning of the next day, Ethie collapsed. She just fell forward, her beak opened, eyes closed and went BAM onto the soft dirt.
The dirt made a soft little puff as she went down.
I was walking behind Ethie so I saw the whole thing.
Momma deer was in the lead. Mainly because she was MUCH taller than all of us and could scout for danger much easier.
Ruth had just swung back over-head and saw the hen crumple.
“Hey, dog! I think the hen is done for, maybe it’s time for a nap, some scratching around for bugs and a dust bath for that bird. Otherwise, she isn’t going to make it.”
I perked up my ears and looked around.
Momma deer stopped her forward march, turned around, came back and stood looking very puzzled at the flat as a leaf chicken.
“I think Ruth is onto something,” she murmured. “I think I could handle a rest myself. We are close to the farm road to the Rocky Point Hill; I’ll graze on the pasture grass while you and the hen take a rest.” With that, she turned back around and walked up to the Rocky Point farm road, did a few hops skips and jumps and was in the pasture at the Upper End.
Ruth called “See ya soon, dog!” as she flew silently upward into the brilliantly lite sky full of moonlight.
I sat there looking at the wore out bird. What a mess I have. A chicken, of all things, way to heck up here in the yonder of the farm, and a huge need to get her home to Mom.
I laid down with my head on my front paws; staring at the bird/chicken/her, Ethie.
What a me…..I drifted off to sleep. At some point, I flopped over on my side and stretched out…ahhh sure feels goo….zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
I woke up with a start! Standing right over me was KING!! I jumped up wide awake, almost trembling. A buck deer with HORNS can sometimes mean trouble for canines.
“Hey, Little Buddy! Slow down! I just wanted to see what was going on here, why you were sleeping in the path, so to speak!”
“Tired, King. Just got tired. It’s okay. My little-feathered friend and I will be moving on at daylight. Don’t do anything rash, King. We aren’t planning on staying here.” I am sorry to say I almost whined.
King raised his right hoof. “Just relax. Tell me what’s going on and let me see if I can help you.”
Seeing that right hoof off the ground I must admit I pretty much stammered out the whole story. Deer have very sharp hooves.
“Humm, I see.” King mused. “So, Momma has gone onto the pasture, Ruth is in the sky somewhere and you are stuck with a farm-yard bird.”
“Yes, that pretty much sums it right up.”
“Okay, here goes…get that hen up and come with me. I can at least get you to the Upper End Pasture and maybe down the farm road past the Little Cornfield. If I can get you that far I think you can do the rest.”
I looked at King with his soft furry antlers, his very sharp hooves, and his TALL body and decided the answer to my worries had appeared!
Giving Ethie a push with my nose (not once but several times) she finally woke with a start, squawked when she saw King, tried to run off, but I held by her tail until she calmed down.
King and I explained our plan, she looked at us with very worried eyes, gave her feathers a shake and said: “Okay, let’s go.”
Then we were off.
It’s a good thing King was with us…King saw two foxes along the way.
One was fairly close,
but the other one up on the road part way.
King ran at both of them; they scattered.
Just as we passed the Upper End—King had to stop and talk to Momma for a spell, which was good, it gave Ethie and me a break, we started up the little rise which will take us to the farm road that went by the Little Corn field….a Coyote appeared!
I almost fainted! COYOTE! I am mortally afraid of coyotes!
King froze. “Shhh,” he said. “Don’t make a sound. Stand right where you are and don’t move.”
Ethie and I froze.
I could hear the coyote walking ahead of us somewhere, very soft pads of footfalls. They sounded like death to me.
Gradually the soft footpad sounds faded.
“Okay, you two let’s get to going. The night is fading and daylight is almost upon us.”
We took off again.