Christin Myrick Shepherd

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The Farmer & The Deer: A Remembrance of Power

The Farmer & The Deer

Once, there lived a farmer at the edge of a darkened wood. His palms were course from working the soil and his crops were plentiful from attention and care.

Every year he worked the land and every year the food came. Every year except one. On this particular year, for no particular reason, his crops would not emerge. No amount of attention or care, no amount of coaxing or wishing, no amount of prayer would invoke them from their seeds.

 

The farmer slowly worked through his reserves and, as each month passed, became hungrier and hungrier. Finally, when the snows had reached their deepest, there was nothing left to eat.

He despaired and cried out, “Help me!  Please,” he said, “This hunger is unbearable. Please grant me what I need.”

At first, there was no reply except the silent snows that drifted from the sky.

 

 

But then… there! Softly, from the edge of the wood, a stag emerged. Pale as a ghost, it took noiseless steps onto the powdered field and gently laid its body down.

When the farmer approached, it extended its neck and whispered, “I have come. Take what you need.”

The farmer gripped his blade, knelt beside the silvery stag and swiftly ended its life.

 

 

In all his time as a farmer, the land had given him much. But in this season of sorrow and longing, the stag had given him much more.

The stag's body gave food and meat, fur for warmth, bones for broth, horns for tools and the courage to carry on.

The stag had given all of himself so that the farmer could live.

In the end, the Story asks who has the power? The farmer or the stag? 

 

 

The heart knows the truest answer: that the power lies with the stag.

Do you know why, dear reader? Do you know why the one who is gentle is more powerful than the one who wields the blade?

It is because the farmer had only the power to take a life.

The deer, however, had the power to both give life and to take it away, each at the moment of its choosing.

And now the Story asks: what will you be, little love?

In your own life: will you be the farmer or the deer?