By: Khalid Hafiz
Hot and dry air blows dust in his eyes. Wiping his eyes with the corner of his head-gear he pulls the sheet over his nose and adjusts it a little lower to see the heard of deer grazing in front. The herd setoff on hearing the pounding hoofs of Subuktageen’s pony. Subuktageen gallops the pony behind the herd.
His confidence dwindles to dismay, for the herd is a bit too fast for him to catch. He is loosing them. Except for a female and her fawn the rest are beyond his reach. And now only the little fawn is stumbling ahead. The mother seems to have joined the rest. The distance between the horse and the fawn shortens. The king lowers his strong arms to catch hold of the timid fawn and pulls him up. He rests the fawn across the horse back on the saddle. Gently stroking the fawn he appreciates it for the prize is worth the effort.
He lets the panting horse lower its head to drink from the stream and sits unmoved on its back. His ever-increasing thirst cannot move him to quench from the stream. He wants to reach back to his men and soldiers, whom he left behind.
Suddenly his gaze, fixed on the fawn, catches a glimpse of movement from the corner of his eyes. He turns to see it right. A feeling of awe and surprise overcomes his former state of mind. It is the mother deer, which he thought to have deserted the fawn for her own life. She is reaching the horse. The king can’t make out what is bringing the deer to danger? What has made her so bold? Why has she put her life at stake?
She has now reached a distance from where the king can see her well. The king can see the tears well in her eyes. He can only feel the former feeling of seeing the fawn scamper in his palace, melt into nothing. He cannot force himself to stick to the same old idea. He lowers the fawn that bolts to its mother. While running towards the woods, they do stop to look back at the man with gratitude and run along.
The king pulls the reins to turn the horse to return to his men. His heart is heavy with a feeling of joy, hued in a mix of sadness and satisfaction.