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Fear In Penrhos Forest

  Something urged me out of my den long after the sun had set. I went cautiously, sniffing the air. The frost was in my nose, and the mist. I started south on a track padded along many times. Few creatures were about, but I was wary. Age makes you more cautious. But I wasn’t hunting, because my belly was full; not hunting for food anyway. Maybe I was looking for a mate, but I passed many scents that had mild promise, so the drive wasn’t urgent.

It was good to move my body. Good to follow my head, follow my nose, follow the track I knew. It would lead me back to my den, and I could sleep again when my limbs had moved in freedom.

Then it was slower climbing the hill back across the Penrhos height. And suddenly, near the top, a young female of my species was coming towards me from another track. I could see her body tense, and maybe seeing me coming toward her made her panic and turn on to the track in front of me. I kept my steady pace behind her, but she swung from one side of the track to the other through what I sensed was uncertainty and fear.

I am old, but I am still strong, yet even I feel some fear out in the forest. Perhaps there are not many, but there are a few predators that would try to tackle me. But this young female, in season, and weaker, would be the target for many predators, and she knew it, fearing I might be one of those she needed to escape from.

Seeing this in her fearful stumble, I called to her, “Let me pass and walk in front of you. Then you will not feel afraid.”

She hesitated, still anxious, and I said, “Let me pass, then it will be easier.”

She drew to one side nervously and I passed. “Thank you,” she said quietly as I went by.

Padding on, I thought to myself, “I feel some fear, and I am stronger, and have fewer predators. You, with so much to be afraid of, I cannot imagine how you feel. May the spirit of the forest watch over you!”

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