The White Doe (part 1 of 3)

(this story makes up one of the background legends for my WIP set in Mysthaven)

Everyone from North Eastern North Carolina has heard stories about Virginia Dare. The first child born in this country, she is one of the missing members of The Lost Colony. She is a favorite among storytellers and the legends about her fate are many. Ask any old-timer from this area and they will tell you about a white doe who roams the islands of the Outer Banks and the coastal areas of the mainland. It is said this doe is actually the spirit of Virginia Dare. But how did she go from missing baby to white doe? There are many versions of that story, some published and some not. But this is my version. It combines some of my favorite elements from the many different versions I’ve heard over the years with some of my own embellishments throw in for good measure. I hope you enjoy it.

The first colonists landed on Roanoke Island in July of 1587. Shortly after, Eleanor Dare, daughter of Governor John White, gave birth to a daughter. They named her Virginia in honor of Queen Elizabeth. But Virginia’s first months in this world were not peaceful. The Native Americans they shared the island with were not friendly toward the colonists, making hunting difficult. When supplies ran low, Governor White sailed to England for more. The colonists waited for his return as long as they could but the Roanoke tribe was growing more and more hostile. Finally, fearing for their lives, the colonists moved to nearby Hatteras Island to live with the friendly Croatoan tribe. There Virginia grew up to be a beautiful young woman full of kindness and generosity.

Everyone loved her, colonist and tribesman alike. But two loved her in the way a man loves a woman. One of them was the medicine man of the tribe, a dark sorcerer named Chicamacomico or Chica for short. The other was a brave warrior by the name of Okisko.

Both men used what they were best at to try and woo Virginia. Chica used magic to create beautiful sparkling jewels for her while Okisko used his skill with a bow to bring her the softest furs and skins that could be found in all the land. But none of these gifts impressed Virginia very much. Oh, she was thankful for them and always kind to the giver but it was something more than material objects Virginia was interested in.

One day while she was walking in the woods, she saw Okisko in the distance. He was bent over a baby deer whose foot was tangled in one of the many grape vines that grew wild in the area. Virginia watched as he gently untangled the little one and helped it to its feet. But the poor baby was unable to stand on its own and collapsed. Okisko cut a strip from his shirt and gently bound the deer’s leg. As she watched, Virginia’s heart was touched by this side of him she hadn’t seen before. When Okisko bundled the deer in what was left of his shirt and gently picked it up, Virginia hurried to help. Together, they took it back to the village.

For weeks Virginia helped Okisko nurse that baby deer back to health. And with each day they spent together, they fell more in love. Chica watched with anger in his heart. He could see the way Virginia looked at Okisko and knew it would be Okisko she chose as a husband. He swore that if he couldn’t have her, no one would.

In a fit of jealousy, Chica cast a dark spell turning Virginia into the very thing that brought her and Okisko together. A deer! But not just any deer, a snow white doe of majestic beauty.

The tribe begged Chica to reverse the spell on their beloved Virginia but he refused. In anger Manteo, chief of the Croatoan tribe, cast Chica out of the village and sent him to live in a nearby swamp where he couldn’t cause any more trouble. Or so Manteo thought.

But our story is just getting started and there is more ahead for Virginia, Okisko and Chica.

(To be continued)

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