Ronnie stood watching the baby deer, and it’s Mother, walking through the forest. He was glad that hunting was banned here, it would be such a shame for the animals to disappear. His favourite time of the week was when he went for a walk in the forest. “You are so lovely! He said softly to himself. The doe slowly turned her head towards him. “Thank you.” She said. Ronnie’s mouth dropped open, and he stumbled back tripping over a small log and landing on his behind in the grass. “Are you okay?” The doe asked, a little skittered by his quick movements. “Come along Lolly it’s time we were moving on.” “No! Please don’t go! I’m sorry about that. I just got a shock that I could understand you!” “Yes, you are one of only a handful who can. Strange thing is we have always been able to understand humans.” The doe replied. “Tell me, have you talked to any of the other animals yet?” “Well no, I didn’t realise I could, so I never tried!” “Most of us are willing to chat to you, but there are a few you have to be a bit careful of, of course. My daughter and I have to be off now, we have a long journey ahead of us today.” “Would you mind if I gave your daughter a cuddle before you go, she is so cute!” “I am sorry, just a pat, because if my partner smells you on her, he will get very enraged with me, and you. That’s not a good thing.” Ronnie understood what she meant, so he gave the small doe a pat. “We will be back again next month, maybe we will see you then.” And with that they strolled off into the woods and disappeared among the trees. “ Ronnie felt ecstatic, excitement in his bones, exhilaration at the thought that he could talk to his favourite friends. He so looked forward to his walk next week. The week dragged by as Ronnie helped his Father run the family orchard. At last it was Friday and Ronnie had a day to himself. As he walked through the woods he suddenly stopped, he could hear voices. Very hushed, but he could still understand what they were saying. “She came through here just recently, I can smell her. Looks like we missed a meal again. I wonder if she’ll be back.” “let’s hope so, our babies are getting very hungry, there hasn’t been much prey through here for many months and even the rabbits are getting very scarce because that farmer is poisoning them.” Ronnie crept nearer and crouched in the bushes. He got the shock of his life to be able to see two very skinny wolves, sniffing about the forest. “I know you’re there Master Ronnie, I can smell you. Don’t be afraid, we are only after small animals to feed our family, not humans. If we get that desperate, I will warn you to stay away.” Ronnie was shaking, both from being scared of the wolves but also from the thought that they were actually talking to him. Ronnie stood up and walked a little closer to the wolves. “Good morning, I’m so glad to meet you! I’m sorry you can’t find any prey for your children to eat. Exactly what were you looking for?” “The small deer that came through here just recently, I am hoping she will be back, otherwise we will have to move on to somewhere else, as the prey in these woods has gotten very scarce.” Ronnie was shocked. They wanted to kill the beautiful deer and her baby, he had spoken to the week before. “I think she has gone, I haven’t seen her for over a week, I believe they may have moved on to somewhere else.” He suggested, terrified that she may be back at any time, The large skinny wolves looked him up and down. “You may be right, perhaps it’s time we moved on as well, come Larni, let’s go pack up the children and head off before it gets too late.” With that they sauntered off into the woods. “ Ronnie hoped he had averted a disaster. He would not want the lovely deer to become prey to the wolves, but he also felt sorry for all the baby wolves who would go hungry tonight. These were things he had never thought about before. Usually the animals were just there, to look at and enjoy, and he never had to think about how they fed themselves or looked after themselves. Ronnie wasn’t sure he enjoyed being able to understand them now. Unfortunately worse was to come. “ As he solemnly walked further into the woods, thinking about all that had happened, he came across a family of rabbits. When he appeared they all shot down into their burrows and disappeared. As he stood there watching one large brown rabbit came to the front of the burrow and looked at him. “What do you want, go away!” “Haven’t you murdered enough of us, and now you’re even tracking us into the woods as well!” “It wasn’t me put out the baits, it was my Father!” He protested. “I would never do anything like that, but I can’t stop my Father!” “How does he think we can live if we don’t eat the fallen fruit? It doesn’t get used, so why can’t we eat it?” “I’m sorry, it’s hard to explain. It has always been that way, for centuries. Rabbits have always been considered a pest, and so have always been baited or killed for food. Perhaps it’s because there are so many of you.” “Well there certainly aren’t very many of us left around here, thanks to your murdering Father.” The word “murderer” grated in Ronnie’s ears. What a terrible thing to call his Father, but they were right, they weren’t doing any harm eating the fallen fruit which only rotted on the ground. The possums were the ones who stole the fruit from the trees, but nobody ever seemed to worry about them, they were just part of growing the orchard. “I’m sorry, there isn’t much I can do about the baits. What I can do, is leave a load of old fruit just inside the forest each week for you, but only if you promise to keep out of the orchard and away from the baits.” The big old rabbit agreed and to his word they never invaded the orchard ever again. “ Every week Ronnie left a large barrow load of rotting fruit just inside the forest, and each week he went back it was all gone. Unknown to Ronnie, the rabbits thrived and had many babies in the forest, which also kept any wolves passing by happy and fed, which meant they weren’t on the trail of the deer all the time. “ Early in Spring Ronnie pushed his barrow of old fruit into the forest, dumped it out, and went for his usual stroll. The first thing he noticed was that there were many more birds around, and the cacophony of bird calls was wonderful. He stood and listened and as he looked around he noticed they were all heading somewhere. He followed them and realised they were also eating the rotten fruit he had left. “Goodness, I’d better leave a few more loads of fruit, if I’m feeding them as well!” So Ronnie started leaving a load of fruit during the week as well. “ All this activity had been noticed by his Father. He had followed him several times, and knew exactly what was going on, and silently thanked the Lord he had such a kind and brainy son. “ The large pile of rotten fruit collected each week from the orchard had always been a problem, but now the large pile was hardly ever there. He no longer had to put out baits for the rabbits, because the rabbits had disappeared into the forest to live, so he wasn’t accidentally killing any other animals as well. He had noticed the bird life had returned, but they weren’t attacking his trees anymore, so he had a lot more fruit to pick. “ Ronnie was happy, his Father was happy, the birds were happy, the rabbits were happy. the wolves were happy and the deer were happy. All because of one small action of putting the rotting fruit in the forest for the rabbits. Ronnie spent a lot more time in the forest talking to his friends, and when he got older he even wrote a book about them. He stayed friends with the deer for many years and one day he even met the great stag, who thanked him for looking after his family.