THE ENCHANTED STAG. 61
The chief hunter very soon espied the beautiful fawn with the golden collar, pointed it out to the king, and they determined to hunt it /
They chased him with all their skill till the evening; but he was too light and nimble for them to catch, till a shot wounded him slightly in the foot, so that he was obliged to hide himself in the bushes, and after the huntsmen were gone, limp slowly home.
One of them, however, determined to follow him at a distance, and discover where he went What was his surprise at seeing him go up to a door and knock, and to hear him say, " Dear little sister, let me in." The door was only opened a little way, and quickly shut; but the huntsman had seen enough to make him full of wonder, when he returned and described to the king what he had seen.
"We will have one more chase to-morrow," said the king, "and discover this mystery."
In the meantime the loving sister was terribly alarmed at finding the stag's foot wounded and bleeding. She quickly washed off the blood, and, after bathing the wound, placed healing herbs on it, and said, "Lie down on your bed, dear fawn, and the wound will soon heal, if you rest your foot"
In the morning the wound was so much better that the fawn felt the foot almost as strong as ever, and so, when he again heard the halloa of the hunters, he could not rest. " Oh, dear sister, I must go once more; it will be easy for me to avoid the hunters now, and my foot feels quite well; they will not hunt me unless they see me running, and I don't mean to do that."
But his sister wept, and begged him not to go: " If they kill you, dear fawn, I shall be here alone in the forest, forsaken by the whole world."
" And I shall die of grief," he said, " if I remain here listening to the hunter's horn."
So at length his sister, with a heavy heart, set him free, and he bounded away joyfully into the forest
As soon as the king caught sight of him, he said to the huntsmen, "follow that stag about, but don't hurt him." So they hunted him all day, but at the approach of sunset the king said to the hunter who had followed the fawn the day before, " Come and show me the little cottage."