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words passed between them, but Emmett began to understand part of what he was there to learn by sensing the enormity of Little Bird's reaction to the kill. The words of an Indian hunting song which Little Bird had translated to him one evening started to beat their message into his brain: "I aim my golden bow; I pull on my golden string; I let fly my golden arrow; and it strikes the heart of the target, and I fall dead. For I am the target. And the target is me."

There were many more snowshoes, cottontails, and jackrabbits, and three wild turkeys taken during the next two weeks, and each time the animals were treated with the same respect that both men would have had for themselves had they been the targets of their own weapons. Also, during that time, Emmett became more and more one with the creatures he hunted and soon Little Bird could see that his pupil--who was only a bit more than two years his younger--was now ready to learn what he brought him there to teach.

One morning, the two men did not leave together for the usual walk in the northern hills. Emmett left alone, to hunt the three-yearold buck he chose to be his first deer when he saw him standing proud against the waters of a rain brook in the light of a falling sunset. He picked the buck from dozens he saw on his walks with Little Bird through the woods, because there was something about the stag that told Emmett it was him.

It was a three-hour walk to the place in the forest where Emmett knew the buck had eaten his dawn meal and bedded himself down on pine needles to sleep away the sunlight in the shade of the tall, thick cover of a thousand trees. When he reached the outside of the young buck's territory, Emmett knelt quietly against a birch and slowly checked every inch of the area with eyes that were now trained to see what they had been blind to a month before. He remained frozen, moving nothing but his eyes and, ever so carefully, his head, for a timeless hour, before relaxing the stiffness of his muscles against the soft, dew-moist earth.

Emmett could sense the presence of his buck nearby, and his eyes showed him at least a dozen places where he might be Iying, but gave no definite hint as to which of them was the actual resting place of his deer. Emmett had learned well not to be anxious, and so he waited motionlessly for some sign that would bring the stag to him. He was downwind, and it was a brisk one, rustling the leaves [end page 372]


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