The Deer in the Shed

This is a fun little anapestic poem, translated from Latin into English (very loosely, of course.) Based on a fable originally written by Phaedrus.

A deer from his hideyhole fled
From the hunter who came with his hounds.
Fearing he soon would be dead,
He ran to a house’s fine grounds
And attempted to hide in a shed,
Trembling at each tiny sound.

When suddenly mooed in his ear
A cow (named Bessie) inquired
“Why in the world are you  here?
Or do you really want  to expire?”

With the cow the fleeing deer pleaded
“I’m just here till I can bust out,
That’s my secret; so please don’t repeat it,
Or the hunter’ll be here with a shout.”

So the ploughman (oddly, in on the plot)
Brought him some branches for camo,
In which the deer hid like a shot,
Gratefully whispering “te amo.”

In a moment the farmers came round,
In, through, and out of the shed,
But by none was the fugitive found,
And even the boss was misled.

So after a couple of hours,
When all of the farmers were gone,
The deer sprang out of his bower
Crying out “I think that we’ve won!”

And shouting his thanks to the cow,
For her kindness in helping him out,
Was about to depart with a ‘ciao’,
When Bessie advised with a shout:

“Stay put, because one of these guys
Has eyes on the back of his head!
And should he your hiding form spy,
I can say that you’re definitely dead.”

And right then the master walked in,
And criticized everything there,
From “not enough hay in the bin”
To “there’s spiderwebs in my hair!”

But sharply he suddenly spied
Some horns on the top of a head:
It’s the deer, still attempting to hide,
Crouched in his clandestine bed.

And he called to the men on the farm
“Hey everyone, get in here now!
There’s a deer hiding inside our barn,
Right here alongside the cows!”

They came in and seized the poor deer,
Who was in a meal concluded.
And that’s the end of the tale, I fear,
And nary a detail excluded.


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