One of the female reindeer felt something growing inside her. She knew from instinct passed down through thousands of generations of reindeer that she would give birth in the spring when the first wild flowers began to poke through the melting snow, and this made her happy.
The lead reindeer stopped and looked toward the north. An early winter blizzard was brewing, and the skies began to grow dark, and a chill wind blew across him and his herd.
He and his family had been caught in a blizzard such as this in his youth. Many reindeer, including his father, had perished in the storm, and he knew he must encourage his herd to hurry south where they would find safety.
Faster and faster the reindeer ran. The little female breathed harder and harder. She could feel her sides heaving, and then sharp pains shot through her body. She called out to the others to stop, but they did not hear her as she had fallen too far behind the rest of the others to be heard.
She lay down in the snow. The baby was coming. There was no stopping it. First a tiny head appeared; and then, there beside her lay the tiniest reindeer ever. The ordeal of the long trek south, and the ordeal of giving birth had left her almost too tired to move. With her last breaths she licked the tiny reindeer clean, and then lay her head in the snow and died.
The tiny reindeer struggled to get closer to the fading warmth of her dead mother whose body was rapidly becoming as cold as the snow and wind of the far north.
A pack of wolves had been following the reindeer herd in hopes of finding an old reindeer, too weak and tired to continue south, which would serve as much needed food for the pack. Instead, they found Tiny and her dead mother lying in the snow.
Fang, the leader of the pack, held the others back while he crept forward to investigate. First, he approached the dead mother and knew immediately that she was dead and would serve to feed his hungry family. He then put his nose against Tiny and could feel the faint beating of her heart and her little lungs struggling to breathe in the icy air.
Fang did not want the little one to suffer and was about to break her neck with his powerful jaws when his mate of many years, Wildflower, rushed forward and pushed him away from Tiny's fragile body.
Wildflower spoke softly in the language of the wolves. She told Fang and the others to please spare the little one for there would be plenty for the wolves to eat without Tiny. She crouched down and placed her warm body over the tiny reindeer. She could feel the life beneath her and was very careful to position herself so that the weight of her body did not harm the little reindeer.
While the other wolves ate, Wildflower gently curled herself around the baby so that the warm fur of her belly partially covered the infant; then, she caressed Tiny with her long pink tongue.
Wildflower herself had been an orphan; and, even though she had been loved and cared for by her adopted family, there was still an empty feeling each time she thought of her mother. She felt that since Tiny had never known her reindeer mother that perhaps Tiny would think of her, Wildflower, as her natural mother.