Thanks so much, AngelTheDeer and greatbigsealover44 for reviewing! But if the Guest who first asked for this story is reading this…can you please let me know what you think so far? (And in answer to your question, Angel, yes, those were the last spoken words of the Great Prince in the book.)

Chapter Three

Geno, Gurri, and Gobo loved to visit the meadow with their mother, but one day they decided not to go with her. She had been giving them more freedom as they aged, and they weren't sure if they liked it or not. But what they did like was the opportunity to visit with their friends, especially Bambi, Flouncy, Vino, and Luria. They met with all of them by a small stream in the center of the meadow, and they just stood there, chatting and eating blossoms.

And then Flouncy stood on her hind legs and scratched her ears. "I know a secret," she announced pertly.

"It won't be a secret if you tell us," Luria said patronizingly, smiling.

"My father told me it," the hare continued, "and it's about your father," she concluded, looking at the triplets.

"Our father is the Great Prince," Geno said simply. "He shouldn't keep secrets."

"Well, he is," Flouncy insisted. "At least…I think he is."

Gurri narrowed her eyes. "What's that supposed to mean?"

"My father told me that my mother told him that your mother told her that your father said that he's not allowed to visit the place where he was born," Flouncy explained in one breath. Bambi looked confused, but the other deer looked impatient. By some miracle, they had managed to hear every word that the bunny had spoken.

"Where was our father born, oh wise one?" Gobo asked sarcastically.

"I'm not sure," Flouncy admitted. "But I know someone who does know. Let's go see him. I know where he lives." She scampered off, and the fawns followed, with Bambi bringing up the rear.

Flouncy led them down trails that were out in the open. Almost all of the children had walked by them when they were babies learning how to walk. She paused in front of a tall tree, where a sleeping owl rested on one of the branches. She began to pound her foot on the ground, shouting "Wake up, Friend Owl!"

"Oh, what is it now?" The old fellow groaned as he stirred and opened his eyes. He brightened when he saw the triplets. "Why, if it isn't the Young Princes and Princess…this is a pleasant surprise!"

"Friend Owl," Flouncy cried out. "Do you know where the Great Prince was born? We want to go there!"

"Well, I do know, but why are you youngsters so curious about it?"

"The Great Prince doesn't go there anymore, and we want to know why that is," Flouncy insisted.

"Their mother knows that we're going there," Vino lied quickly.

"Why doesn't she take you?" The Owl demanded.

"She's busy," Geno said, and Friend Owl finally gave in, giving them the directions to the old thicket. The children dashed off, but Gurri and Gobo were furious with Vino.

"Why did you lie to him?" Gobo demanded. "Our mother doesn't know about this!"

"What she doesn't know won't hurt her," he explained. "Besides, this is supposed to be a secret, right?" The others agreed, but Gurri decided that they would tell their parents that they had been to the old thicket.

"Father may not go there anymore, but who says that we aren't allowed to?" After some debating, any doubts that the children had about going to their father's place of origin melted away. But Bambi did have one question.

"I thought that everything in the old forest was destroyed in the fire by Man," he said.

"A few places survived," Flouncy explained. "My father says that the thicket was at the edge of the forest, away from the fire. It was mostly untouched."

"Really, is that true?" Bambi asked, his eyes wide.

"Let's go see for ourselves!"

They had wandered around a desolate, bare place for many hours. All of them were hungry, but no grass grew for them to eat. And the air smelled awful. This was the result of Man, and they were extremely afraid as they proceeded into the remains of the past.

"Here we are," Flouncy cried out at last, bouncing over to a small, secluded place. Some tiny flowers grew there, and Bambi and Vino began to feast on it, pausing to offer some to the others. They all had a small share, but the triplets finished early to examine the new place. It was a lot like their glade, only smaller. Only two adult deer could have fit inside. This was where their father learned to walk and talk. The triplets entered, walked around, and found nothing.

"This isn't so bad," Geno said with surprise. "There's nothing the matter here!"

"Aside from the lack of blossoms, you mean," Flouncy added glumly.

"It smells like Man," Luria complained. "I don't think it's safe here."

"Man wouldn't come back after what He did to their home," Vino said sharply, glancing around cautiously in spite of himself.

"So then why would Father not want to come here?" Geno muttered, also giving his surroundings a cautious stare.

"Let's take him here!" Gurri suggested. "Then he'll see that there's nothing wrong."

"Won't he be mad?" Gobo wondered.

"If there's nothing wrong here, then there's nothing wrong with us being here," Geno reasoned, and the others agreed.

"But we should go now," Luria urged. "It's getting dark, and my mother will be worried."

"Mine, too," Vino nodded. He turned to the triplets as they walked away. "Do you want for us to be here when you bring your father to his home?"

Gurri cocked her head to the side thoughtfully. "No, I don't think so," she said at last. "He might be cross if everyone starts coming here."

"And we don't want for you to get in trouble," Gobo added, looking at the other two fawns and the skunk and hare. "Man may not come here anymore, but it still seems dangerous. We should all be careful. Father would be happier if only small groups came here at a time."

"I agree," Luria said softly. "I don't think I should come back here. My mother might be angry if I start disappearing during the day."

"If anyone asks, it's my father's fault," Flouncy giggled.

"But it's also Friend Owl's. We should thank him," Vino chuckled, and the others laughed as they walked home.

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