After leaping over a fence at D.C.'s National Zoo, a small deer evaded capture by two hungry lions, drawing elated cheers and joyous tears from hundreds of onlookers. And then, they read the tale's horrible conclusion in today's Washington Post.

The incident began when the little deer "ran between people" and leaped into the lion pit, then was attacked and toyed with by a pair of bloodthirsty beasts for "as much as 20 minutes." Then, as is depicted in the below video, the little deer broke free! And escaped to the relative safety of a body of water. The crowd shrieked, gasped, cheered, and caught it all on video. When zoo personnel finally broke up the crowd to rescue the nimble survivor, the harrowing tale reached its happy ending...



For there, in The Washington Post's Monday Metro section, was the tale's true, tragic conclusion:

Alerted, zoo personnel sent visitors away and brought the lions indoors. With the enclosure empty, the deer left the moat on its own. It was anesthetized and taken for evaluation by specialists. ...

Baker-Masson said the examination indicated that in addition to head and neck scratches, the deer had a serious wound on its belly. ...

They found it "pretty evident" that the deer "would not survive," and it was euthanized, Baker-Masson said.

And thus concludes the sad story of the Deer That Almost Lived, the saddest viral video ever uploaded to the internet, in retrospect. Even sadder than Bambi's mom and the Lion King's dad, because this one is real, and must have caused at least one 5-year-old to wet his pants out of terror that day at the zoo.