What Is a Hind Animal?

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A hind is a female deer, especially a red deer, over three years old. Her counterpart, the mature male, is called a stag. In other species of deer the hind may be referred to as a doe and the male as a hart or a buck. References to the hind are popular in both literature and science.

Biblical

The Bible mentions deer often, from the practical Deuteronomy of the Old Testament, as one of the "clean" animals that observant Jews may eat, to the poetic Song of Solomon. While most of the references are to the hart, there are three specific references to the hind in Genesis 49:21, Jeremiah 14:5 and Proverbs 5:19.

Classical

The Golden Hind, aside from being Sir Francis Drake's flagship, is one of the labors of Hercules in Greek mythology. She was the golden-horned personal pet of the goddess Artemis (Diana to the Romans), and the hero was tasked with capturing her and bringing her to King Eurystheus. Shakespeare mentions the hind many times. He uses it in "All's Well that Ends Well" (Act I, Scene I, Line 85-7), when Helena states flatly, "The hind that would be mated by the lion must die for love," to explain that some relationships just can't work. It also appears in "Romeo and Juliet" (Act I, Scene 1, Line 62), when Tybalt refers to the brawling servants as "hartless hinds" or females running amok without male guidance.

Mystical

In Celtic and Druidic folklore, the hind was the fairies' milk cow or sometimes a fairy woman who had shape-shifted into an earthly form. To see a hind, or even dream of one, foretold great happiness and life-improving changes. According to The Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, if a hind crosses your path, its purpose may be to remind you to let go of negative emotions and refocus on positives. Native American symbolism sees the deer as a power animal or totem representing kindness, gentleness and unconditional love. Shamans, or medicine men, say that deer teach people to be aware of beauty.

Military

The Russian Mi-24 military gunship and small transport helicopter is identified by NATO as a "Hind," but not because it has any of the qualities of that animal. This designator was chosen from a list of pre-selected words beginning with the letter H so that helicopters of the former Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China can be identified easily and accurately without the need for translation of their original names.

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