Lightfoot the Deer by Thornton W. Burgess
Chapter XXXVIII: An Unseen Watcher
As Lightfoot the Deer and the big stranger from the Great Mountain fought in the little opening near the pond of Paddy the Beaver, neither knew or cared who saw them. Each was filled fully with rage and determined to drive the other from the Green Forest. Each was fighting for the right to win the love of Miss Daintyfoot.
Neither of them knew that Miss Daintyfoot herself was watching them. But she was. She had heard the clash of their great antlers as they had come together the first time, and she had known exactly what it meant. Timidly she had stolen forward to a thicket where, safely hidden, she could watch that terrible fight. She knew that they were fighting for her. Of course. She knew it just as she had known how both had been hunting for her. What she didn't know for some time was which one she wantedto win that fight.
Both Lightfoot and the big stranger were handsome. Yes, indeed, they were very handsome. Lightfoot was just a little bit the bigger and it seemed to her just a little bit the handsomer. She almost wanted him to win. Then, when she saw how bravely the big stranger was fighting and how well he was holding his own, even though he was a little smaller than Lightfoot, she almost hoped he would win.
That great fight lasted a long time. To pretty Miss Daintyfoot it seemed that it never would end. But after a while Lightfoot's greater size and strength began to tell. Little by little the big stranger was forced back towards the edge of the open place. Now he would be thrown to his knees when Lightfoot wasn't. As Lightfoot saw this, he seemed to gain new strength. At last he caught the stranger in such a way that he threw him over. While the stranger struggled to get to his feet again, Lightfoot's sharp antlers made long tears in his gray coat. The stranger was beaten and he knew it. The instant he succeeded in getting to his feet he turned tail and plunged for the shelter of the Green Forest. With a snort of triumph, Lightfoot plunged after him.
But now that he was beaten, fear took possession of the stranger. All desire to fight left him. His one thought was to get away, and fear gave him speed. Straight back towards the Great Mountain from which he had come the stranger headed. Lightfoot followed only a short distance. He knew that that stranger was going for good and would not come back. Then Lightfoot turned back to the open place where they had fought. There he threw up his beautiful head, crowned by its great antlers, and whistled a challenge to all the Green Forest. As she looked at him, Miss Daintyfoot knew that she had wanted him to win. She knew that there simply couldn't be anybody else so handsome and strong and brave in all the Great World.