The forms and feelings of the forest gradually changed as summer passed into fall and fall into winter. Snow fell, and fresh meals were hard to find. All the deer became more friendly during the cold months. They would gather to share ribald rutting tales and whole-earth salad recipes. Sometimes the stags would join in and tell of outrageous antler-thrashing bouts. Bambi grew to admire the stags. He bore special admiration for Ronno, the stag able to discuss natural philosophy with senior members of Ovis Canadensis or bighorn sheep species. The constant topic of conversation among the bucks was documentary film making. Although all were forbidden encounters with crews, they bitterly resented Bambi's sudden thrust into the limelight.
As the winter dragged on, a thinning out of weaker animals began. This was done by the issue of special permits given to eager hunters. A hungry crow killed a baby hare right in Bambi's neighborhood. A squirrel raced around with a neck wound a ferret had given him. A vulpes-vulpes murdered a tawny shouldered podargus. Both Bambi's mother and cousin Gobo were shot and it was feared they were both cooked and eaten with roast potatoes and steam-cooked vegetables.
That spring Bambi grew his first pair of antlers and won first prize for having the softest velvety spikes at the yearling events. Now an orphan with no maternal protection, Bambi suffered the wrath of stags who drove him away when he tried to approach. Even Faline was told to stay clear of him. Deciding one day to put on a brave face and to ignore the infamous stories being said about him, Bambi charged at what he thought was one of his tormentors in a thicket. The stag stepped aside, and Bambi charged past him. It was the Old Prince. Embarrassed, the young deer began to smooth things over by putting on his usual on-camera dance act. Effecting a number of complex ballet steps, Bambi gave a spectacular performance. But Old Prince only muttered something about fairies, turned majestically, and disappeared into the woods.
A year later Bambi met Faline, and they became firm friends again. Then an older stag named Karus appeared and tried to block Bambi's path. When Bambi nimbly performed his monster-Grendal act from
#11 – Bambi, p./4 Opal Louis Nations