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A Rumour

Not based on true events

“There is a rumour of a deer even smaller than yourself,” said a Marsh Deer to one of his fellows as they grazed at the luscious swamp grasses. But his friend remained incredulous, and cocked back a floppy ear. “ How could that be?” said he, “ Are you talking about our cousins, the White-tails?” “ No,” replied the other deer with a laugh, “The White-tails are larger than us, silly! No,” he then repeated, “ this deer is supposed to be much smaller. And - and  I have seen it.” The other deer had begun to graze again and  had had his snout in the water, but when he heard the last  unexpected  revelation, he let out an immense snort of surprise. The water flew up like a fountain and both were bountifully drenched. Then he raised his head and looked at the tale-teller for some sign of play or humour, but found neither. Yet he would not believe the fact and with a disdainful “ Pooh!” began once more to graze. “ B-but I did!” said the other helplessly. “ How small was it?” said his friend bluntly through a mouthful of weed. “ Small.” “ But how small?” the doubtful deer pursued dryly. “Well, I don’t know. Small.” stammered the other. “ But how small?” “ Um,” began the Tale-teller, rather ruffled by his friend’s persistence, and he attempted to sum up in approximation the height of the mysterious being he had seen. He was just about to recount his estimation to his friend-yet-unconvinced when there was a sharp crack and the underbrush before them rustled and swayed. In an instant, a creature dashed forth from it, the sight of which caused the doubtful deer to forever bite his tongue in discrediting his companion. Barely longer than a mere fox, the tiny beast leapt into the swamp like an oversized rabbit, and sent a spray of marsh water all about. In another moment, it frantically bounded across the swamp and disappeared. There was a silence before the doubtful deer found his tongue. “Was that really a deer?” thought he, his eyes as wide as saucers, and looked imploringly to his companion. The justified friend did nought but nodding and smiling, said most graciously “ I told you so.” And indeed he had!

Marsh Deer
Blastocerus dichotomus

The Marsh Deer lives in central and eastern South America and is its largest deer. True to its name, this deer’s preferred habit is bog and swamp land, and it has long legs and wide hooves exactly for that purpose. It can grow up to 6 and 1/2 feet in length, and is vulnerable to extinction.

Southern Pudu
Pudu puda

There are two species of pudu in South America and this is one. It is very small, growing only 34 inches in length. The males do not have fully-fledged antlers, but only short spikes. The Southern Pudu also is a vulnerable species.

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Wednesday August 4, 2021