The big deer brought the little deer to the old deer to learn the seven ways of the woods. These are the seven chapters of warning and direction that are to a deer what reading and writing and arithmetic, and all the schoolbooks are to a child. And the old deer promised to teach the little deer all the mysteries of the seven ways.
"Come every day," he said, "when the first ray of the rising sun falls across the lake, and you shall have your lesson."
But on the first day, the little deer did not come, because he was still asleep; so he missed the first lesson.
And on the second day, the little deer did not come, because he was eating his breakfast; so he missed the second lesson.
And on the third day, the little deer did not come, because he forgot all about it.
And on the fourth day, he was caught in a trap. And that was the end of the little deer.
So the big deer came in great sorrow to the old deer. "I thought," she said, "that you had taught the little deer to know a trap when he saw it."
"But the little deer did not come to any of the lessons," said the old deer.
|Retold from The Jataka.|