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The Story of a White Doe
Written by Riledan
A Young Man in Devenish Forest
A very long time ago, there lived a white doe deep in Devenish Forest.
She loved prancing around the forest, soaking in the marvelous scenery of Erinn.
However, her parents would always tell her.
"Baby. We know how much you love exploring the world, but don't ever leave the forest. That's where humans live. Even though we're protected by the power of nature here, it's a different story out there."
Then one warm sunny day, the white doe was chasing around a swarm of butterflies. Soon she realized that she arrived at the edge of the forest.
She remembered what her parents always told her about leaving the forest.
Just as she decided to turn around, she caught a glimpse of a young man practicing his sword on a wooden dummy, just outside the forest.
His wavy long hair, hard chiseled face, and his deep blue eyes...
the white doe fell in love with the young man at first sight.
From that day forward, the white doe came out and hid behind a tree to watch the young man train.
As time passed, the white doe slowly began learning more about the young man...
He was training to become a knight.
She learned that he lost his parents recently, and that he's living all alone. That he'll be appointed as a knight if he wins the upcoming contest at the Beltane festival. And that he's been training here for that reason...
The white doe wanted to talk to the young man.
She wanted to see his face up close, hear his voice, and get lost in his shimmering deep blue eyes. As this continued, the white doe stayed longer and longer to watch the young man.
Then one day, the white doe disguised herself as a human; her parents had taught her how before. She disguised herself as a young lady and approached the man.
"Beautiful lady...are you lost?"
Though she couldn't speak human language, the white doe was ecstatic that the young man talked to her. The young man was also intrigued by this young beautiful lady.
The white doe, disguised as a young lady, simply blushed and smiled as she stared at the young man. They finally parted once the day turned dark.
The Young Man's Dream
The following day, the white doe disguised herself again and went out to meet the young man. However, she saw him talking to another man in fancy clothes, so she hid behind a tree.
"You think this will win her heart? You think if you win the contest and become a knight, she'll fall in love with you?"
"You're wasting your time. Even if you became a knight, it won't change anything."
The young man finally let out a sigh and spoke.
"I heard you're getting engaged to the lord's daughter at the end of this month."
"I just want to make one thing clear. I hope you're not foolish enough to think that you really love her. You're doing this for yourself."
"You're of royalty, and I'm a poor knight in training. I'm not going to compete with you over her." "I hope you understand what I mean."
The rich man got on his horse and rode off. The young man stood watching as the rich man rode off, and then crumbled to the ground. As he let out a big sigh, the white doe lady felt tears welling up in her eyes.
So that's why he's been practicing so hard here in forest. He already has someone he loves... She was heartbroken.
If I could only take her place in his heart...
The white doe lady's vision was blurred by the welling tears and she accidentally stepped on a tree branch as she turned around. The young man heard the noise and called out for her, but she just ran back into the forest as fast she could.
She was so heartbroken.
However, she continued to come out and secretly watch the young man. She didn't realize how much she had grown attached to him.
She watched him everyday as he came out to train, and prayed that his wishes of becoming a knight would come true.
It was like any other day. The white doe was hiding behind the tree, watching the young man wield his sword.
However, the young man seemed a bit more sluggish than usual. She had been watching him for awhile now, and she could tell that something wasn't right. Though she was sure that something was wrong with him, she was hurt that there was nothing she could do. She decided to head back home, when she heard a short cry.
She turned around and saw a poisonous snake biting the young man's leg.
The young man managed to strike the snake as he wildly flailed his arm. The startled snake released its grip and disappeared as the young man immediately collapsed to the ground.
The white doe quickly disguised herself as a young woman. She ran to the young man and sucked the poison out from his leg.
The dazed young man caught a glimpse of her, but soon lost consciousness.
How long has it been...
By the time the young man woke up, the white doe lady was asleep next to him, holding herbs in her hands. 'She must've saved me...'
The young man, still under the influence of the poison, fell back into deep sleep.
After that day, the white doe didn't have to hide anymore.
She spent all day with the young man, watching him train, and went back into the forest at night.
The white doe was about to leave to meet the young man, when her parents called her.
"It's time for you to get married soon. There's some guys we want you to meet. They're dying to meet you." But all she could think about was the young man.
She shook her head and asked her parents for some to time to think about it. She gave them an excuse that she wasn't ready.
As the town festival was fast approaching, the white doe became more anxious each day.
'If he wins the contest, he'll become a knight and confess his love to the lord's daughter...'
'He'll soon forget about me.'
'But I want him to have what he wants...'
'What should I do?'
'I want to...become human'
Before she knew it, the festival was here.
She kept debating whether to go to town and cheer for the young man, but she ended up not going.
It rained that day. The only thing the white doe could do was to go up to the hillside and pray for the young man as she stared at the distant light beaming from the town.
The rain continued even as the festival ended, and didn't stop for some time after that. The next day, and the next day, and the next day...
Even though the festival had ended, the young man didn't come to the forest for the next few days. The white doe still came out everyday, waiting in the rain, hoping to see him.
The young man finally showed up, long after the rain had stopped. His clothes were ripped up and his face seemed unusually tired and gloomy.
"I lost...the contest"
He said as he started at the white doe lady.
As she shook her head, the white doe felt a deep pain in her heart. At the same time, she felt relieved that she wouldn't have to let him go.
She ran into his arms, and they held each other for a long time. Though they didn't say anything, they felt each other's heart.
