Chapter XXXIX: Lightfoot Discovers Love
 

Wonderfully handsome was Lightfoot the Deer as he stood in the little opening by the pond of Paddy the Beaver, his head thrown back proudly, as he received the congratulations of his neighbors of the Green Forest who had seen him win the great fight with the big stranger who had come down from the Great Mountain. To beautiful Miss Daintyfoot, peeping out from the thicket where she had hidden to watch the great fight, Lightfoot was the most wonderful person in all the Great World. She adored him, which means that she loved him just as much as it was possible for her to love.

But Lightfoot didn't know this. In fact, he didn't know that Miss Daintyfoot was there. His one thought had been to drive out of the Green Forest the big stranger who had come down from the Great Mountain. He had been jealous of that big stranger, though he hadn't known that he was jealous. The real cause of his anger and desire to fight had been the fear that the big stranger would find Miss Daintyfoot and take her away. Of course this was nothing but jealousy.

Now that the great fight was over, and he knew that the big stranger was hurrying back to the Great Mountain, all Lightfoot's anger melted away. In its place was a great longing to find Miss Daintyfoot. His great eyes became once more soft and beautiful. In them was a look of wistfulness. Lightfoot walked down to the edge of the water and drank, for he was very, very thirsty. Then he turned, intending to take up once more his search for beautiful Miss Daintyfoot.

When he turned he faced the thicket in which Miss Daintyfoot was hiding. His keen eyes caught a little movement of the branches. A beautiful head was slowly thrust out, and Lightfoot gazed again into a pair of soft eyes which he was sure were the most beautiful eyes in all the Great World. He wondered if she would disappear and run away as she had the last time he saw her.

He took a step or two forward. The beautiful head was withdrawn. Lightfoot's heart sank. Then he bounded forward into that thicket. He more than half expected to find no one there, but when he entered that thicket he received the most wonderful surprise in all his life. There stood Miss Daintyfoot, timid, bashful, but with a look in her eyes which Lightfoot could not mistake. In that instant Light-foot understood the meaning of that longing which had kept him hunting for her and of the rage which had filled him when he had discovered the presence of the big stranger from the Great Mountain. It was love. Lightfoot knew that he loved Miss Daintyfoot and, looking into her soft, gentle eyes, he knew that Miss Daintyfoot loved him.