Chapter XXXIV: A Startling New Footprint
 

The game of hide and seek between Lightfoot the Deer and the beautiful stranger whose dainty footprints had first started Lightfoot to seeking her had been going on for several days and nights when Lightfoot found something which gave him a shock. He had stolen very softly clown to the Laughing Brook, hoping to surprise the beautiful stranger drinking there. She wasn't to be seen. Lightfoot wondered if she had been there, so looked in the mud at the edge of the Laughing Brook to see if there were any fresh prints of those dainty feet. Almost at once he discovered fresh footprints. They were not the prints he was looking for. No, Sir, they were not the dainty prints he had learned to know so well. They were prints very near the size of his own big ones, and they had been made only a short time before.

The finding of those prints was a dreadful shock to Lightfoot. He understood instantly what they meant. They meant that a second stranger had come into the Green Forest, one who had antlers like his own. Jealousy took possession of Lightfoot the Deer; jealousy that filled his heart with rage.

"He has come here to seek that beautiful stranger I have been hunting for," thought Lightfoot. "He has come here to try to steal her away from me. He has no right here in my Green Forest. He belongs back up on the Great Mountain from which he must have come, for there is no other place he could have come from. That is where that beautiful stranger must have come from, too. I want her to stay, but I must drive this fellow out. I'll make him fight. That's what I'll do; I'll make him fight! I'm not afraid of him, but I'll make him fear me."

Lightfoot stamped his feet and with his great antlers thrashed the bushes as if he felt that they were the enemy he sought. Could you have looked into his great eyes then, you would have found nothing soft and beautiful about them. They became almost red with anger. Lightfoot quivered all over with rage. The hair on the back of his neck stood up. Lightfoot the Deer looked anything but gentle.

After he had vented his spite for a few minutes on the harmless, helpless bushes, he threw his head high in the air and whistled angrily. Then he leaped over the Laughing Brook and once more began to search through the Green Forest. But this time it was not for the beautiful stranger with the dainty feet. He had no time to think of her now. He must first find this newcomer and he meant to waste no time in doing it.