Ben was awakened by a gunshot.The sharp noise came through the thick stone walls of the house.It was cold in the bedroom and Ben Newman was shaking as he got out of bed.He put on his eyeglasses and went over to the window.The field was covered with white frost.Nothing moved out there in the deep quiet just before sunrise.Ben looked past the field to the thick woods.Two weeks ago he saw a deer among the trees.He held his breath with excitement;then the deer walked off.Ben wondered where the shot had come from.He thought perhaps he had dreamed he heard a gunshot.He looked out toward the frozen lake.Near the trees he saw a shining piece of metal.When it moved,Ben saw that it was a long gun.A minute later a man came out of the woods.He wore hunting clothes.Suddenly a bird flew upward.The man quickly put the gun to his shoulder and shot.Ben watched the bird,praying it had not been hurt.It flew near the ground and went into some tall grass.Safe,Ben thought.
The hunter did not move for a moment,then he began to follow the bird.Hate for the hunter burned inside of Ben."Hey!"he shouted.His voice cut through the stillness.The hunter stopped,but then continued to follow the bird.Ben shouted again,but this time the hunter did not stop and Ben started to move toward him.But Ben was in his night clothes and he did not go far.Instead he returned to the house.He got a metal shovel and hit the stone sides of the house so that the noise would warn the birds and animals of danger.The hunter looked back at Ben."No hunting!"Ben shouted,"No hunting on my land!"The man called back,"Where can I hunt?""South,"Ben said,"go South,"and pointed behind the man.The hunter started to walk away.Ben had just bought this house in the woods.He wanted to protect everything on his land.He thought that everyone would obey the signs:"No Hunting."Ben had just finished putting on his clothes when he heard another gunshot.This troubled him deeply.How could he stop this hunter?He walked toward the lake.He did not want to fight,but the man must go.He walked quietly.He wanted to surprise the hunter.But then,what would he do?He could not fight the hunter.
Suddenly he heard a bird's wings beating the dry grass.Ben moved quickly toward the sound.He saw a colored head...the head of a beautiful pheasant bird.The bird did not move until Ben came close.Then it tried to fly away,but one wing was broken.Ben lifted the bird and held it close against his body.The bird fought to escape,but soon lay quietly in Ben's arms.Its body was warm and heavy.Ben decided to take the bird home and fix its broken wings so that it could fly again.He was almost through the woods when he heard the hunter behind him."You just find that bird?"the hunter asked."Yes,"Ben answered."It is mine!"Ben was afraid and tried to answer,but his mouth was too dry to speak.But be wet his lips and said"No.""I shot him and I say he is mine!""But he is not dead yet,"Ben answered,"and besides,anything on my land belongs to me."The hunter reached out for the bird."I will have to kill it,"he said."That bird will soon die anyway."Ben got angry."Get out of here!"he said."I told you before and I am telling you again:get off my land!"The hunter looked down at the little man and smiled."Say,who are you?"Ben's voice shook with both fear and anger."I own this land.There are signs everywhere that say,"no hunting.""No need to get angry,mister,"the hunter said."Control yourself."