Our air-conditioned car rolled through the sultry heat as we drove down a cool and tree-lined road running parallel to the beautiful old Delaware and Raritan Canal, just a few miles from Princeton, New Jersey.
We slowed down to witness a remarkable sight: a so-called piebald deer, white with a few brown patches, a condition apparently caused by a recessive gene and found in about one out of every one thousand white-tailed deer!
It walked slowly across the road and into the woods, then stopped and turned around and stared at us. And we stared back at the piebald deer.
I was reminded of James Thurber’s lovely fable “The White Deer,” which includes this comment by the Princess:
“Love me truly, fail me never, woman will I be forever; but if love should fail me thrice, I shall vanish in a trice.”
Was this a princess in disguise? Were these magicial woods? Was she seeking love or fleeing it? Was she fading to white? Or was her color returning?