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As the Deer Longs is the pilot story for volume four.

As the Deer Longs
Season 4A, Episode 1 (77).
AstheDeerLongs.png
Air date 9 January 2022
Written by MainLineEngines
Directed by MainLineEngines
Episode guide
Previous
The Christmas Wall
Next
The Waiting

Plot

One warm spring day, Henry was waiting at Vicarstown for his return stopping train. James was also there with a goods train.

"You look cheery, for once," James grinned.

"I'm not as grumpy as you might think," retorted Henry. "Besides, it is a lovely day."

"And very busy now that spring is here," added James.

"Lots of passengers but just as interesting, lots of wildlife activity too," continued Henry.

"I expect you're going to stop by the forest at some point."

"I would love to. In the meantime, get this: yesterday, I was waiting at Kellsthorpe Road when I saw a herd of deer stomping across the line."

"Really?"

"Of course. They were probably trying to find a nearby stream for water."

"Huh, well as long as they don't block my line, the deer can do whatever they want."

"Oh, come on James, it wouldn't be the worst thing if they blocked the line."

"Yes Henry, it is. All that means is that I get delayed."

"Typical of you to just think about yourself."

"Hey! You wouldn't like it if you were delayed."

"I'm not bothered by deer. In fact, the passengers might even enjoy seeing some nature especially now that it's spring, the weather is nice, and even the flowers are blooming."

Then, James's guard blew the whistle and waved the green flag.

"Hmpf! Suit yourself," snorted James, and he steamed away.

James had just left when Paxton rolled in.

"Hullo Henry, what's the matter?" asked Paxton.

"Just another argument with James," explained Henry. "Nothing too big. He just thinks that deer are a nuisance."

"Oh, so you've some the deer too, eh? It was a lovely sight if I do say so myself."

"Of course! I'm glad you understand. Some engines, particularly James, just don't get it. Then again, I shouldn't be surprised."

Paxton murmured in agreement.

Meanwhile, James rumbled across the Viaduct.

"Silly Henry, all fussed up about deer when there's work to be done," he grumbled to himself.

Presently, he stopped at the Junction and met Toby.

"Hullo James, splendid day isn't it?"

"Hullo Toby. It's a fine day, and the type of day where you just have to focus on your work."

"All right. Clearly something is going on," chuckled Toby. "Now tell me."

"Henry is all excited about spring and the wildlife. Apparently, there's deer near Kellsthorpe Road, and he's all worried about the deer straying onto the line."

"And you're definitely not worried because you'd know what to do if there were deer on the line," laughed Toby.

"You only know about farm animals," retorted James.

"He knows far more than that," called Henrietta.

"She's right, you know," agreed Victoria.

"Whatever," scoffed James. "I'm sure I'd know what to do if there were deer on the line."

"Sez you," replied Toby, and before James could answer, the signal turned green and the big red engine huffed away.

Over the next few days, James remained confident that he could handle any animal on the line even though the other engines warned him to be careful.

"Lots of animals are coming out now that it's warmer," said Henry.

"You worry too much Henry," said James, and he puffed away.

"He acts like he knows everything," grumbled Henry.

"Well, he doesn't, and it's really only a matter of time before he gets into trouble," said Gordon.

One day, James was waiting at Kellsthorpe Road with a stopping train, and just beyond the station was a bridge. He and his driver could see something on the bridge.

"I'll clear the blockage in no time," boasted James.

"If you say so," murmured his driver.

James remained confident however as he left the station. As James got closer, they could all see what was on the line.

"Look at that!" exclaimed James's fireman.

"Well I never, it's a deer," chuckled the driver.

"Huh, well it better get out of my way," grumbled James, and he blew his whistle loudly.

This frightened the deer. It jumped and ran directly towards James.

"Stop!" cried James.

His driver applied the brakes but the deer hit James's smokebox and then disappeared. The whole train came to a stop with a sudden jolt.

James was relieved. So were his driver and fireman.

"We better make sure everyone is all right," said the driver. "Go back to the station and tell them we've stopped," he told the fireman.

The fireman did so whilst driver and guard went along the train, making sure everyone was okay. The driver also inspected James's smokebox and brakes.

"I think the deer got the best of you," he chuckled.

"What do you mean?" asked James.

"Well, your smokebox is bent for one, and your brakes are damaged too. We can't go any further by ourselves," explained the driver.

"That deer caused all that?"

"Shocking, isn't it."

James said nothing more as his fire was put out. James was still mourning when the Works Diesel arrived. He helped James to the end of the line but even he couldn't cheer James up.

"You'll be fixed in no time," he assured.

"I just can't believe the deer caused all that trouble."

"The other engines did warn you."

"I know, I know."

James's story soon spread across Sodor.

Gordon and Henry were at Edward's station when they heard the news.

"Fancy James allowing a deer to get the best of him," chuckled Gordon.

"I won't lie, it feels good to be on this side," agreed Henry.

"Both of you have certainly learned a lot from your cow escapade," grinned Edward.

"Of course we have," replied Gordon and Henry.

"From what I heard, James's smokebox got dent and his brakes got damaged too," said BoCo.

"All that because of a deer?" asked Jenna.

"It seems so," replied BoCo.

"If only someone would have warned him," she chuckled.

"Yeah, if only someone would have," said Henry. "I guess it was only a matter of time before something happened."

When James returned from the Works, he found his story was there before him. As a result of his incident with the deer, he has vowed to take better care around animals in future.

Characters

Locations

Trivia

  • The title for this story is directly based off of Psalm 42.
  • The other source of inspiration for this story is the fact that deer often roamed around the Writer's high school since it located by a canyon, and it was not uncommon to see all sorts of wildlife.
  • This story marks the first speaking role of the Works Diesel.
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