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Could you have seen the hunter with the terrible gun and Lightfoot the Deer that morning on which the hunting season opened you might have thought that Lightfoot was hunting the hunter instead of the hunter hunting Lightfoot. You see, Lightfoot was behind the hunter instead of in front of him. He was following the hunter, so as to keep track of him. As long as he knew just where the hunter was, he felt reasonably safe.
The Merry Little Breezes are Lightfoot's best friends. They always bring to him all the different scents they find as they wander through the Green Forest. And Lightfoot's delicate nose is so wonderful that he can take these scents, even though they be very faint, and tell just who or what has made them. So, though he makes the best possible use of his big ears and his beautiful eyes, he trusts more to his nose to warn him of danger. For this reason, during the hunting season when he moves about, he moves in the direction from which the Merry Little Breezes may be blowing. He knows that they will bring to him warning of any danger which may lie in that direction.
Now the hunter with the terrible gun who was looking for Lightfoot knew all this, for he was wise in the ways of Lightfoot and of the other little people of the Green Forest. When he had entered the Green Forest that morning he had first of all made sure of the direction from which the Merry Little Breezes were coming. Then he had begun to hunt in that direction, knowing that thus his scent would be carried behind him. It is more than likely that he would have reached the hiding-place of Lightfoot the Deer before the latter would have known that he was in the Green Forest, had it not been for Sammy Jay's warning.
When he reached the tangle of fallen trees behind which Lightfoot had been hiding, he worked around it slowly and with the greatest care, holding his terrible gun ready to use instantly should Lightfoot leap out. Presently he found Lightfoot's footprints in the soft ground and studying them he knew that Lightfoot had known of his coming.
"It was that confounded Jay," muttered the hunter. "Lightfoot heard him and knew what it meant. I know what he has done; he has circled round so as to get behind me and get my scent. It is a clever trick, a very clever trick, but two can play at that game. I'll just try that little trick myself."
So the hunter in his turn made a wide circle back, and presently there was none of the dreaded man-smell among the scents which the Merry Little Breezes brought to Lightfoot. Lightfoot had lost track of the hunter.
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In the 1600s, Balthasar Gracian, a jesuit priest wrote 300 aphorisms on living life called "The Art of Worldly Wisdom." Join our newsletter below and read them all, one at a time.
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