Another few days passed. The young man rushed towards the forest and embraced the white doe, who was waiting for him.
"I decided to become a hunter."
The white doe couldn't believe her ears...
"It's because of you. I love this forest. I want to stay here forever!"
The white doe felt her heart drop. He's going to be a hunter!
She shook her head with a disappointed look on her face. He continued to talk.
"No, it's okay. I've given up on becoming a knight. I'll be happy being a hunter here...and especially because I'll see you..."
She couldn't believe it. She slowly backed away from the young man, and ran away.
He began hunting. It was new to him, but as time went by, he got better and better.
His life was soon filled with catching wild beasts, blood stains, butchering meat and setting up traps.
Soon he became a famous hunter in town. With the money he made, he bought gifts and gave it to the white doe.
But, each time she received his gifts, all she could do was cry. She could almost hear the screams of the hunted animals.
The young man didn't understand why she wasn't happy.
Then one day, as the young man went into town to sell his goods, he heard that the lord's daughter was looking for her. Although he didn't want to care, he couldn't help but think about it.
He tried to calm himself as he arrived at her house. The lord's daughter, more beautiful than before, greeted him and opened her mouth.
"Did you know that a white doe lives inside the Devenish Forest?"
The young man answered.
"It's just a myth. I've never seen one."
"You are the master of the forest. I know you'll be able to find it."
"I want a white doe's leather. I'll give you anything you want. Do you think you can do it?"
"Yes. Whatever you want."
Although he had moved on, he couldn't say no to the woman he had once loved.
"Give me some time to think. A white doe is a sacred animal. Who knows if I'll ever even come across one, and even if I do, I've heard that killing a white doe will bring a curse from Cernunnus."
"I'll be waiting for good news."
The young man returned home that night, tossed and turned in bed and couldn't fall asleep.
"The guardian of the forest seems to be fond of you. He wants to meet you."
The white doe's parents kept trying to set the white doe up. But, the white doe couldn't say anything. She was too in love with the young man. Seeing her hesitate, her mom opened her mouth.
"Baby, we know what you've been up to lately. We know you've been hanging around with that human boy everyday."
The white doe was surprised. Then her dad's gentle yet stern voice followed.
"You might be able to disguise yourself as a human, but that's just your outer appearance. We are fundamentally different from humans. We are sacred animals with the anointing of Cernunnus to look over this forest."
"Plus, I heard this man is a hunter who kills the animals in the forest."
"What you're doing right now is breaking the natural law. Breaking the natural law might be enticing at the moment, but you will inevitably reap irreversible consequences. "
The white doe began to cry.
"The deeper you fall in love, the pain will be greater. I know it'll be hard to forget about him right away but you must remember this."
And her dad finished with these last words.
"If you don't want misfortune to come upon him, you must forget about him. Don't forget."
Meanwhile, after few days of contemplation, the young man went into the forest carrying a bow, with determination in his eyes.
The white doe was waiting for him at the same place they had always met. They embraced each other and the young man opened his mouth.
"I met the lord's daughter few days ago."
The white doe lady winced.
"She asked me to hunt her a white doe."
Her heart sank. I see...I understand. Soon, she gave up on everything.
It's my fate to be killed by him. We were never meant to be...still...if I could make him happy in exchange for my life...
Then he opened his mouth again.
"But...I decided to turn her down."
She couldn't believe what she heard.
"Hunting has nothing to do with my love for the forest. I never felt comfortable killing all those animals. Something wasn't right."
The white doe's heart never pounded so hard.
"Now I understand. I know you don't want me to kill the animals in the forest. I'm going to stop being a hunter."
Then he snapped his bow in half.
"I don't really know who you are, and where you're from, but I wanted to tell you this today." The young man's blue eyes reflected off the white doe's eyes.
"You mean so much to me. Stay with me from now on...forever."
The white doe felt a burst of joy exploding out of her heart. But soon after, she remembered what her parents had said earlier. He is a human, and I'm an animal. This love will never work...
She hesitated and hesitated. Finally, she shook her head, though her eyes couldn't lie.
"I understand...I guess it was a bad idea..."
He carefully looked at her and slowly turned around with a bitter chuckle. She could hear his sigh, and it crushed her heart into pieces.
The white doe's eyes filled with tears, as her vision of the young man grew blurry.
Just then, the lord's daughter's fiance was passing through the area and spotted the white doe.
However, what he saw in his eyes was one white doe.
"That's the white doe she's been talking about. Just my luck."
He aimed his bow and fired it towards the doe.
The young man, who turned around to take one more glance at the doe, saw the man aiming his bow. He quickly threw himself to cover her.
There was a dull thud...and then the white doe's scream rang throughout the entire forest.
A Story of a White Doe
The accident had the town's people talking. The famed hunter had died in the forest. The doctor diagnosed that he was killed by a wild beast. People rarely went into Devenish Forest after the incident.
However, there was also a strange rumor that circulated throughout town. The word was that the hunter wasn't killed by a beast, but from a wound inflicted by an arrow.
The next month, the lord's daughter was married and her husband became the new lord. The rumor, buried under the big event, slowly faded away.
The news about the lord's daughter and the new lord soon died out as well. After some time, another story surfaced in town. Few people who went in and out of Devenish Forest reported seeing a rare white doe in the forest.
What's more interesting is that they said there was a blue-eyed deer who was always by her side...