SHOOTING A STAG WITH CHERRY-STONES

By R. E. Raspe

You have heard, I dare say, of the hunter and sportsman's saint and protector, St. Hubert, and of the noble stag which appeared to him in the forest with the holy cross between his antlers. I have paid my homage to that saint every year in good fellowship, and seen this stag a thousand times, either painted in churches or embroidered in the stars of his knights; so that, upon the honor and conscience of a good sportsman, I hardly know whether there may not have been formerly, or whether there are not such crossed stags even at this present day. But let me now relate that which happened to myself some little time ago.

I had been out shooting all day, and had quite expended my powder and shot, when I found myself unexpectedly in presence of a stately stag, looking at me as unconcernedly as if he had known of my empty pouches. I charged immediately with powder, and upon it a good handful of cherrystones, for I had sucked the fruit as far as the hurry would permit. Thus I let fly at him, and hit him just on the middle of the forehead, between his antlers; it stunned him— he staggered—yet he made off, and I lost sight of him, to my chagrin.

This happened to me in France. Afterwards I visited Russia, and remained there for about a year.

At length, there being no immediate prospect of war with Turkey, I returned to France on leave for a few months, and was staying in the same chateau as I had been when I had fired off this remarkable charge.

We hunted again in the fine forest I had then traversed, with a gay party of French nobles and sportsmen. I had separated myself somewhat from my companions, when, in the opening of a beautiful glade, I beheld a noble stag, with a fine full-grown cherry-tree above ten feet high between his antlers.

I immediately recollected my former adventure, looked upon him as my property, and brought him to the ground by one shot, which at once gave me the haunch and cherry sauce, for the tree was covered with the richest fruit, the like of which I had never tasted before.